Local Government Web Sites – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Part 1
In my business I use Web sites of city governments, chambers of commerce and economic development agencies on a daily basis. It seems that city government Web sites in particular are going through a phase right now. They are becoming either really good or really poor. Put another way, it seems that cities have either made the commitment to get on the Web in a professional way, or they have abandoned their sites. In this post, I’ll discuss what I notice in well-done city Web sites. Here’s my list of major annoyances with poor city Web sites:
1. Out of date – I look on the calendar of events and see old information. Some cities try to get around maintaining up-to-date Web sites by just putting annual recurring events on the site. Nice try.
2. No contact information – Most of my visits to a city Web site involve attempting to find contact information. I’m looking for a phone number or an up-to-date (see # 1) e-mail address. I despise clicking on a CONTACT US link only to be rewarded with a form box to fill in, followed by a message that my issue will be investigated and someone will get back in touch with me.
3. Poor design – Some Web sites just look like they were constructed 10 years ago and just left to sit on the Web.
4. More poor design – City Web sites should have an overall theme and a template. When each department’s Web page looks nothing like the portal page it is a sign to me that the city does not coordinate its departments and activities.
Oh, if you would like to tell me about your favorite city Web site, I’d love to post it.