The great thing about developing a municipal or town website is the fact that it isn’t just a one-time stop for browsers. Vibrant, relevant websites have the ability to always pull their readers back for another look, another update.
The great thing about developing a municipal or town website is the fact that it isn’t just a one-time stop for browsers. Vibrant, relevant websites have the ability to always pull their readers back for another look, another update. This is good for your town office because it means that residents are finding the information they need from the site, and feeling the need to call in or visit much less frequently. Of course, to keep people coming back takes planning and regularity in terms of posts, updates and general maintenance. Here are 6 easy ways to keep people coming back:
The main purpose of a town website is to keep residents well-informed about what is going on around them. To this end, it is important to post meeting minutes and any official agenda changes or additions to the website as soon as possible. Residents that want to know details about meetings or resolutions can simply check the site, and they are likely to do so every time a meeting has been held.
Many people that visit the website do so to find contact information for certain staff members or utility representatives. If the information you provide isn’t correct, that person is probably not going to visit the website again. On the other hand, the more trustworthy the posts and contact details are on the site, the more people will rely on it as a one-stop shop for local information.
It is a good idea to post notices for elections, emergency meetings and other topics directly on the homepage of your town site. Placing these notices as small blurbs on the homepage ensures greater visibility. Just remember to keep these current - don't have last year's notice of elections still posted when it's already passed. A dynamic landing page for your town website is more appealing to browsers, especially those who just want to pop in for a quick update.
The calendar is an integral piece of any town or municipal website, so it is an important element to keep updated. Not only is the calendar a way for residents to find out when meetings or elections are being held, it is a way for you to support diverse community events and get more people involved. Never allow a blank week! Post all relevant events, from Farmers’ Market hours to community theatre listings.
Wherever you decide to post event information, it needs to be available ahead of time. There’s no sense in sharing details about community events a day before they happen, right? Try to give each event a week or so of exposure on the website so that more people will see it and be able to plan accordingly. Big events, like elections, should be posted as soon as the date has been set.
If there is something controversial going on in the community, you can bet that residents want to know as much as they can about it. Anything from proposed wind farms to local fracking be divisive for residents and business owners, and it’s best to acknowledge as much on the website. Deal with each issue by posting a blurb on the homepage, and then linking that to a full, dedicated page elsewhere on the site.A well-maintained, up-to-date town website will not only attract browsers, but it will keep them coming back for more. Be sure to keep a close eye on your pages!Photo Courtesy of JeongGuHyioe