Best practices for an economic development website

Ready to turn your town or city into the next economic hotspot? As economies ramp back up post COVID, and businesses around the world look to expand and tap in to new workforces, now is the perfect time to highlight the benefits of opening a new office, manufacturing plant or retail space in your town.

But getting started can be daunting! From finding with a vendor that has actual experience building an economic development website, to finding team members that can work on a project, economic development website projects can quickly become costly, bloated and unwieldy projects.

But they don’t have to! And to help, we’ve consulted our experts and their 25+ years of experience building economic development websites that not only look great, but drive real results to come up with some best practices every municipality, city or town can follow when building their website.

Find ways to spark your economic development website success:

  1. Grab attention, quickly
  2. Tell your story
  3. Provide step-by-step instructions
  4. Keep conversions in mind

1. Grab attention, quickly

Building a website is one thing, but building a website that truly pops and gives visitors a reason to explore the site helps to take any economic development website to the next level.

By leveraging existing assets – like videos, photos or other content – and combining it with rich colours, fonts and graphics, you can create an economic development website that stands out, and gives prospective businesses a compelling reason to open shop in your community

2. Tell your story

When you launch a new economic development website, it’s your chance to boast about your community! Show off and provide the information that businesses will care most about. Adding in video testimonials of local success stories, impactful facts and figures or even industry specific information can help make the difference between a new business opening up shop in your town, or the town over.

Take for example Windsor-Essex. We helped them build a site that not only stood out by leveraging their existing content, but by profiling key facts and figures in easy to digest sections – such as their “Our Location, Your Advantage” or industry specific data – they were able to launch a new website that gave visitors exactly what they needed. And the results speak for themselves, with web page views increasing by 107% since they launched.

3. Provide step-by-step instructions

While it may seem like table stakes, many economic development websites miss this critical step! And often times that’s because they’re focused on providing the ‘why’ a business should choose their city. But providing the ‘how’ can help paint the picture and provide businesses with all the necessary information they need to take the next step.

Take for example Halton Hills and their Invest Halton Hills website. We helped them build an “Invest and Grow” section that provided all the information a business would need – from available lands that are for sale, to local incentives and even their business concierge that helps new businesses every step of the way. It’s no wonder traffic to the new website increased by a whopping 166% after their first year!

4. Keep conversions in mind

While it’s great to showcase everything your city has to offer, it’s also important to provide call-to-actions and spots on your site where potential businesses can take a next step (and more importantly, where you can track a conversion!). By keep this in mind during your website build, you can ensure you’re adding relevant capture points, such as subscriptions to newsletters, forms and even click-to-call spots on your site.

So why is this so important? Numbers like pageviews and visitors to site are great to showcase the success of your site, nothing beats providing tangible business results – and being able to track this information will help you to build compelling business cases for future economic development campaigns to drive even more new business to your town.

While there are a lot of moving components that go into building an amazing economic development website, there are also a lot of best practices that can be followed to ensure your project stays on track – and on budget. By following these best practices, and partnering with a web development agency that has experience building websites for municipalities, you’ll be able to drive real results for your city, residents and new businesses.

Want to learn more?

Start building an economic development platform for your website by contacting us and talk to one of our municipal experts today.

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