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  2008 | October


In This Issue

When was the last time you searched for your community online?

  • Get local businesses involved
  • Highlight your best assets

  • When was the last time you searched for your community online?

    You might be asking why you would search for yourself. It might seem ridiculous, but the purpose behind it is important. Becoming aware of your own web presence is a necessity in the 21st century in order to become successful. Whether your goal is to bring in tourism or foster other types of economic development you must take the leap into this age of information.

    Although information about the importance of web presence is out there, we often choose to ignore it. It can end up taking a backseat to the other things that are going on in your community. However, you must find a way to make it a priority because increasingly people are turning toward the internet as their primary source of information. Without a strong web presence you risk being overlooked or ignored.

    In the past travelers may have stopped at their local information centers to pick up brochures about places to go, but now they are getting online to gather the same information. Cell phones with access to the internet have made it even easier to get information while on the road. People can access your website 24 hours a day no matter where they are in the world. The rising cost of fuel over the last few years has made travelers more likely to plan their trips in advance. With a high-quality web presence you will be more likely to make it on their list of places to stop.

    Attracting tourists is not the only reason to keep up with your website. Companies looking to expand or relocate will also use the internet as their first line of research. By weeding out communities that do not maintain a consistent, professional image through their website, the companies can shorten their list quickly.

    Not only should you strive to promote your community to the outside world effectively, but you should also be thinking of your own constituents. By making sure your community members can easily access your website and the resources you choose to include on it, you will foster a sense of cohesiveness between your municipality and its citizens. Use your website as a tool to provide good customer service to your citizens, keep them informed of community events, and let them know what services you provide. This type of communication will ensure your citizens feel involved in the community.

    For ideas on how to build your web presence, read Establishing a Strong Web Presence :: Key Tips for a Successful Site in our Economic Development Resource Library.

    Get local businesses involved
    Encourage your local businesses to establish a strong web presence for themselves. If your community and the businesses in it all maintain a strong web presence, you will be less likely to be overlooked. Businesses will also benefit because they may also be able to widen their customer base. This is especially true if they decide to do online sales. They will be able to reach potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

    Highlight your best assets
    Promote aspects of your community that are desirable. For example, people are consistently looking for ways to get away from the stressful, hurried state of cities. Small communities should emphasize the things that set them apart from cities like access to natural settings, the safe environment, and their welcoming community. Your website is the perfect place to highlight those types of assets. Also, be sure showcase the events that your community has each year.

    Get On TARGET
    TARGET (Technical Assistance for Regional Growth in Economic Development) taps into a wealth of resources found within TEEX and The Texas A&M University System to help your community reach its economic development potential. To find out more about TARGET click here.