August, 2006
Feature
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors



A Free Web Site, or How I Built a Web Site Without Breaking the Bank

GLENN C. WELCH, P.E.

So, you are starting a new business and the start-up costs are eating up your budget. Vehicle, insurance, tools, computer, software, cell phone, DSL, code books, licenses, membership dues and the list goes on and on.

And don’t forget, every business needs a presence on the World Wide Web. Just one more thing to cloud your brain and take your focus away from getting the new business out of the “starting gate.”  

This was the situation Welch Engineering, LLC was in several years ago. Here is one of those win-win situations that solved the World Wide Web problem and let the inspector focus on the day-to-day operations of the business.

After brainstorming the different ways to create a first-class Web site for free, we decided to contact the local high school computer department and ask if the Web Design class would like to take on a class project. It took several phone calls to Cherokee High School in Canton, Georgia, to arrange a meeting with the Web class instructor. At the meeting, we presented our proposal for a class project Web site, and it was accepted. The instructor had provided previous classes with information about a fictional company. The 30 or so students had used the information to build individual Web sites, which they were graded on at the end of the semester.

This time, the students would have a real company with real facts to build into their Web sites. A class period was set aside to present Welch Engineering, LLC to the class, along with a “wish list” for the proposed site. The students were given the company logo, colors, purpose, general information, experience, licenses, etc. They also were given my phone number and e-mail address so they could contact me if they had questions along the way.

The scope of the class project was for the students to learn how to actually build a Web site; then to apply their new site-building skills to Welch Engineering. Once the students had completed their Web sites, I would get to review them and pick the one that would best represent Welch Engineering, LLC on the World Wide Web.

Several progress meetings with the class were held during the semester, and the project quickly came together. The students were excited about being able to put their skills and imagination to work. Before the project, most of them had not heard of a home inspector or the American Society of Home Inspectors.   
I was amazed at how talented and professional some of the students were. In the end, there were at least four outstanding Web sites to pick from and only a few that didn’t fit the bill. To show my appreciation, I sponsored a pizza party for the entire class, and I wrote a letter to the school principal expressing my appreciation for the Web site class instructor.  

The direct benefits of the project were the students got to work on a real company’s Web site and Welch Engineering got a great site on the World Wide Web. See www.WelchEngineering.com.

It appears there were indirect benefits as well. Many of the students, teachers and parents now know the importance of inspecting a home before purchase, that ASHI is the largest and most recognized home inspection organization in the country, and they now know an ASHI inspector to
recommend.