How Much is an Economic Development Website
10 Feb 2020
How Much Is an Economic Development Website?
The answer to the question, “How much is an economic development website?” is influenced by the types of tools that need to be represented on the site. Plus, the old adage, “you get what you pay for” is true. Websites can be built cheaply. But, when they do, they typically lack the resources and information site selectors and workforce need to make informed decisions. So, while it is an undebatable fact that economic development websites are invaluable, it is still important to get the best value for your budget.
How much is an economic development website?
First, ask what online tools and information your organization needs to attract site selectors and new businesses. For example, do they need up-to-date demographic data? Do they need real estate search tools? Knowing how to attract site selectors in the virtual world will help economic development organizations successfully execute a website.
Site selectors depend on online information
The first thing site selectors will look at when evaluating an area is the economic development website. Nearly two-thirds of location advisors and corporate executives visit the websites of economic development organizations while researching the communities for potential site selection. A planned physical visit during the research process is becoming a thing of the past.
If an economic development organization does not have a website, or it has an ineffective website, it could miss out on 65 percent of location advisors and corporate executives.
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How to improve an economic development website
The majority of economic development agencies already have a website. The problem is that many are outdated, poorly designed and not user-friendly. These characteristics alone are enough to turn potential site selectors away. Most economic development websites need these improvements to really “wow” site selectors.
Demographic and location data
The majority of site selectors are interested in demographics first and foremost to make an informed decision about relocation. Demographic data should be updated regularly, and it should be specific to the location. This data should be interactive and easy to navigate. GIS planning is vital to a successful economic development website because it puts access to all of this information at the fingertips of the user.
Landing pages are essentially smaller websites within the website devoted to targeted audiences. Landing pages dedicated to the quality of life, educational opportunities, recreational opportunities, available properties, and workforce training, for example, make it quicker and easier for site selectors to find exactly what they are looking for so they do not feel like they are wasting time.
Photos and videos
Most location advisors and corporate executives are technologically savvy and know quality when they see it. Bringing a location’s essence to life in virtual reality captures the attention of site selectors. High-quality photos and videos available on an economic development website give site selectors an accurate depiction of the location that words alone cannot express.
Seamless user experience
A website that is easy to navigate, self-explanatory and informative across any platform or device will be more inviting to site selectors than an outdated, slow and unresponsive website of years gone by. If it takes more than a couple of clicks to get to what someone is looking for on a website, it leaves a negative impression.
These updates may sound like a lot, but the payoff of attracting more site selectors than ever before will make it worth the investment.
What an economic development website costs
Building a new and improved economic development website will come with a variety of options. Tools like those mentioned above and others will be optional add ons that may change the price of an economic development website. Determining what will be attractive to location advisors and corporate executives specific to your area will weigh in on the final cost.
Developing a website that site selectors cannot turn away from should be at the top of the budget totem pole for an economic development organization. If the organization still feels it is lacking in funds for a project like this, there are options available for financial assistance. Resources like the U.S. Economic Development Administration and the National Community Development Services are great places to start when researching economic development grants and marketing campaign opportunities.
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