When you need to quickly make a change to your website, do you:
a) Call IT and have them schedule the task, or
b) Take care of it yourself in a matter of minutes?
The answer should be ‘b,’ and if 2020 didn’t drive that reality home, nothing will.
For a typical municipal site there will always be news updates, event announcements, biographies of new staff members, meeting agendas and minutes, videos to upload, etc. etc.
However, this past year cities have also had to deal with election information, at a time when new voting procedures could cause confusion; plus, with fluctuating COVID-19 stats, there were various levels of restrictions and lockdowns, pop-up testing areas, school openings and closings and other ever-changing variables.
Whether it’s an emergency announcement or just an update of playground hours, websites are arguably the most common way that people gather information about your community. Making sure that information is up-to-date is critical.
But if your site is not easy to use, updates will be tedious and will get overlooked, and that can’t happen, especially when lives and livelihoods are at stake.
A website that requires HTML experience or even programming skills could be an impediment to effective communications. Fortunately, most modern sites are built on a content management system (CMS) and can be updated by novices. But like everything else, there are good ones and bad ones.
Another factor that may have impeded updates this past year is the approval process. Websites can publish a web page, a social media post or update a mobile app from one easy-to-use interface, but it’s just as important to have a workflow management process built in that allows for the proper approvals to happen before someone hits the wrong button (think of when Hawaii sent out a missile alert without specifying it was a test, because no approval process existed).
Finally, some updates are more critical than others – another hard-earned lesson from 2020. Does your website have emergency banner functionality that can take a predefined template, add custom wording and create a dropdown banner, pop-up window or shadow box with a few clicks, ensuring that the message cannot be missed by visitors? These same advanced sites offer text-to-update capabilities, and the ability to push to social media and integrated mobile apps to make certain everyone gets the message.
These are the Sites We Build
If you are a 360Civic client, then you’ve already experienced the convenience of having these streamlined features that make frequent updates easy.
If you don’t have a content management system, or you’re not happy with your current one, why wait until your next major website revision project to make a change? Contact 360Civic about the benefits of Drupal – our most frequently used CMS – and how we’ve customized the platform to make a great product even better.