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Your Economic Development Website Budget

Every economic development website is unique and its budget will depend on the municipality’s priorities and circumstances. Nevertheless there are best practices that can be applied universally to help managers plan their website budgets.

Relate Dollars to Goals

Expenditures must be planned realistically so that the website can be an enabler for your department in achieving its goals. And those goals must be consistent with the municipality’s strategic economic development plan.

Budgets for economic development websites in North America can and do vary by a factor of 1,000 — but a website’s success does not depend as much on the level of investment as on the appropriate allocation of expenditures under the headings of your economic development goals.

Plan for Continuous Improvement

Technology solutions such as websites, by their nature, are designed to grow and evolve. Your economic-development website will require upgrades as new functions and capabilities become mainstream, as your needs change, and as the technology itself changes. It is important to remember when planning your budget that the website will always be a fluid solution, one that requires a continuous improvement (more…)

Hitting Your Targets

A successful website plan begins at the strategic planning level of the organization. A layered process of analysis leads like a funnel to the strategy that serves to guide the website’s goals (see “Defining Website Goals,” October 27, 2009).

Once you have the strategy in hand, however, two questions remain: how can you define your website’s goals most effectively, and how can you know if you have succeeded in meeting those goals?

These questions relate to the often difficult problem of demonstrating ROI. Many economic development websites are difficult to evaluate, and investment is difficult to justify, because there are no defined goals, and because measurement and tracking of statistics is often neglected.

You can justify website investments by pointing to the achievement of goals both externally and internally. If you find that your goals are not achieved, this does not mean necessarily that there has been no return on investment – rather, it is an opportunity to improve (more…)