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Archive for November, 2009

The Importance of City Website Design for Economic Development

Written by
Rickey Hayes (Retail Attractions, LLC) and
Rob Nichols (Torxweb Design, LLC)

If you’re reading this, chances are your city is looking to grow by increasing sales tax revenue through economic development. One way to grow your tax base is by recruiting retail development. One of the key components of successful recruitment is your city’s website. Most companies will start their retail site selection research on the internet, and each project will have its own set of unique parameters. It is not enough that your city meets these requirements. For your city to be selected as a possible location, you have to sell your city. Get the information out there and let the potential investors know what you have to offer. Your city’s website will more than likely be your first chance to make a good impression on the potential developer or investor. If your website is out of date or lacking in information critical to investors, your website presents an unorganized city that is not prepared to support growth. Progressive cities are recognizing the need to aggressively market themselves and create economic greenhouses in preparation for growth.

One of the most critical pieces of information for a city’s website is current demographics for your city and trade area. If your city has a unique trade area or unique demographics, site selectors need to be made aware of this information. Take this opportunity to showcase what your city has to offer. If incentives are available to potential developers, your website should provide information on these incentives especially if they are unique to your community. With so many cities competing for the same development projects, your city has to be aggressive in marketing its potential.

The organization and presentation of your city’s information is another key element in making your city attractive to potential developers. Information should be easy to find, up-to-date and thorough. Your website should convey that your city is ready and willing to work with developers on any issue that may arise. Each department should have their own page with direct contact information, and pertinent documents such as permits and standards should be clearly posted. This is your chance to show potential investors that your city is organized and ready to help make their development project a success.

Lastly, let’s discuss the most commonly overlooked element in municipal web design, search engine optimization (SEO). A website that has been optimized for search engine accessibility has content that is highly searchable and easily indexed. Having an optimized website is important when an investor is searching for information on potential sites. Optimizing your cities website will ensure investors find your official city website and the most relevant information when searching for details about your city.

Retail Attractions has teamed up with Torxweb Design (www.torxweb.com) to create a content management website solution with municipalities in mind. The CMS provides the tools a city needs to maintain an active, up-to-date website and also provides search engine optimization as one of the top priorities. When a potential developer searches for information about your city, it is critical that your city’s website dominates the search engine results for these types of queries and clearly presents key information about your city. To find out more about having a website designed for your city, contact Retail Attractions or Torxweb Design.

To find out more about having a website designed for your city, contact Retail Attractions or Torxweb Design.

Rickey Hayes is the principal of Retail Attractions, LLC, a firm dedicated to helping cities and developers successfully find retail sites, close deals and improve the quality of life for our client cities.
Rob Nichols is the principal of Torxweb Design, LLC, a web site design firm specializing in content management based website design and development.