Your development website may be so well established that you have little need for an upgrade. That’s not always the case, though. Upgrading and maintaining a site of this scale requires diligence on the part of its developers. There are several things that need to be considered when it comes to making this big investment.
The development of new interactive maps is a relatively new feature for many economic development websites. This interactive mapping capability allows site visitors to get information about all of the buildings in the immediate area. It makes it much easier for them to find a specific business or historical landmark, or to locate a recreation area or other feature. A well-designed site will also provide links to city and regional resources that site visitors can use to find out about all of the amenities that the area has to offer.
Your website design should incorporate a visual sitemap. A sitemap is basically a graphical image map that shows the location of every page on your website. You might think that your economic development website has all the basics but just take a closer look at how the pages are laid out. Site visitors appreciate a site that lays out the details in a logical fashion. Visual sitemaps help site visitors navigate quickly and easily through a website. Look for a site that offers both a custom graphical sitemap as well as easy-to-navigate text links within the sitemap.
Another key element in effective economic development websites is the inclusion of an interactive audio or video player. Many site visitors are simply not able to focus on a website full of text. If the text is too dense or if there is too much going on, site visitors will simply click away instead of spending time reviewing what you have to say. Audio and video players allow you to reach out to these distracted web users by making sure that they are able to listen and watch the presentation as you speak. This will get them interested in the content on your site and make them more likely to stay and explore what you have to offer.
The top-level navigation on economic development websites should be logical. Site visitors appreciate it when they can get their bearings quickly. They love it when they can go right from one page to the next without having to take their eyes off of the screen to read another thing. Make sure that you maintain a logical top-level navigation structure on your site. A good way to achieve this is to place all of your important content on one page. You can then include a graphic of your area of expertise or the logo of your organization on the second page so that site visitors know where to go.
When you use sitemaps, make sure that they are easy to read. Your site visitors will become confused if they cannot make sense of the entire layout of your site, especially if you use drop down menus. In order for your site to really come across as professional and user-friendly, it is a good idea to put the most important areas of your information on the first and second level of your sitemap. Making use of a clear and concise sitemap will help you achieve all of your goals in terms of design, usability, and user friendliness.