West's CivicLive solutions 2018: Year in Review

2018 was a busy year for West’s CivicLive solutions. We’ve spent the past twelve months working with local governments across the United States, building new, modern websites that help governments provide the best in digital services to their constituents. Along with continuing to build award-winning websites, we’ve also expanded our content production, including more blog posts and eBooks.

Engaging on Social Media When Time is an Issue

As a local government, being active on social media is one of the best ways to build, strengthen and maintain communication with your residents, businesses and visitors. But the fast pace of social media can be difficult to keep up with, particularly if you don’t have a dedicated social media strategist. However, there are ways to engage on social media in a timely and efficient manner.

West’s CivicLive solutions: Winner of Four W3 Awards

2018 marks the 13th Annual W3 Awards and West’s CivicLive solutions is among the winners!

5 Social Media Strategies for Local Gov Engagement

Social media is an important part to operating a local government. More and more citizens are active on various social media sites, using them for entertainment, but also as a main source of news and updates, with 67% of Americans reporting that they get at least “some of their news on social media.” It’s for this reason that local governments should work towards building an active, well-planned and organized social media strategy. You might not know what strategies to use for your government’s social media sites, below, we list five you should definitely consider.

West's CivicLive Solutions Wins 3 dotCOMM Awards

West corporation is excited to announce that its CivicLive solutions has received 3 dotCOMM Awards in the Government Website category.

Rebranding 101: 10 Tips for Success

A comprehensive municipal rebrand campaign must include website modernization. In this digital era, a municipality attempting to rebrand or refresh its image with a dated website void of well-rounded digital solutions will not succeed. Modern citizens expect easy access to their government, including online access through any mobile device.

The Benefits of a Website Content Audit

One thing that is common across all websites is that they require maintenance. Even new websites require upkeep to prevent them from slowing down or being overwhelmed with pages, links and content. One of the best ways to maintain your website is to perform a yearly content audit.

3 Rookie Mistakes to Avoid in Citizen Engagement

Citizen engagement—it’s on every local government’s to-do list, that’s why it’s not hard to find information on what you should do to encourage more engagement. While knowing what you should do is important to creating an engagement plan, there are also a few simple mistakes every local government should know about because they can easily hinder engagement.

Google Analytics and the Stats that Matter

For local governments, websites play a key role in engaging with citizens, businesses and visitors. They’re the go-to source for information from updates on road closures to the best parks, restaurants and hotels your municipality has to offer. Sustaining a usable, up-to-date website involves understanding how your users interact with your website. This is where Google Analytics comes into play.

Four Tools to Make Proactive Communication with Citizens Easy

One of the biggest issues local governments battle is maintaining communication with their citizens. Luckily, the rise in digital government solutions is making community engagement easier to accomplish, as long as you have the right tools. Here are four of the best solutions you can employ for better and more proactive communication.

Mass Notification: The What, Where, Why and How

Mass notification systems (MNS) are quickly gaining in popularity among local governments. They’re the perfect solution for informing your staff, citizens and visitors of important events, calling in volunteers, seeking community feedback and most importantly, spreading the word quickly and efficiently in emergency situations.

Harnessing Social Media for Citizen Engagement

Social media can be a great tool for civic engagement if you know how to use it to its full advantage. While social sites differ in style, all of them ultimately serve the same purpose: make it easy for people everywhere to connect.

Information Architecture: What Is It?

At West, we like to think of Information Architecture (IA) as the best friend to website usability because the two go hand-in-hand. However, much debate surrounds the concept of IA, making it rather difficult to place just one definition on the term.

Best Practices: Writing for the Web

Take your content to the next level with CivicLive’s latest eBook, Best Practices: Writing for the Web.

Four Ways a Citizen Request System Can Benefit Your Community

To boost civic engagement, many local governments are looking to improve communication with their residents. One of the best ways to build better engagement is to offer residents a Citizen Request System, (CRS)—a digital solution that makes contacting and communicating with local government easy.

10 Ways You Can Improve Your Website Content Right Now

Website content—it’s just as important as navigation and usability because it’s what informs your users. It’s the reason they visit your site. While it’s vital your content is accurate and timely, it’s also important that it’s compelling and varied. You should think of your website content as needing regular care and feeding to ensure it is evolving with the needs and interests of your audience.

