10 Essentials for Building a Great Municipal Website

City of Oconto Falls Website screenshot

Businesses aren’t the only entities that want a top-notch internet presence. Municipalities do, also. One important aspect of a municipality’s digital presence is its website. That’s where a city, village, or town can promote its brand in words and images.

Role of a Municipal Website

A municipal website performs multiple government-related roles:

  1. Provide names and contact information of municipal leaders and department officials
  2. Publish municipal meeting agendas and minutes as an additional way to comply with public notice laws
  3. Inform residents of elections and polling information
  4. List information about services like trash and leaf pick-up
  5. Post municipal ordinances regarding snow removal, parking, pets, etc.
  6. Post job openings, descriptions and application forms

A municipal website also performs multiple community-building roles:

  1. Show prospective residents a slice of life
  2. Highlight places of interest like parks and beaches
  3. Attract business and industry with economic development information like available property and funding resources
  4. Showcase events like a citywide rummage sale or concert series

Leveraging Social Media

To expand the reach of a municipal website, many municipalities publish a Facebook feed on their website. Others link their websites to their social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Maintaining ADA Compliance

The overarching role of a website is to share information with visitors in a way that’s easy to find and understand for everyone, including people who are blind or use assistive technology. Thus, municipal websites are required to comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Just like ramps for wheelchairs, websites need to prevent barriers to accessibility for those with disabilities. Individuals who are blind or use assistive technology need to be able comprehend the information on a municipal website. Fortunately, accessible design does not necessarily mean the price of a website skyrockets. ADA elements like color contrast and behind-the-scenes coding can be built into websites to maintain compliance.

Updating a Website with the Latest News

An easy-to-update website is a must for municipalities because of all the meeting agendas, public notices, minutes, and other information they post on a regular basis. A content management system like WordPress makes posting quick and intuitive. If a municipal official is familiar with Microsoft Word, it is likely to be easy to transition to WordPress. For website clients who need an introduction or refresher, the Packerland Websites team offers complimentary training, plus video and written tutorials.

Presenting a Municipality at Its Best

Lastly, a municipal website needs to be built by a professional who pulls together design, navigation, hosting, and security. To see these elements in action, view our portfolio of municipal websites.

3 Key Elements of Every Municipal Website

  1. Fast-loading with reliable up-time, reducing frustration and wait time for website editors and visitors
  2. Easy-to-navigate, funneling visitors quickly and easily to the webpages they want to view
  3. Attractive-looking design, building a brand image that represents the municipality in its best light

Contact Packerland Websites

Every municipality needs a website, but government officials often lack the time, skills, and technology to create their own website. Packerland Websites partners with municipal leaders to design and manage websites that make you proud of where you live, work, and govern. If the website of your city, village or town is ready for a tune-up or complete rebuild, contact Packerland Websites.

Are You Missing Out on Easy Sales? The Benefits of E-commerce

workers in warehouse packaging for e-commerce shipment

By Miranda Schlise-Gomez, Web Developer, Packerland Websites

Gone are the days when people walked into a brick-and-mortar store looking for their favorite type of sneakers, fishing gear, or sporting goods. According to Fit Small Business statistics, 80% of U.S. consumers shopped online. Folks are shopping online for everything now. E-commerce, as it’s commonly called, is the buying and selling of goods and services online. If you have a business that sells anything, you should be selling online on your website. The marketing benefits of online sales are tremendous.

Utilizing e-commerce to its fullest potential

Now that you’ve got an online store, are you harnessing the power of e-commerce? It’s not enough to just be able to sell your products and services online, you want your e-commerce business to work for you. Utilizing e-commerce can mean many different things depending on what you’re looking for in your business. For instance, would you like to give your repeat customers something like a special gift for returning? Discount codes are a great way to do that! You can send out an email blast with a special discount code just to those customers. In turn, you’ll create lifetime customers.

Boost sales & marketing capabilities

The capabilities of your e-commerce store can be simple or complex, but either way, they can be tailored to fit your particular needs. Some the options include:

  • Product variations (size, color, custom engraving, etc.)
  • Sell on social media with Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more
  • POS system integrations with Square and other similar systems
  • Gift cards
  • Discount codes and automatic discounts
  • Shipping integration with UPS, USPS, and others
  • Automatic tax calculations
  • Inventory management and tracking
  • Email marketing
  • Integrations with Google Ads and Google analytics for advertising and tracking customer traffic

Just to mention a few.

Let us create e-commerce that works for you!

At Packerland Websites we want to help you take your business to the next level with an e-commerce solution that works for you. Take the next step into the future, and watch your sales soar!

Marinette Web Design: Packerland Websites Teams Up With Bay Cities

Green Bay website developer Packerland Websites and Marinette-based Bay Cities MultiMedia Center are teaming up. Marinette and Menominee-area businesses and nonprofits now have two marketing companies working for their success.

“We’re excited to begin this business relationship with Packerland Websites. It gives our clients an integrated approach to marketing across multiple channels. Digital marketing and radio advertising complement one another. Both build brand awareness and convey a brand’s personality. Packerland Websites offers our clients the benefits of working with a dynamic and experienced website designer and marketing professional.”

Chris Bernier, Bay Cities MultiMedia President and CEO

Marinette Radio Station to Provide Marketing Services

Bay Cities appeals to a broad range of listeners. Its five radio stations keep listeners entertained and up to date.

