Evaluating the Effectiveness of Municipal Websites
A municipal website is an investment. A well-designed website shows your residents that you are willing to put time and money into maintaining the best possible communication with them. Not only that, but a good municipal sites can also help drive economic development in your community.
These sites are often the first thing to appear in a search engine when the name of the town is searched. A well-organized and informative site can help showcase your community in a way that makes people want to come visit. So how do you evaluate if yours sites design is doing this, or if you need a redesign?
Indicators That It’s Time for a New Website Design:
The best way to evaluate your website is to spend time looking at what it has and then asking yourself what it needs. Below is a list of several things to consider when deciding whether or not it’s time to invest in a new design for your municipal site.
User Experience (UX):
Does your site offer a good user experience? Think of the goal of your website and the actions that you want to encourage. Then, spend some time navigating your site. Is it hard to navigate? Does it have a slow load time? Does it have clear calls-to-action?
Also check to make sure your site is working properly. Are there any broken links on your site, or pages that don’t load properly? An experienced web designer can help you fix all of those issues.
Perhaps it’s been a few years since you’ve updated your site and you realize it has not been optimized for use on mobile devices. If this is the case talk to a web designer about the best CMS to use for building a responsive site. GovUnity uses WordPress, which has a lot of great options for creating mobile-friendly sites.
There are many different ways that information can be presented on municipal sites. Evaluate what information you want on your site. How difficult is it for you to upload that information? Then once its uploaded is it easy for visitors to find?
For example, having a place or people to access meeting minutes and agendas help staff and residents stay informed. Or having a spot on the site for news and notices is helpful for announcing changes in policy to longtime residents. It is also a good way to help new residents get educated about the community.
Allowing residents to fill out forms and complete other tasks online, rather than having to go in person, is a must for municipal websites. The ability to complete task online is a huge benefit to both staff and residents. It allows residents to feel like they are receiving 24/7 service, without municipal staff having to be available 24/7. Many GovUnity sites include a “Resident Resources” tab that allows residents easy access to permits and other online forms.
One of the last, but most important things to evaluate about your website is how difficult it is to update. Staff should be able to update some of the basic content on websites that live on a user friendly CMS. Unfortunately, this can be a challenge if the website is poorly designed, or if staff have not been trained to maintain the website. That is why GovUnity offers personalized training with the web designer that worked on your site.
Are you looking to create a new website for your organization? Or update and existing site? GovUnity focuses on working with clients to create accessible and easy to navigate government sites, so you can connect with your residents. Contact GovUnity to learn more.