Websites 2.0

DowntownNorthfieldGoesCrazy.jpgCynthia Hollod, of the Somerville (N.J.) District Management Corporation and Ray Gonzalez of Y Marketing & ITO Design, Inc. presented “Taking Your Main Street Website to the Next Level”. Here’s the assignment, go to one of the websites in town, look at it for two or three seconds, and let me know what you come away with about the image our community from the website.

Basically, your website should be designed for and delivered to your market. The brand or image of your community should be shaped to attract and hold a specific segment of your market within 2 or 3 seconds. Decisions about colors, elements and photos will largely determine the level of your success.

Websites often are too focused on the organization behind them. Although it is important to share information about mission, activities and volunteer opportunities, the top priority is to project and reinforce the community’s brand or image.

The community should have a package of assets or offerings that represent and reinforce its image. Typically a location is known for such things as a vacation destination, a history tour, recreational activities, or a shopping destination. The photos, design elements, and catch phrases such as “Restaurant Row”, “Gallery District”, “Home Design Zone”, or “Antique Corner” build and communicate that image.

Years ago, some people thought that they could name the portal to our community and its website, essentially by fiat. The reality is that different segments of the market are likely to enter through different portals, depending on their particular interest. Possibly popular portals to Northfield might be the CVB’s website, the City’s website, the Historical Society’s website, the Arts Guild’s website, or one of the many local blogs. All of these websites should do their part to project and reinforce our brand or image.

The workshop inspired me to recommend tweaking the NDDC’s website. I think that we should give more priority to projecting and reinforcing the story of our dining and shopping, arts and culture, recreation and entertainment, creativity and engagement…using existing elements whenever possible.

Perhaps I can inspire some of the other groups in town to tweak their websites to better project and reinforce Northfield’s brand or image. The better our coordination, the greater our success.

3 thoughts on “Websites 2.0

  1. Ross,

    You seem to be learning lots at your web 2.0 conference. After the Minnesota Council on Nonprofits web 2.0 conference a few weeks back. I decided that I need to tweak the NHS site a little bit more to project more of the history of Northfield and not just what is going on at NHS.

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