City Websites Getting Hip

Want to Friend Your Municipality?

Over the past few weeks, we have had the opportunity to meet with several municipalities regarding new websites or improvements to their current site.   Do you think of your municipality as living a pretty boring online existence?  Do you think the city really wants increased traffic counts and conversion?  If you are one of the many citizens in your community yet to check out the old local.gov site, you might be surprised.  City sites are getting hip!   

In our meetings with the teams dedicated to redesigning a municipality website, we have taken the usual approach of creating a list of goals and online features that are the core of the project. Can you guess at the top features on the request list? Sure you would expect safety and evacuation information.  School information, check.  How about online traffic ticket payments, building codes, elected official bios, park and recreation hours, trash pick-up schedules and RFP bid management? Sure, those are all the basics.  What’s surprising is that the list grows from there to include some pretty hip social marketing features.  Here are the top 2.0 requests.

  • FaceBook link and supportive muni site on FB
  • Twitter setup and link from home page
  • Streaming video for online broadcast of meetings and city events
  • YouTube and Flickr setup for community sharing
  • Online photo galleries showing recent events 
  • Emailed newsletters
  • Ability for citizens to request alerts when new information comes online
  • Online news center and press release archive
  • Online activity calendar for city events
  • Polls and survey tools

In addition to the desire to stay in touch with citizens using 2.0, there is an awareness that the .gov site needs to be maintained and freshened on a consistent basis.  Our myimpactCMS system is great for enabling that kind of easy online content development and updating by non-IT staff members.  The city sees the need to be current and up-to-date online in a way that benefits the visitors. 

So, the next time you see your city mayor at the local festival, look carefully.  He or she may be tweating about the pie eating contest going on in tent three and you could be missing out!

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