Getting a New Municipal Website is Not as Difficult as You Think!
Municipal clerks usually know how important a website is for their Town, but they are reluctant to start the website design process. If only they knew how much time they could save by putting all their municipality’s information in one easily accessible place. From meeting agendas to permits and online forms, a municipal website provides outstanding value to residents and reduces the number of phone calls and paperwork that clerks face every day.
How TownWeb Makes the Design Process Easy?
Many municipalities have old websites that look outdated and unprofessional. However, upgrading or creating a new website is not the tedious experience clerks imagine. Despite assumptions to the contrary, even technophobes can participate in the creation of a new municipal website with TownWeb to walk them through it.
We’ve outlined our design process below to demystify it. Even the most reluctant municipalities are relieved when they finally get their clean, functional and attractive new site, and soon begin to reap the rewards. Here’s how we do it:
1. Initial Discussion and Domain Verification
First, we discuss needs with potential clients and make sure they know the price and process.
Our quote is fixed price and has no limit to the amount of content and pictures that can be included. When our client decides they’re ready to go ahead, we need to verify their preferred domain. Maybe they already have an existing site or a pre-purchased domain. We help customers figure out if they need a new domain.
There are 2 types of websites:
- Switch website designed by a different company. We need to make sure that it’s updated (old domain, but maybe be changed).
- Brand new website – Starting from scratch is the most challenging (it implies a new domain name). Content can be bad quality, so the significant role of the client is in the delivery of the high-quality content.
2. Visuals and Content Delivery
Next, we send clients a Design Brief and they put a checkmark by the features they require, e.g., a calendar, election page, forms and permits page, etc. This is just the skeleton of the website and clients can make additional requests. Clients should communicate their needs as early as possible, so we can picture what they want to happen. We like to launch the site within 60 days, but it can take longer.
Visually appealing photos for the banner are required. Our dedicated graphic designer can help customers to optimize their images and choose the best color scheme for their website. We usually request a minimum of five pictures (no maximum) because it’s better to have a decent selection for the sake of variety and quality control and some can be assigned to the slideshow.
Next, we request content. Our web designers begin working on your content according to the preferences you outlined earlier. Customers send us their files and, in some cases, we gather them in ZIP format via remote access. Finally, we add the collated content, data and images to the website.
The homepage is our initial priority. Getting the homepage right is vital if you want to stand out from other municipal sites. This is your opportunity to present your town in the best possible light and encourage visitors return to your website. We depend on our clients to send the best possible images, content and links to create a great slideshow and eye-catching banner.
3. The Staging Website
Now back to our process: This is where the customer becomes involved again! Once the website is 80% ready (staging website), we send it to our municipal contact for an initial viewing. This is to catch any bugs, problems or inconsistencies early on.
We execute a punch list where we urge our clients to give honest feedback in bullet points. We make any necessary amendments and send the website back for a second – hopefully final – review.
The client has responsibility for the time frame, but we would ideally like to launch the website within 60 days. Things can get in the way of a timely website launch such as board meetings and other projects, so we leave the approval time in the hands of our clients. The onus is on the municipality to approve the website since we are ready to launch the website four weeks after the client sends their approval in writing.
4. Launching the Site
After the client has approved the website, we schedule training on how to manage and update the website. We show the client how to make edits on their own, whenever they want. At the same time, we continue to work on the site to give the client the most comprehensive service and a guarantee of security. We do this by:
- Creating a backup every 24 hours
- Installing Google Analytics
- Making any necessary technical changes
- Communicating to let them know the website has been launched.
By this point, the website has been launched. The client has been informed and supplied with contact information. Although the invoice for web design is paid upfront, hosting doesn’t begin until the moment the website goes live. This is extremely ethical and transparent since no hosting is paid for unnecessarily, unlike many of our competitors. We set up an invoice for the following year’s hosting, which is to be paid 12 months later (no sooner).
5. Ongoing Support
Our training and support are free, ongoing and unlimited. The client can contact us via phone or email, or even through the admin section of their website.
That’s it! The client now has a brand new, mobile-friendly website and the ticket to an easier work day. Here’s a flowchart diagram of the process.
Summary of the Process:
Let’s breakdown the design process into easy-to-follow steps.
- Verify the domain
- Client Delivers photos
- Deliver content
- Build the website
- Schedule initial viewing
- Execute the punchlist
- Schedule training
- Secure permission to launch the website
- Install backup and Google Analytics
- Launch website and inform client
- Provide ongoing FREE support 24/7/365
We also have a ‘13 Design Tips’ document that we’ll send you so you can find the best ways to utilize your new website.
If you have any questions about the design process or our web hosting services, please contact us.