Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I am often asked by economic developers why a dedicated economic development site is so much better than a few pages on a municipal website. Here are 6 good reasons:
- Get found! It is much easier to find your community and site selection information on a dedicated ED website than on sub-pages of a municipal website. Consider:
- A URL that says "InvestInMyTown.ca" or "MyCityForBusiness.ca" versus "MyTown/business/planninganddevelopment/index.php?page=152?.
- Search engines are better able to deep index all pages of a dedicated ED website with appropriate page URLs, page titles, page descriptions and meta-information. This means that individual pages of your dedicated ED website will show up in search results where the query is related to page content rather than general economic development. So if a potential investor searches "YourTown available properties", the available properties page of a dedicated ED site will appear at the top of the search results. Pages of local residential real estate brokers are usually the top search results for queries on economic development pages within a municipal website.
- Over 90% of site searches begin on the web. Site selectors may tap into a content rich website 7-9 times as they move through the search and due diligence phases of locating a project.
- Messaging: Your investment is important to us. A dedicated website says that economic development is important to your community. What message is sent if economic development is buried three levels down in a municipal website, compared to your competitor's dedicated ED website?
- Ease of navigation, content organization. In today's world of site selection, it is really an exercise in site elimination, which can occur in seconds by the way! Top site selector frustrations include poorly organized content, and navigation that is not simple, quick and intuitive. These objectives are extremely difficult to achieve when ED content is part of a much larger website, over which you have little control.
- Flexibility and control of content, branding, and updates. When a clerk can't access the local network, and you want to provide an important property availability update on your portion of the municipal website, who will get the priority from the always over-worked IT staff? A dedicated ED website gives you control over content, when and how often it gets updated, and the branding to complement your marketing plan. A dedicated ED website encourages you to prepare appropriate content that is properly organized, more than a simple municipal economic development web page does.
- Integration of social media. Social media, an integral part of your marketing strategy, should be driving people to your ED website, and not be hampered by the corporate IT rules and regulations.