By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager
When websites first became a big deal in the mid-1990s, a lot of folks thought they were just another technological fad. But about as fast as you can say “Gig ‘em, Aggies,” everyone realized that an organization’s web presence is its most important communications and marketing tool.
In the last quarter-century, websites have become essential to not only businesses, non-profits, and educational institutions, but all levels of government. The City of College Station’s website attracts more than 2.5 million views a year and provides essential information about the city’s activities, programs, and services.
The current website has been operating since 2007, and while 12 years may not seem long, it’s an eternity in the web world. The site has served our community well, but a change is long overdue. It simply has become stale, outdated, and out-of-touch with modern trends and technology.
Thankfully, we launch a fresh new website – featuring brighter graphics and user-friendly navigation with drop-down menus – on Thursday at the familiar cstx.gov. With so much of our web traffic coming from smartphones and tablets, the new site also is optimized for mobile devices.
Our web presence is vital since it’s typically among the first things anyone sees when searching online for information about College Station. Our priority was to develop the site from the users’ perspective, and the result is an easy-to-use, intuitive site that is also aesthetically pleasing. It’s much more secure, too.
Redesigning the website wasn’t a simple endeavor. Our Public Communications team led the effort with assistance from Information Technology staff and web administrators in the various city departments. The new content management system was designed and customized by CivicLive, an experienced national company that specializes in municipal websites.
The main sections of the new site are Departments and City Hall, Residents and Neighborhoods, Business and Development, and Our Community. An “I Want To” tab is a shortcut to find the answers to commonly asked questions. Other shortcut tabs take users to employment information, bids and proposal requests, utilities, maps, e-pay, and more.
The home page also features a prominent search bar, a meeting and event calendar, and the city’s latest news releases, blog posts, and podcasts. The new site will no longer allow users to subscribe to departmental updates (e-notify), although they can still subscribe to the events calendar and documents.
College Station’s population has grown by 50 percent since we launched the old website. The new site better reflects what our community has become. The best part is that it will continue to grow with us. Good websites are always a work in progress as new content is added and we explore new and better ways to communicate with you.
We’ll be tweaking the site and smoothing out rough spots in the coming months. The website exists for your convenience, and we encourage you to contact us with constructive comments and suggestions.
You can email comments or questions to me at email@example.com.
About the Blogger
Marketing Manager Lacey Lively has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. She previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.
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