The first word that comes to mind surelock about what I see is ‘stark’. I might be missing something but the images, header one especially, appear very dreary, cold and uninviting. There’s little that draws me in. I know you tried for less is more. I might try using a few more design elements here and try and brighten things up. Try using imagery that communicates that this city/town/area is one that has much to offer to potential visitors. I would shoot for brightening things up a little. Check out other Chamber of Commerce sites to get a feel for what they are doing and what’s being communicated on their sites.
I think if you want to keep it subtle you need to find some better colours for that menu – they are very in your face as to say.
Have a look around here – it might give you some ideas!
Also the banner image in the centre kinda cuts your eye a little, is there anyway you could blend them together in photoshop or maybe try a different approach?
All right, when I said less is more I did not mean that I did not want to use interesting colors and provacative imagery, what I meant was keep it simple and use white-space effectively. I have viewed 20 or so chamber sites from various cities and a clean simple look is what seemed prevalent to me. I did some touch-up on the main banner image (I am still not overly pleased with it but it is filler until I get some actual pictures from the chamber to use), they also seem keen on the idea of a seasonal motif for each season, hence the blues and grays for winter time.
All right, having followed all advice I deemed worthy (everything really) I now present The all new and improved Summersville, Missouri Chamber of Commerce site.
Personally if you are going to have that much content (text), I always increase the line height a little to make the text easier to read. Also, try making your sidebar the darker color, that will make the main content pop more and be easier to read. Right now my eye is drawn to the left sidebar. Give the Headlines or Titles a little color.
I agree that the site has a cold feel to it, and it may be appropriate for a business type site like this. However I took a quick run through of your CSS and I saw that you used black and white for some of your elements. Try not to use the extremes, try #fdfdfd for white or #3a3a3a for the dark. You don’t have to use those exact values, and even though they might be small changes, the subtle ones are what separate the good sites form the run of the mill ones.
Try to broaden / lighten the color pallete a little. Try this to get some ideas – http://www.colorsontheweb.com/colorwizard.asp
Good luck -
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