Websites are ones first impression, we share five ways that local municipalities can market their municipal website to residents to further community engagement.
If you own a smartphone, chances are you have visited at least one website, opened an email, taken a glimpse at this post (likely), before you finished your morning coffee. Maybe you were reading the latest news? Took part in a survey for a free giveaway? It has become part of our everyday life and when it comes to businesses or services being represented, it is more important than ever.
Nowadays, a website is considered a necessity, rather than a convenience. It is the doorway between your services and your visitors as your users. A website can be a great opportunity for a first impression. Meaning, it needs to represent the business or service in the best possible light. When it comes to municipal websites, there are several things to have in mind if you wish your website to stand out, be inviting and be easily navigated.
Municipal websites are usually the first point of contact when a resident needs information. Making sure that this information is presented in a clear, concise way and is easy to scan through will ensure that whoever stops by your website, finds what they need quickly.
When a website has some level of interactivity, it can prompt visitors to try out new things. This comes in handy when you have a new feature you would like to promote, such as the Hey311 widget or the Town Web Communications platform.
Whether it is the latest agenda and minutes, the notices from your most recent Town Hall meeting or adding a new online option to your website - being transparent and sharing info as soon as you can will create a sense of transparency amongst your residents. When one visitor can gather correct, timely and clear data, it builds trust between the municipality (the government) and its residents.
However, having a clear, functional website, but little to no traffic?
This can be due to a number of factors, yet the most important one is visibility (or the lack of, for that matter). If this happened to you, we’ve got you! Below you can find our advice on how to better promote your municipal website and get your residents to notice you.
Not only will this create a more professional look, it will make your documents stand out. Having a header that contains general information such as an address, a phone number and a website address adds value to your documents and can function as a great advertising spot for your website. Agendas, minutes, notices - these are all publicly accessed documents, so why not use them to direct readers to your website as well?
This can be a good way to promote the website to the residents who opted for a phone call. When you’re not able to take a call, it is a great idea to direct your callers to your website. This way, you might actually help them find the information they were initially calling about.
Although business cards are rarely considered an official document and are regarded more as a contact reminder, that doesn’t mean you can’t take full advantage of them. Adding the municipal website to your business cards can significantly enhance the number of visits you get.
Including a flier with the website address in the same envelope as the utility bills that are sent out, is an easy way to put the website address in front of everyone.
Put together a poster with the municipal contact details and include the website on it and stick it in the window. Many municipalities have walk-ins and receive cash for payments daily, all those that walk past the window will see it. And, it’s another avenue that the municipality make contact details easily available.
The final takeaway for you as a municipality is, your website is the door to your virtual offices. And, as you would wish to keep an office clean and accessible, your website should follow the same approach.
It is also of great importance to use every opportunity to promote and advertise your website. Whether that’s through something quite simple, such as adding it to the header of official documents, or you would decide on something more demanding, such as printing out new business cards with new website information, these steps can make significant changes to the views and visitors you get. And, as for the result - trusting, well-informed residents and a reliable digital future ahead of your municipality.
Town Web has a reputation of providing cost-effective, beautiful customized websites specifically tailored to local government.
If you’d like to have yourself one of those, click here for an obligation free quote.
By Elena Špoljarić