Heather Graves, Largo's Site Manager, Explains Savings in the New Setup
by Leo Coughlin
LARGO - Residents who use the Internet to connect to the city's Web site have found, in recent weeks, a new format.
As is the case with such things, the first experience with something that has changed brings some frustration. It seems part of human nature to recoil from change, even when change is beneficial.
And in the case of Largo's Web site, the change is beneficial.
Heather Graves, the city's communications and marketing manager, who is in charge of such things for the city, recently laid out the changes and the reasons for them.
She pointed out that although everything might have seemed fine and dandy on the site with the former format, that was not the case behind the scenes.
Graves said that the old site was actually managed by a third party vendor. This had a very clear downside
"We had access to change a few sections like news, agenda, events, but the vast majority of pages could be changed only by the vendor," Graves said.
So when changes were desired, she said, each department head would have to notify her so that she could outline detailed instructions, e-mail that information on how to make corrections, wait for the vendor to make the changes and send them back for approval and then implement them. Very cumbersome.
Graves said the average time to accomplish changes using the method took one or two days, and required a lot of work. Sometimes, in busier days, it took a week or longer.
Other than the time factor, the city was being charged $100 an hour for each change, billed in 15-minute segments. "That meant that correcting a simple typographical error cost the city at least $25 and an hour in staff time," Graves said.
She explained that the new Web site uses a "content management system." With this, each department can make its own changes directly into the Web site. The advantages in time and expense are obvious.
Graves pointed out that the startup and design costs for the new site were paid for with grant funds and the maintenance costs remain level.
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