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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Local economic development headquarters pursuing new website

  • The Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council is one of countless entities across the nation that promotes its area through a website. But is its web page doing a good enough job of sharing all that this region has to offer? Tom Boland, president of the council, doesn’t feel it is.
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  • The Northeast Missouri Economic Development Council is one of countless entities across the nation that promotes its area through a website. But is its web page doing a good enough job of sharing all that this region has to offer? Tom Boland, president of the council, doesn’t feel it is.
    During last month’s meeting of the council, Boland declared the current site unacceptable and proposed coming up with a new website by the end of 2013.
    George Walley, the organization’s executive director, reported that he has already been in touch with companies that have designed websites for other communities. Walley added it would be more productive time-wise to find a web-design firm with experience working with economic development entities.
    Boland envisions a website that is comparable to those utilized by the “big boys.” He added the new web page should be “simple and easy to use” while providing useful information on the town, area and its economic development assets.
    Walley agreed that the council’s new website should not be cumbersome for visitors.
    “Any site that requires more than three clicks (to reach important information) is too mechanical,” he said.
    During the Nov. 20 meeting Boland indicated he wanted to see “something special” by the end of the year. Walley proposed a more realistic time line.
    “An end-of-the-year deadline is adequate for bringing back a plan, but not a fully developed site,” said Walley.
    Boland seemed willing to push back the deadline because “we want to do it right.”
    The council’s president did ask that the existing NMEDC website - www.nemodev.org/ - be shut down.
    “No information is better than worthless information,” said Boland.
    Walley cautioned against completely pulling the plug on the website.
    “Going nowhere is not good. We can redirect people wanting information to different addresses,” said Walley.
    The council’s Internet address still opens a page. It states the “website is currently undergoing revisions.” It provides an office phone number and e-mail address. Also available are links to websites of the Board of Public Works, Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Hannibal and Hannibal Convention and Visitors Bureau (HCVB) where “extensive community information is available.”
    The cost of redoing the council’s website varies. After talking with two companies, Walley reported proposed fees ranged from $7,000 to $40,000.
    Bob Stevenson, general manager of the BPW, shared that around $30,000 was spent two years ago to have its website redesigned. He noted its new website can now be easily updated by BPW staff.
    Page 2 of 2 - Walley indicated that it should be possible to come up with the funds necessary to pay for a redesign.
    “That’s why we have reserves, to make marketing decisions that are necessary,” he said.
    Gail Bryant, director of the HCVB, expressed a willingness to help in the new website’s development.
    “It’s all about partnerships,” she said.

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