2020 Exceptional Economic Development Websites
01 January 2020
One of the first questions we are asked when talking about economic development websites is “What are examples of the best economic development websites?”
Each year the Golden Shovel team attends economic development conferences and events nationally and internationally to answer this question. During these travels, we seek out the latest trends in economic development communications and look for communities that are leading the industry in marketing, design, and innovation.
Our team is happy to recommend the following list as examples to follow in 2020. It is a hard list to assemble and there are many sites deserving of a spot on the list, but we had to stop at 10. We hope you find these helpful and take a moment to appreciate the work these economic development teams have produced.
Economic development sites must blend the local narrative with resources for businesses looking to relocate or expand. The Choose Santa Cruz site balances the warm invitation to the culture with a full-set of economic development resources and tools. The navigation is crisp, compelling, and easy to use and the video plays smoothly. If you are looking for an economic development site example that excels at storytelling, Choose Santa Cruz makes the list.
Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation has the right mix of navigation, design, and storytelling. The homepage immediately offers a data comparison tool and compelling reasons to move or expand in Gallup and McKinley Counties in New Mexico. This site easy to use and visually appealing but the real attraction is the data tools and depth of information. There is plenty of great design ideas and resources to draw from on the Greater Gallup website.
Every economic development website must answer the “Why?” question. Parker Colorado offers an excellent example of how to approach this question. Visually, the Parker Colorado economic development website stands out with impressive images of the community. And, the visitor is invited to immediately explore “Why Parker?” From here, Parker successfully makes the case that its community is ripe for business expansion and an excellent location for a business and growing family. Its strong economy and quality of life combined with a short commute to Denver present a strong case to make Parker Colorado a lifelong destination. The website stands out as an economic development site to mimic.
The Colorado Office of Economic Development website blends storytelling through visuals and statistics. We viewed the site on desktop and mobile devices and found the site to be very responsive. There were no lags or distortions to the graphics or messages. Well done! The website focuses on innovation and local industry success stories. Look at this website for its attention to detail and the ability to tell a great economic development story.
Midwestern communities enjoy the quiet, prairie beauty and can boast of their stable community structure and loyal workforce. Junction City Geary County offers an excellent example of how a town in the U.S. heartland can successfully market itself. The scrolling banner and fast facts give the reader an eye-catching snapshot of the community. Below the banner, four main resources are presented: community, site selection, properties, and workforce. Furthermore, this website wastes no time presenting visitors with the right information. Simple and crisp, the Junction City Geary County economic development website gets it right.
Economic development begins in our neighborhoods and communities. Effective change requires coordination and communication which is why the East Side Area Business Association website has a spot on the 2020 list. The visual tour accentuates life and opportunity in the East Side of St. Paul, MN. The website offers local business tools and resources to use at the East Side Enterprise Center. Also, we appreciated the deliberate effort to bring diversity forward. By playing to the strengths of the local diverse populations, this website stands out as an association and economic development website.
Kentucky continues to be a success story for expansion and economic development in the US. Specifically, eastern Kentucky has leveraged the strength of their workforce availability. This is the strength of the One East Kentucky website: jobs, jobs and more jobs. One East Kentucky has a goal of attracting large manufacturers and getting their workers from the coal mines to new manufacturing opportunities. It is working. A large part of this success is attributed to the coordinated messaging and marketing that begins with their website and marketing strategy.
Site selectors and business owners have specific needs when they access a community website. These individuals are in the business of putting the best site in front of their clients, and Seguin leverages their assets well. As with all the economic development websites we reviewed, the visuals tell the story of the community and welcome interested visitors. But we chose this site because of the robust set of tools in the site selector toolbox. Site selectors can immediately view available properties, community profiles, explore the location, review labor and talent availability, industries and incentives. This is a powerful set of tools to organize for the site selectors and the local economic developers. Congratulations to Seguin for their outstanding website.
Texas is big, and marketing in Texas is no exception. When we reviewed the City of Dallas economic development website, we expected big ideas and the site delivered. Additionally, the site offers a compelling infographic with fast facts. This details the competitive advantages of doing business in Dallas and the surrounding region. Alongside the Fortune 500 success stories are resources to the arts and culture, sports and leisure and housing resources. This site is a complete package and deserves a spot on the list of best economic development websites.
Ramsey County’s website is a strong call to action for companies who wish to leverage incentives and tap into a skilled labor force. Start your tour of the site by clicking on the Incentives Dashboard. Immediately an incentive map covers the screen showing all the available incentives at each location—down to the parcel and neighborhood. The user has the ability to search for grants, tax credits, housing incentives, and many, many more options. That is a powerful tool. Business owners will spend hours researching sites and buildings, this incentive dashboard provides the information and helps the business owner on their journey to finding the right location. This forward-looking approach to economic development serves Ramsey County well.