Staying Ahead of Staff Training Using Your Learning Management System (LMS)

A learning management system, or LMS, is a digital system used to both deliver and manage instructional content. The software makes it possible to create, edit and remove educational content while also allowing operators to manage and control how and when people access the content. When it comes to corporate use, an LMS is often used for training staff, helping to onboard new employees and building and developing critical skills through eLearning courses.

Top HTML Tags for Superior Blog Post SEO

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the process used to increase where a website lands within a search engine’s rankings in order to increase a site’s online traffic. It is comprised of many elements, including content, links, social media and, what we’ll discuss in this blog post, HTML.

The Benefits of Responsive Design

In America, mobile users spend around 84 hours a month browsing on their smartphones (that’s just under 3 hours a day.) More and more people are engaging online using mobile devices, which explains why website usability and accessibility are becoming the most important elements of web design.

Five Best Practices for Website Usability

Developing a usable website takes time, skill and organization. That’s why knowing the best practices you can employ to ensure superior usability is an important first step. Below we outline five best practices every local government website should incorporate when redesigning their website in order to offer residents the best in website usability.

Top Five Reasons Citizens Use Their City Website

Digital government is quickly become the new norm. Local governments are working to update their websites so they can offer faster, more efficient and easier access to the services that citizens need. As more governments turn their platforms into fully-functional eGov solutions, one question they often ask is, “What are citizens using our website for?” It’s a good question to ask because knowing what your audience is using your site for helps you to identify and understand their unique needs.

Build Citizen Engagement Through Social Media

Social media is known for being fun but it’s also a means of communication that enables people to connect from around the world. For a local government, social media is a great way to connect with citizens, business owners and visitors on a more personal and convenient level, in real-time.

Ten Best Practices for Creating and Maintaining a Usable Website

Provide your citizens with the best eGov experience by building a website equipped with first-rate usability.

Blogging Best Practices: Designing the Perfect Blog Post

Having a blog for your municipality is a great idea. Though it might feel time-consuming at first, maintaining a blog is a great way to highlight your city or county and communicate with your residents by providing them with timely, informative articles about their home and government.

Getting the Most Out of Your Conference Experience

Conferences are big business. So much so, there are too many to count, with new ones popping up every year. There is, however, a reason for their popularity as conferences provide attendees the opportunity to engage on an intimate level with their industry contemporaries, as well as with the vendors and experts...

Does Your Homepage Answer These Five Questions?

Your homepage is the most valuable asset your website possesses. Why? In many ways it is often the first impression a person gets about your municipality. Your website’s homepage tells residents whether or not your government has their needs in mind. A good homepage offers, at a glance, a gateway to everything a citizen may need to access a municipal service — whether it’s paying a bill, applying for a permit or finding out about local events.

The Internet of Things (IoT): What is it and Why Does it Matter?

The Internet of Things (IoT), maybe it’s a term you’ve heard bandied about at work? Perhaps you stumbled across it in an article or even heard about it on the news. Regardless, many of us have heard the term, but that doesn’t mean we necessarily know what it means, or why it’s important. And it is important. As the world becomes increasingly more connected, the Internet of Things will continue to play a bigger role in our lives: at home, at work and even within our governments.

How Consumer Brand Expectations Should Influence Citizen Interaction

The Internet and the rise of digital media make it easy for the modern citizen to connect with their government. The swiftness with which technology has evolved has left some governments playing catch-up, but as more robust, digital-friendly eGov solutions become the standard for government communication, it’s important that local governments look to evolve the way they view and interact with their constituents.

Five Best Practices for Citizen Communication in a Crisis

When an unexpected weather emergency, security advisory or a health alert hits your community, you want to be ready to communicate quickly, effectively and intelligently in order to contain the situation, limit miscommunication, and lead your citizens responsibly.

