Both of Tupelo’s mayoral candidates agree that improvement is needed in the city’s official Web site, increasingly everywhere the windows through which people first see what communities look like and what they offer as a visitor destination and as a place to live.
The Web site’s appearance and content don’t rank as a critical problem, but what Tupelo’s missing is an opportunity to make a “wow” statement with its Internet first impression.
As those in charge of or responsible for other communities’ Web sites have noted, the issue usually is intentionality and consistency.
Decide what needs to be on the Web site as official information about government – and what else needs to be presented as marketing for the city, its events, activities, opportunities and quality of life.
It’s widely known that Tupelo has been an intentional adapter and semi-copycat when it comes to good ideas. Official delegations and worthwhile special interest groups have traveled far and wide to see how other places do things that Tupelo wants and needs.
Someone in the next mayoral administration should be assigned to move forward with an upgrade and update of the official Web site. A virtual our of other communities should be undertaken: Their Web sites are a few clicks away on the Internet. Several nearby cities of comparable size – and which compete with Tupelo for economic growth and jobs development – have more fully developed and attractive sites.
It’s obvious that Tupelo has fallen behind the curve in what it’s presenting, but making necessary changes is not an insurmountable problem.
If a wholly new design is needed the cost would be substantial, but perhaps the city has the tax resources within reach in the funds of the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Its funds are derived from sales taxes paid on restaurant meals and lodging. There’s no stretch involved in directly linking the city’s official Web site to tourism activities, special events and promotions.
For example, the official Web site for the city of Fort Myers, Fla., is a colorful combination of official information and a marketing presentation for the scores of sites, destinations and attractions and opportunities in that tourism-rich, prospering region.
We suggest Tupelo visit cityftmyers.com.
The site covers everything from softball league registration to yacht basin activities.
As a matter of coincidence, Fort Myers is in Lee County, named for the same Robert E. Lee as our Lee County, and the Fort Myers Web site has a link to the Lee County (Fla.) Web site, lee-county.com.
The key to meeting every civic goal is intentionality.
NEMS Daily Journal