Q1: What is a standard budget for a government website?
A: Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way, local government budgets. Budgets for projects are usually pre-determined after meetings and community involvement and input. That said, budgets are going to be different for agencies depending on projects and their level of importance. Technology can be an aspect overlooked for budgeting, but it doesn't take away from the importance of updated tech for local government agencies.
Generally speaking, allocating a budget for a municipal site should depend on your population. Follow this table below from Upanup to get an overview of how much you should be spending on my website.
Q2: How should I organize the information on my site?
A: The way you organize the information is crucial for residents and their perception of your local government, it shows professionalism and that you care about their needs. Certain aspects residents focus on are pages to pay bills, get notifications for happenings in the community, submit public service requests, etc.
That said, local governments accommodate visitors and businesses too. So it’s good to have a thorough top navigation bar where pages are organized with similar items. Take for example City of Wentzville, MO. They have a top navigation bar filled with information depending on the type of visitor you are, along with a carousel bar on the homepage that takes the user to quick links. Think about what most residents call in to ask about most often. For example, if it’s how to pay their bill- that might be a good feature to use on the carousel bar, somewhere on the homepage that is obvious to a user.
Q3: What’s the best design or aesthetic for my government agency?
A: This isn’t a black and white answer, per se. Design and aesthetics by nature differ by taste and perception of beauty, but there are general attributes to follow to achieve a good-looking government website.
- Clear photos (Emphasis on clear) Using clear, high-quality images help the perception of your organization as more professional and authentic.
- Unified color scheme and accent colors- Using a cohesive color scheme will help bring unity to the user's eyes and not overwhelm them while scrolling through the site
- Use of welcoming home page- Think about it, a home page is like a cover of a book, and whether we want to admit it or not, we do tend to judge a book by its cover. Use welcoming fonts, images, colors, and content sections to invite the user to continue scrolling.
For a more in-depth analysis of design principles, watch the Revize 10 Most Effective Web Designs for Residents Webinar.
Q4: How do I make sure residents know about alerts and announcements in the community?
A: Making sure residents know about happenings in the community is essential, especially because alerts are time-sensitive! A useful integration for the best government website is the notifications center, where you can highlight the most important information on the screen of your homepage.
Clark County, NV does a nice job of utilizing the notification center to get constituents to subscribe to their newsletter.
Q5: Do I need a tech background to edit and update my site?
A: Most certainly not, or at least you shouldn’t have to. Technology and websites are supposed to be simple and user-friendly. If you find yourself spending hours editing your current website, it might be time to switch to a more responsive user-friendly CMS.
Q6: Where should I go for inspiration for my web design?
A: Inspiration is key to great design, and there are tons of free resources to find design and brand inspiration for your government agency. Looking at award-winning government websites can help create ideas of what you want or don’t want on your site.
City of Olympia, WA was a finalist for Digital City Awards 2022 and showcases the potential of a unique and beautiful government website.
Q7: Should I have a team dedicated to editing content?
A: Generally speaking, having a dedicated team to edit content or certain areas of content will help with organization and a cohesive look and writing style across your government website platform. Sometimes having a team dedicated to the editing and updating of website content can avoid confusion and help reach a common goal.
Q8: How do I decide which pictures to use for content on the site?
A: We talked about just how important pictures are for the content on a best practice government website, and clear pictures are a way to make sure that your brand maintains an attractive and professional appearance.
There are free resources to use copyright-free images that are high-quality and can help you enrich your content with visual aid. Just make sure the images kind of go with your brand or scheme and the place’s general appearance. (You wouldn’t use a picture of a sunny beach if you are a local government in Alaska…you get the point.)
Q9: What is a good method to track my website's success after its upgrade?
A: SEO is an essential method to gain more organic traffic to your government website and increase CTR. Google Analytics is a phenomenal free tool that can help track which content is performing well versus content that might not be, also getting familiar with the platform is free through the Analytics Academy Google offers.Q10: How do I choose a vendor to host my website?
A: Choosing a vendor is sort of like choosing a place to live, we need to make sure it accommodates our needs, gets the job done, looks good to others (and ourselves), and has plans in place in case something goes wrong. Revize Government Websites is a government CMS platform that has over 20 years in the business. If you want to learn more about the potential for your government website, contact us today.