Building a Social Media Content Calendar

A strong, savvy social media presence is an important part of running a municipality. Social media makes it easy to encourage, foster and maintain clear lines of communication between governments and the communities they serve. There is a wide variety of social media platforms out there, with the most popular continuing to be Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Most municipalities should at least aim to maintain active Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Updates to Section 508—Website Accessibility: What’s Changed

Website accessibility is a major focus for every government—not only because it’s the right thing to do but also because adhering to Section 508 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the law. Every government website must be accessible, meaning they must ensure website users with disabilities (hearing/visual impairments, learning disabilities, etc.) can navigate a site with ease. Hopefully your website is up-to-date and already accessible to your diverse user set so none of this is news to you. But, perhaps you didn’t know that some major updates to Section 508 will be coming into effect on January 18, 2018.

Web Design in 2018: What’s on Trend?

2018 is officially here and with it comes new trends in web design. In 2017 we saw some significant shifts in web design including a strong focus on responsive design, frameless wireframes and a big push towards flat design. This year, web design is fluctuating in a different way, one that brings with it a uniqueness that will strongly define 2018 as a return to artistry.

Five Tips for Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Social media is no longer just a thing millennials do in their spare time. Social media and other forms of easily-consumed media have become one of the primary ways by which people are informing themselves about world events. Municipalities traditionally have not used these forms of communication, but recently they have been turning to them more frequently when connecting with their constituents. How best can you use social media to engage with, and inform your constituents?

Five Tips for Harnessing the Power of Social Media

Social media is no longer just a thing millennials do in their spare time. Social media and other forms of easily-consumed media have become one of the primary ways by which people are informing themselves about world events. Municipalities traditionally have not used these forms of communication, but recently they have been turning to them more frequently when connecting with their constituents. How best can you use social media to engage with, and inform your constituents?

CivicLive 2017: Year in Review

2017 was a busy year for the CivicLive team. Throughout the past twelve months we’ve launched websites across the country, working with governments in California, Illinois and Georgia (to name a few). During the year we’ve been working to help local governments foster better communication and citizen engagement through impeccable service, using the powerful CivicLive CMS.

The ROI on a Fully-Functional Government Website

What if there was a metric that could prove to you the monetary benefit of modernizing your site? The truth is, keeping up with web governance trends can actually save your municipality money.

Centralized Vs. Decentralized Web Publishing & Governance Models

The discussion around centralized and decentralized website content management has likely been discussed at some point within your organization. Both sides of the argument have positive aspects, as well as some detractors. Here’s the breakdown…

Common Cybersecurity Threats and What to do About Them

Cybersecurity has become a hot-button issue as of late, with October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the United States . When the 2016 US presidential campaign ended cyber security stood out as one of the core issues of the campaign. Last year the Pew Research Institute conducted a survey of 1, 040 Americans to determine their habits and opinions regarding cyber security. The survey determined that 28% of Americans lack confidence in the federal government’s ability to keep their personal information safe and secure from outside forces.

Connecting to the Modern Citizen

Connecting with today’s modern citizen is one of the most important goals for every local government. While it’s incredibly important, being successful in engaging city residents is a constant struggle. How do you encourage and maintain engagement with busy, on-the-go citizens? It might seem impossible, but it’s actually quite simple if you make connecting easier.

The Site is Live, Now What?

You’ve got long DMV lines, City Hall information phones ringing off the hook, and people reporting potholes via Twitter, making everything hard to track? Let’s look at a few simple ways to get people off-queue and online.

The Importance of A/B Testing

One thing all government websites should excel at is focusing on their constituents. A great citizen-focused website makes staying-up-to-date with city news and endeavors easier. It also makes it easier for busy, on-the-go citizens to easily find answers to their questions and successfully complete tasks like paying for bills and requesting permits. Enhancing citizen engagement through your website requires you to know what works best for your site.

Making Accessibility More Achievable

Web accessibility is a must for any government website. A variety of laws in both the United States and Canada exist, outlining rules and guidelines that must be followed. Web accessibility is important for ensuring governments can connect with all of their constituents and vice versa. Accessibility goes far beyond the law though. Making your website accessible is the fair, just and equitable thing to do. Making your site accessible is also critical for increasing your website’s reach.

Focus On What Your Audience Wants and Trim the Fat

When it comes to website management, one of the most important questions to ask is what brings visitors to your site? Obviously the answer will vary depending on your site's focus. When people go to a government website, they are most likely searching for very specific information.

