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The Importance of web sites for cities

Updated on September 19, 2010

In today’s world the use of the Internet has become almost a necessity. While Internet access is important for many businesses today it is also important for cities. Both have a message for their visitors. The message for businesses is about their company and products/services. For cities it is about the city and what they have to offer anyone who is considering visiting them. Communication and the structure of web sites for both purposes are important. Just having a web site with all the information you want on it is not enough. It takes more.

Having a web site is a communication tool which can get the message out for both purposes as mentioned above. How the communication is accomplished through the design of the web site can make the difference between being successful and failing in the objective established for it.

Information on web sites for cities can have a wide range of information for which visitors may be searching. The more a city can anticipate what visitors are searching for and supplying the information the more successful the objective will be achieved. As a communication tool cities can provide visitors to their site with information about them and their surroundings which cannot be otherwise economically provided. The key in this aspect is to have a quality web site. Cities that have web sites have a unique advantage over those who have not taken the time to either develop one or have one developed for them. Cities are like anything else they need exposure to the general public.

Through my research I have discovered that there are over 4,000 cities that have web sites. These cities and their web sites range from what I believe to be poor quality to excellent quality in how they are designed and the information they provide to their visitors. Each visitor evaluates the quality of a web site they access and if they feel the quality and structure poor they will leave it and not remember it in their future Internet searching activities. Web sites must make an impression on those who visit them to be successful. Excellence in anything involves not only the quality of what is being provided but the ease of viewing various parts of the site. The structure and quality of these web sites are as varied as the number of sites.

Today tourism is an important aspect of income for many cities, some more than others. The information that a city web site provides can make the difference between a positive impression and a bad one to those who visit it. If the public cannot find out good information about a particular location along with some pictures of the landscape they may not get the full benefits of visiting a specific location. Providing this type of information can present a view that makes individuals want to visit. Many people take vacations every year and they go many varied locations. Presenting information that visitors need or want can make the difference on the amount of income that a city may receive. Income of cities is struggling today and losing out on potential income through a web site that does not present information visitors want may cause a city to lose out on income that may be vital to its existence.

Cities who have web sites must consider what information they want to provide to visitors. They need to put themselves in a visitor’s place and ask what information they would want to find out about their city. Some examples may include pictures of the landscape, tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels among others. While city web sites should not become an advertiser for various businesses it is important they offer a wide range of information to help visitors make a decision on whether to visit.

As mentioned previously I discovered there are over 4,000 cities that have web sites. This is a small number compared to the number of cities in the United States. Cities that do not have web sites are losing out on getting exposure about their community. I am not saying that every city needs a web site as this is a decision each city must make. If a city has a web site or decides to develop one they must make sure that it is a quality one with all the information a visitor to their city would need. Cities must remember that a web site provides an impression to visitors. First impressions are important. Those cities who have web sites must evaluate if their site provides the impression they want and if not they need to change it until it does.


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