How Effective Government Websites are Built
A municipal website should be well designed, easy to use, and full of relevant information. Unfortunately, many published municipal websites have designs that are not user-friendly, lack security, and are not frequently updated. The good news is there is a straightforward and cost-effective way to transition to a new website that showcases your town or municipalities best assets and valuable services. The following is an overview of the web development process we follow at BCS Management. We have also highlighted some “key elements” of municipal websites in 2021.
Our website development and maintenance programs are managed as two chronological phases. We work with our clients throughout each to ensure each website is what is wanted and needed.
Phase 1: Web Design and Development
Work Requirements Development
Clients are involved in the planning process, starting with the development of content architecture (the what goes where). This is done through one or multiple meetings with the client board and/or staff to understand what is important to each department or function. This is when we begin writing new and reviewing existing written content for the website. The written content is often the most overlooked and time consuming.
We then organize that information and present page layout options for the client to choose from. This can, and often does, include custom photography and logos if desired.
Now that all the “hard work” is done, our development team builds the selected design into a website. Both the front end (what you see) and the back end (the behind the curtain functionality) are meticulously adjusted and tested in a “dev” site which is not public during development.
Once the website is developed, a link to a non-public site is sent to the client for review and comment. This is where we can make any last minute changes before launching the new site. Once the site is ready to go, our technical team moves the site to your new or replaces your existing site at your web address. Then voila! A lovely new site!
- Easy Navigation
- “Findability” on search engines through optimization
- Professional Photography
- Custom Copywriting
- Integrated Virtual Meeting Tools
- Community Calendars
- Integrated Bill Pay applications
- Forms, Ordinances, Agendas, Minutes, etc.
Phase 2: Web Maintenance
A website is not a “set-it and forget it” endeavor. Websites require continual content creation and changes as well as functionality updates over time. Each month we perform routine maintenance and updates to keep your website running smoothly. We can also partially or entirely manage the posting of community news, events, agendas, minutes and other information that should be on the website.
- Open Door Law Compliance
- Public Transparency
- Reliable Website Security and Hosting
- Search Engine Optimization
- Agendas, Meeting Minutes and Announcements
- Content Support – Ensuring Information is Always Up to Date
We understand that municipalities are extremely budget conscious, and often want to build and manage their website “in-house”. The truth is that extremely low-cost and self-designed websites usually lack features that are crucial to the visibility and security of a website. Most municipal websites that we see are also chronically behind in posting of current information.
A good website can actually save municipalities on administrative costs in the time spent with in-person conversations and phone calls for frequently asked questions and access to forms.
BCS Management’s GovWeb department creates websites almost exclusively for municipalities and governmental agencies. If you want to learn more about this, you can request a website quote or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a website evaluation and consultation. We would love to hear from you!