The Basics Of Search Engine Optimization

If you have ever received an email or taken a phone call from a citizen who simply cannot find what they’re looking for on your site – SEO may be solution. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a marketing concept that aims at enhancing or changing how your web content is found. The “goal” of SEO isn’t to increase traffic; the goal of SEO is to match the right people to the right content. Optimizing content for search engines may help alleviate some of the frustrations users of your site may experience when looking for particular information.

Limited Resources: What Content Should I Focus On?

Municipal employees are miracle workers – Often required to move mountains with very little resources. Many communities we work with stress how limited their time and capital resources are. If you’re a municipality in this situation, how do you decide what to focus on? Where should you be focusing your time?

Government Website CMS: More Than Just A Pretty Face

You can’t put it off any longer. It’s time to update your municipality’s website and along with a fresh design, your Web Governance team wants to use a new content management system (CMS) to manage your website’s content. So can you just pick any CMS? Read more to discover the benefits of partnering with a government-website specific CMS.

Web Design 2017: What’s Coming Up and What’s Here to Stay

With 2016 almost finished, we should look to the future at some big changes that are beginning to materialize within the design community. 2016 saw a number of important changes to the world of design and user experience, and 2017 is shaping up to be no different. Here’s a look at which trends will continue to grow next year, and which will begin to fall behind.

CivicLive Honored at 2016 MarCom Awards

We are thrilled to share that three CivicLive websites have been honored at the 2016 MarCom Awards.

CivicLive Wins Two Best-in-Class Interactive Media Awards

We are pleased to announce that the CivicLive team has been awarded Best in Class by the Interactive Media Awards™ for its work on the City of Aurora and City of Sierra Madre websites.

Nine Steps for Superior Citizen Engagement

Based on CivicLive's research and experience in delivering web solutions to municipal governments, we've outlined nine steps that utilize established and emerging eGovernment technologies to build online engagement that empowers citizens and helps government staff do their jobs.

Webinar: Writing for the Web and Social Media

Join us on July 13 for a free webinar, in which we will talk you through the finer points of writing engaging content in the digital age and cover tricks on how to simplify and amplify your posts.

Bigger, Better, Plainer: Plain Writing in More Detail

Our last blog post explored language simplification, but we focused heavily on the “What” and fairly rushed through the “How” and “Why.” This time around, let’s dig a little deeper and start preparing you for your new life as a plain language writer.

Writing for a Usable Website

Content optimization is very intuitive once you start breaking it down, and even if you keep a copy of The PC is Not a Typewriter on your bedside table, a little refresher never hurts. Let’s get started.

Plain Language in Government Communications

What began in 2010 as a legal requirement for federal agencies has now become the accepted best practice for all government communication. You too can master the art of plain (clear) communication with our step-by-step process outlined in the article.

Webinar: Building Usable Websites

A website is only as good as the user experience it offers. But how do you know whether your website is designed for optimal user experience or not? Find out in our webinar on Wednesday, Jan 27 at 1pm ET.

CivicLive Wins Five 2015 Marcom Awards

CivicLive is delighted to announce it has earned five prestigious awards in the Marcom Awards 2015 Competition, including two Platinum Awards, two Gold Awards, and one Honorable Mention

CivicLive Wins 2015 W3 Gold and Silver Awards

CivicLive, a leading website provider for local government agencies, has earned two W3 Awards for website design and development for the cities of Sierra Madre (Gold Award) and North Little Rock (Silver award).

Six Must-Haves for Every Citizen-Focused Website

A list of six features all government websites should have.

Enhancing Citizen Experience Through Your Website

CivicLive Blog - Enhancing Citizen Experience Through Your Website

Five Signs You Need a New Website

A guide to the indicators that your municipality needs a new website.

The ROI On A Modern, Fully-Functional Government Website

Go beyond the numbers: the ROI of saved time and energy

The ROI On A Modern, Fully-Functional Government Website

In this e-book, we take you beyond the traditional concept of ROI, and demonstrate the different ways you can calculate the return on your investment a new, modern website can provide.
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