For small towns and community leagues, a homepage serves as a means of communicating with the public.
Citizens visit these pages to find essential information about the community. That’s why it’s important to make sure the homepage is optimized for clarity, loading speed, and more.
When local governments distribute important civic information to residents, they strive to do so in a manner that’s efficient and effective. Your homepage is essentially a permanent distribution channel. Thus, it should be optimized with the same degree of care.
The Qualities of Homepage Optimization
You may have heard of search engine optimization. This is the practice of inserting keywords into a website’s content to ensure it shows up in relevant internet searches.
To some degree, SEO is beneficial to small towns and community leagues. It helps potential tourists find the community when searching for attractions in the region. However, for town websites, SEO is less important than other forms of optimization. Instead, an optimized small town homepage should have the following key traits:
- Proper Organization: Citizens often check town websites for news updates, local calendars, town board contact information, etc. An effective homepage is one that’s organized with residents in mind. Any information they seek should be easy to find. You don’t want citizens to get frustrated because they wasted time on your website looking for the minutes of the latest board meeting or the email address for the town supervisor.
- Effective Design: Strong design plays a major role in improving the overall organization of a homepage. Visual elements and text must be laid out in such a way as to please the eye without bombarding it. However, clear organization is just one benefit of strong design. Because your homepage represents the town, you want to include visuals that depict the town in a positive manner. That includes a pleasant color scheme, relevant images, and in some cases, iconography that corresponds to local attractions or interests.
- Fast Loading: On the one hand, it is important to include dynamic elements, like images, to enhance the overall “character” of your homepage. On the other hand, you don’t want to include so many dynamic elements that the page takes a long time to load. Professional website designers know how to strike the right balance between making sure a page stands out and making sure visitors can use it efficiently.
- Professionally-Written Content: The content of your homepage must sound professional. Grammatical errors and poor syntax indicate a lack of pride in the community. Perhaps more importantly, professionally-written homepage content is clear and concise. It ensures that when citizens visit your page, they can not only find what they’re looking for, but clearly understand it without any chance of miscommunication.
Why Homepage Optimization Makes Your Life Easier
If you’re involved in local government, you have a lot of responsibilities to fulfill. In other words, you’re a busy person with a limited amount of time in the day.
That’s just one more reason it pays to have an optimized homepage. Citizens who visit the page looking for certain information will contact you if they’re unable to find it. While part of your job involves fielding questions from the public, you’ll get a lot less done over the course of a day if you’re constantly addressing issues that your website should address for you.
An optimized homepage that’s easy to navigate prevents this type of problem. When citizens of a community are able to find what they’re looking for with just a few clicks, they’re not going to contact your office with minor questions on a regular basis. This frees up your time. You’ll serve your community much more effectively when you have the time to focus on more substantial tasks.
On top of that, an optimized homepage simply results in a more well-informed citizenry. Yes, some residents will call your office when they can’t find certain information online. However, others will simply decide not to take that extra step if they were unable to find what they were looking for on your website. This means many of your citizens could be deprived of crucial knowledge that will help them better take advantage of local services, abide by community laws, and participate in local government.
The Importance of Experts
Knowing an optimized homepage is important is one thing. Knowing how to create one is something else entirely. Don’t try to create a strong website if you lack the experience and expertise necessary to do so. Local leaders know that serving their towns often involves hiring the right people when they need to. If Main Street has a pothole, you don’t pave it yourself, you call the best local paving company for the job.
The same principle applies to your website. If you want to optimize it, find experts who can help you achieve this goal. It’s one more way to do right by the people of your community.