April Newsletter – Websites and Social Media

Economic development, government transparency, efficient delivery of services, and excellent customer service are key objectives for many governments. Websites and social media play an important role in achieving those objectives. While many small cities, townships, and villages have a web presence, many of their websites are not visually appealing and are not kept up-to-date.  Photographs, illustrations, full-color maps, and clear and connected formatting make websites attractive and user-friendly. Effective use of websites and social media presents information in a way that is understood by residents, business owners, officials, and the development community. According to the Pew Research Center’s study of “Internet User Demographics,”  as of January 2014, 87% of American adults use the internet.  The US Census confirms that in 2014, not only are most adults on the internet, but also an estimated 78.1% of people in U.S. households had a high-speed Internet connection.  Additional research by the Pew Research Center finds that overall, internet users believe that both the average American and the average student today are better informed thanks to the internet (December 2014). Their findings include: 76% of online adults say access to the internet has made both average Americans and students better informed, while just 8% saying it has made them less well-informed. But our internet usage goes beyond the pc and laptop computer. More and more people are using smartphones to access information  on the internet. A new study released April 1, 2015 from the Pew Research Center finds that 64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in the spring of 2011. The study notes that smartphone ownership is...

Google is Penalizing Websites That Are Not Mobile Friendly

Google recently announced that it will prioritize results from Google searches in order of those that are “mobile friendly.”  Why is this important?  Many citizens and business owners “Google” their local government’s website rather than memorize the website address (URL). What can local governments do to respond?  Check your site using Google’s free tool. If your site is not mobile friendly, contact your current webmaster to determine what is necessary to improve the site to resolve these issues. Alternatively, consider a new, more user-friendly website that works just a well on a desktop as a mobile device. Clearzoning, Inc. is now providing website design and development services. We have taken concepts we developed with our Clearzoning product and applied them to website design to assist local governments with offering a user-friendly and informative website experience.  Please visit www.NewGovernmentWebsite.com for more information on website design services.  Additionally, our April 2015 newsletter explores website and social media issues that are important to local governments, including townships, cities, and villages.  ...

Website Design Services

Clearzoning, Inc. is now offering affordable website development services for local governments. For years, Clearzoning, Inc. has been creating new websites and web pages for planning projects. During this time, our staff has observed that many small cities, townships, and villages may have a web presence, but many of their websites are not visually appealing and are not kept up-to-date. Clearzoning now uses its expertise in design and information services to take local government websites to a new level at an affordable price. The following describes our basic website development service: Develop main sub-headings for website menu bar in consultation with client (For example: Home, Boards & Commissions, Community Profile, Departments, News, & Maps | Data)  Provide draft to municipality for review. Make one set of revisions, if necessary Upload and launch new website. Municipality to provide domain information and password or a new domain will be created Train municipal staff on how to update website and keep calendar current  Submit website to major search engines Provide free emails for municipal officials and staff using the username@domain convention. In addition to the above, CZ will maintain the website on a hosting site and provide phone assistance to local officials regarding keeping the site up to date. Additionally, our monthly maintenance agreement can include a monthly blog post for the News tab written by CZ staff.  Our staff will interview the one or two local officials or staff by phone once per month to determine latest news and then write a short news update (approximately 400 words) so the website is always is current with the latest information. This can...