With all of the changes within the Washington Apple Commission over the last four years, one of your primary electronic media, www.bestapples.com, was taken down, revised, cut, revamped, left for dead, and put back in pieces! Over the course of the last five months, staff at the Washington Apple Commission have been working hard to re-invent your Web site with a new look and updated materials.
When the decision was made to improve the Web site, target audience, content, look, and accessibility were the primary concerns. Because Washington growers are so well known around the world for producing the highest-quality apples, our goal was to provide a Web site that exceeded the expectations of the site visitor.
With the commission's primary focus on international marketing and promotion, it's encouraging that 81 percent of our Web site hits come from the U.S. marketplace. Teachers looking for classroom educational materials, food editors using our apple recipes, consumers confirming the health and nutritional benefits of apples, and students doing research for school are the primary users. The typical international Web surfer goes to the Apple Info page in search of information relating to availability, varieties, industry contacts, and to have a better understanding of how our industry operates. Bestapples.com has received visits from over 180 traceable countries!
Even with the recent complete reworking of the Web site, we have two areas that will continue to evolve in the months ahead. The commission was awarded a grant from the Washington State Department of Agriculture to improve the Just for Kids section of our Web site. Over the next 18 months, we'll be changing our content to provide children a fun and interactive experience with emphasis on apple health and nutrition. Supportive materials for educators will also play a big part in teaching our youth about the healthy aspects of Washington State apples.
Another improvement will come in the form of Visit An Orchard under the Apple Info tab. Within our site is the story of a Washington apple grower and his or her commitment to providing "The Best Apples on Earth." Each crop year we would like to include a new grower story on our Web site. Look for your chance to be our featured grower at the Washington State Horticultural Association's annual meeting in Wenatchee, December 3-5.
Please visit the Washington Apple Commission Web site at www.bestapples.com.