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Site Redo / Refresh – New Sections to Add to Illinois Main Street Alliance – Part 4

This the fourth part of  my suggestions for a site redo/site refresh. Part one is at

Part two is  Here

Part three is Here

The Illinois Main Street Alliance (IMSA), is one of the organizations I am working with. This is a small business association with chapters across the country representing actual main street or real small businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce being more focused on large corporations (based on who is on the board, and amount of donations and how it lobbies). So as a small organization, it has a limited budget and resources. Most are volunteered with limited technical expertise.

Recently, I was asked for some input as to what would I do to improve its website. 

Not knowing the answers to the core questions asked in part 1 makes recommendations a challenge. But here are some suggestions for new sections to add to the site:

  • Create an section of an archive of newsletters.
  • Accountability section:
    • This could list a variety of different elected officials, and map out their voting history on those bills that are for or against our standpoint. There are a variety of tools that can be used to assist with this (most are free) from Google Maps (for listing legislative officials districts) to MegaVote by
    • This section could also link to the different campaign donation sites and draw analysis on where our elected officials are getting their money from and how it’s working or not working in our best interest.
  • Jobs section
    • This could be an area to list jobs. This section has the opportunity to be a traffic generator because jobs always ranks well within Google and there are number of search engines that go through an aggregate job postings from across the Internet. It may be a way to bring in more individual participants that are looking for work as a way to plug into our system, as well as increasing our credibility and economic power within the state.
    • This may be a free or paid system it may be a outside managed service or internally easy to create page listing. It probably should be edited or at least monitor to make sure that there aren’t a lot of ‘junk’ postings and it
  • Editorial section. This could be a place where different leaders within IMSA can go share ideas and values to the community.
  • Facebook reposting section – Have a section that allows us to repost everything that is being posted at the Facebook site. Currently Google is not indexing much of Facebook (Facebook’s decision), so the good content, discussion and ideas shared there can not be found elsewhere.
  • Create a white paper section. This allows us to post the various content we have had and shared with the press and legislatures in the past. It provides both context and background. It also makes it easier for others including Google to understand our expertise and depth of understanding on the topic.
  • Create a press release section. This section needs to include both the PDF of the press release as well as the text of the press release. Ideally, this could be historical, going back to the beginning of IMSA.
  • Discussion board section
    • This section would be a good area for us to be able to have a’members only’ or ‘leadership only’ discussions and share the conversation back and forth rather than going in continuing to use just the e-mail post back and forth. This could also be a section to go through and post if we wanted to recordings of her conference calls today again we can allow others that were unable to attend a conference call to hear the actual conversation from those conference calls.
    • This area could also have conference call minutes that John typically collects and sends out after each conference call. They could be posted here as an easy resource for those to find all those discussion threads in one place.
These sections have multiple purposes. Again the priority and appropriateness of these suggestions is dependent on what the intended objectives are and who the primary audience is. But all of these expanded sections will create more content. That will improve Google ranking and improve viability in the search engines.
Greater sections tends to improve user friendliness and makes is easier for visitors to quickly and effectively find what they are looking for. Studies show that most searchers are not in the mood to be finding information until they find what they are looking for 1st. Just as it is much easier to be exploring and taking in the scenery then it is to be lost and enjoying where you are. Greater number of sections also makes it easier to have multiple people working in partnership on the same website without conflict. It is easier to define boundaries and not ‘stomp’ on each others work. Loosing an afternoon’s efforts can be so demoralizing.

What other ideas do you typically start with when doing an informational/community site redo/refresh?  Join in the conversation below with your comments.

November 2, 2011 Posted by | Chicago, Community, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment