Is your community Web site Economic Development friendly?

Last night I had the opportunity to give a brief talk to the GCEDC – Grant County (Wisconsin) Economic Development Corporation monthly meeting in downtown Livingston, WI. I gave them a checklist to help them make sure their community web sites are Economic Development friendly. As you may suspect, this checklist can be applied to community and economic development sites anywhere. In fact, many of the items should be implemented on every web site.  Obviously, we talked in more detail about most of the items.

That said, in addition to the nice dinner served by Rebel’s Northern Exposure restaurant, and the gracious hospitality of our Livingston hosts and that of Ron Brisbois, Executive Director,  and John Murphy, President of GCEDC, here are the questions I posed last night:

Site Checklist:

  1. Is Economic Development prominently displayed in the navigation?
  2. Do you have text on the home page about Economic Development in your community?
    1. Specifically a paragraph with search terms that Economic Development professionals, business owners, job seekers, and relocating workers would use to find information.
  3. Are there links in that text that take visitors to the appropriate pages on your site?
  4. Does your Economic Development area include community profile information such as:
    • Transportation
    • Utilities
    • Emergency and Medical Services
    • Education/Employee Training
    • Major Employers
    • Taxes
    • Area Labor Force Information
    • Available buildings, sites, businesses
    • Housing Information
    • Community Contacts
    • Business & Industry Contact Information
  5. Is ALL of the information current?
  6. Have two people proofread your information for errors and accuracy?
  7. Do your Economic Development pages have the appropriate Title and META Description words?
  8. Do you have contact information on every page (in the footer) that interested parties will have in front of them after they print ANY of your pages?
  9. Do you have a Google (or other mapping service) Map/Directions page?
  10. Have you tried searching Google using the terms you believe prospects would use to find a community such as yours, when searching to locate a new/existing business, or  for personally relocating? If so, how did you do?

I also spoke briefly about using AdWords for Economic Development and gave them this very short list of AdWords Advantages:

  • Reach people who self-qualify themselves
  • Deliver them to the exact landing page that has content relevant to their search
  • Fully control your ad budget – Chose daily budget; change or stop it in seconds
  • See your ads on Google within minutes of creating them
  • Very flexible, pause, start, change, create ads in seconds or minutes

Quick tips that will get you results.