Six Important Factors to Look for in a Local Government Website Vendor
Your current local government website is outdated, inflexible, and unimpressive. If you’re about to begin a website redesign project, you’re likely wondering how to choose the right government web design vendor. There are a lot of detailed factors that go into choosing a vendor, but that doesn’t mean you need to be overwhelmed by the process. To simplify this important choice, we’ve come up with a short list of factors to consider.
Choose a Vendor that Shares Your Vision
When exploring your options in a website design vendor, be sure to find a company that is stable, experienced, and prepared to serve as an extension of your administrative operations. No matter the size of your administrative team, you’ll need the support of local government technology experts that you can trust to serve as your long-term strategic partner. Ideally, you want a partner that will listen to your ideas and collaborate with you to design the best website for your municipality through a preliminary consultation process. Post-launch, you should have access to a dedicated account manager and strategic resources to ensure your website continues to evolve as the needs of your community evolve.
An Intuitive System and Customizable Training
Choose a company that will offer an administrative back-end, providing a content management system (CMS) easy enough for someone to manage even if they don’t have web programming experience. In addition to choosing an easy-to-use CMS, make sure you choose one that will enable you to future-proof your content strategy, and that can accommodate the ever-evolving landscape of digital technology. You’ll also want to ensure that any partner you choose is prepared to offer flexible training for you and your team. Depending on your needs and the size of your staff, onsite or virtual training may be preferred. Also ensure you have constant access to educational materials and reference guides for ongoing education and refresher training.
No matter the size of your community and your administrative team, if you’re redesigning a website, you’ll need more than a final website product. You’ll need access to ongoing strategic guidance to continually evolve and enhance your website’s features and functionality. You’ll need access to support specialists 24/7/365, in case an emergency occurs and you need troubleshooting advice. You’ll also need training post-launch, and access to recurring training resources as new team members are added to your administration. Make sure any vendor you choose does more than design and launch websites. Make sure they offer comprehensive services and can act as a full extension of your digital communications team.
Local Government Expertise
If you’ll be responsible for launching your community’s new website, you’ll need the advice of experts with experience in the public sector. You’ll want a true partner that understands the needs of local government and can help you ensure you’re following industry best practices. Find a partner with a developed portfolio. Collaborating with local governments requires an understanding of their unique needs, so be sure to look for a partner that has experience working with municipalities specifically. Review some of the other websites they have designed, and view their case studies to get an idea of their quality of work.
Make sure any vendor you choose offers you access to a team of support specialists that can be reached via multiple channels, including phone, email, and chat. If an issue or error occurs, you can’t wait days, or even hours for a response for help. A responsive service team will play a key role in helping ensure a consistent and reliable digital presence for your community.
A Proven Commitment to Success
Once you determine your community’s goals and outline a specific timeline for the launch of its new web presence, consider choosing a single partner that can help you achieve those goals. Make sure you and your partner share the same vision for your project, and that they understand what functionality and design aspects will be most valuable to your local government. Ultimately, you should be paying for the services and solutions that you value most, no matter if they are strategic consulting, award-winning design, or a flexible system.
If you’re planning a website redesign, make sure to choose more than a vendor. Choose a partner that cares about your civic engagement goals, and will work as hard as you do to make your communication vision a reality. As you work together, it will be essential to follow a proven planning process to ensure a successful redesign launch. Download our free website redesign planning toolkit to get started.