Sunday, August 12, 2012

Roadmap to a Better Town Website

The Longmeadow Select Board met last Monday night (August 6) to discuss the town website and how to improve it.  As I mentioned in an earlier Buzz post I planned to present my website recommendations to the Select Board during public comments.  Here is a copy of the email that I sent to Paul Santaniello outlining my recommendations.

Below is a short video clip (courtesy of LCTV) of my remarks during public comments....

At this Select Board meeting the first agenda item was the town website status during which Kevin Warenda, IT Director for the Town of Longmeadow discussed options for the town to consider.  Below is a shortened video version of this discussion (courtesy of LCTV):

At the end of the discussion, Mr. Warenda provided some guidance for the Select Board to use as it moves forward to improve the website.  He believes that the Select Board should not be actively involved with the operation of the town website and that it should become the prime responsibility of the Town Manager and town departments.

Below is a brief video clip (courtesy of LCTV) of his remarks:

To summarize, it would appear that "content" is being added to the town website on a regular basis but the information is not being managed very well.  The town website uses the Word Press "content management system" which provides for a robust operation.

While the Select Board did not formally develop and approve a plan forward for the town website, key "takeaways" that I heard during this discussion included:
  1. The Word Press CMS system should be continued as the platform for the town website.
  2. There is a need for a person to be appointed with responsibility for the daily operation of the website.  This person will also ensure that the information from each department is posted in a timely manner and that the homepage reflects the most current information for town residents.
  3. The Select Board should not continue their active involvement in the organization/ administration of the town website.  Website operation and performance should be a key goal for the new Town Manager and department heads.
  4. Links to community and business organizations should be considered for inclusion on the town website.