  • Cat Country 95.1 FM (WLST)
  • The Rock 96.3 FM (WSFQ)
  • Classic Hits 103.7 FM (WHYB)
  • News Talk Radio 1340 AM (WAGN)
  • Sports Radio 570 AM (WMAM)

With the new partnership, Bay Cities MultiMedia Center will continue to manage clients’ websites. Additionally, Bay Cities will provide marketing products and services that create awareness, drive traffic, and generate conversions. Packerland Websites will provide website maintenance, cybersecurity, and hosting to keep websites functioning at peak performance 24/7/365. Plus, Packerland Websites will build or rebuild any new websites for Bay Cities clients.

“Every business needs a website, but many organizations lack the staff, know-how, and time to develop their own digital marketing strategies. That’s where we step in. Our team designs effective websites and SEO strategies that lead to results. Businesses gain, and nonprofits prosper.”

Bill Koehne, Packerland Websites Owner

Marinette’s Newest Website Design Company

Packerland Websites’ four full-time developers – all with degrees in website development – currently manage over 500 websites. Each website is uniquely designed as an effective online tool, not just a brochure on the internet. In addition to website design, Packerland Websites specializes in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), geofence marketing, content writing, and app development.

“We’re looking forward to combining marketing and SEO strategies, both on and off the website pages, to help clients meet their goals.”

Bill Koehne, Packerland Websites owner

Packerland Websites Opens Marinette Office

To better serve clients in Marinette and Menominee, Packerland Websites opened an office. The office is inside Bay Cities MultiMedia, 844 Pierce Ave., Marinette. Packerland Websites also has offices in Green Bay and Abrams. To take your brand to the next level, contact Bay Cities MultiMedia at 715-735-0225 or Packerland Websites at 920-826-5901. To view a portfolio of commercial, municipal, and nonprofit websites built by Packerland Websites, visit PackerlandWebsites.com.

Cybersecurity: Protecting Websites & Easing Worries

cybersecurity strategies

By Noah Roberts, Web Developer, Packerland Websites

Unfortunately, small businesses are top targets for cyberattacks. Our clients need websites to be up and running 24/7/365. Any disruptions can result in a loss of business and reputation. Fortunately, the Packerland Websites’ team takes cybersecurity seriously. We implement the latest security measures to protect clients’ websites from hacking and cyberattacks.

Website Back-ups Stored on Off-Site Servers

First, we run full backups of the site monthly and then weekly incremental backups in between. Essentially, if something changes on the website in between the full monthly backups, the weekly back-ups save the data. The backup websites are stored off site in a secure location. This ensures that we have an up-to-date, accurate snapshot of the website stored in a secure place. Additionally, we have the ability to implement daily backups, if requested. Some of our most complex and high-traffic websites prefer daily back-ups for cybersecurity.

Webpage Restoration After a Cyberattack

Second, if something happens to the website, it’s typically a seamless process to get the site restored from those backups. In most cases, it takes just a matter of minutes. When a client notifies us of a cyberattack, we restore a previous version in short order. However, if the website is down due to a server issue, we would have to wait for response from our server partners. Good news! Our server partners guarantee a 99.9% uptime, so downtime is extremely rare. Our server partners quickly resolve any issues, and we have confidence in their response time. 

Expired Domain Names Require Attention

Third, let’s look at another issue that affects uptime. If a website goes down due to an expired domain, we would need to get the domain issue sorted out before the site could be restored. The time it takes to resolve this issue affects how quickly we can get the website back up. The client might have to renew the domain if it has expired and make sure it is properly secured for the future. Domains can be registered by Packerland Websites or in a client’s domain registrar. When renewing a domain name, be aware of Domain Names Scams.

Cybersecurity Tools & Personnel

When a website goes down because of a malicious attack, Packerland Website has the cybersecurity tools and personnel to bring the webpage back online. Cybersecurity measures are built into every website we design, giving clients confidence and peace of mind. For secure, effective, and dynamic websites that help you achieve your goals, contact us today.

What are UI & UX? Design a Website Like a Professional

By Mike McGraw, Web Developer, Packerland Websites

Designing a website takes time, thought, and effort. There are so many ways to create designs and so many thought processes that go into creating them. As a website developer at Packerland Websites, I know that UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience) go hand in hand. When creating a website, I have to find a nice combination of each to make a perfect layout. To offer a simple comparison, UI is how good the car looks, while UX is how good you feel driving it! Let’s take a closer look at UI and UX. 

UI – User Interface

UI (User Interface) is based on things like font size, colors, and the placement of sections on a webpage. When thinking about UI, I mainly focus on what parts of the website should have certain colors or bigger sections to stand out more. If you have a section or topic on the website that you would like to highlight, you wouldn’t just keep it a simple paragraph. Instead, you would design it as a banner image, call to action section, or highlight it with some nice-looking icons or animations. By doing so, you invite users to interact with the website. By focusing on UI, developers create webpages that look attractive and orderly for viewers. The pages present a consistent brand message with the same colors, fonts, and look from page to page.

UX – User Experience 

On the other hand, UX (User Experience) affects the overall functionality of the website for users. When designing a website, I think about the client’s goals and create a website that achieves these goals. I also find ways to make the website easier for visitors to use. 

Key UX Website Features:

  • Easy to navigate, so users know how to find what they’re looking for
  • Mobile-friendly design that resizes to fit the user’s device
  • Different elements to keep sections visually distinct and easy to read

The Role of Website Analytics 

Unlike UI, UX doesn’t end after the design is complete. UX is always looking at the analytics of a site to get feedback and improve it even more. Since UX and UI are so closely related, it’s hard to tell where one ends and another one begins. UI is just one part of the four main steps of UX. The four steps of UX are Researching, Brainstorming, Implementation, and Reporting. UI designing mainly occurs during the Implementation step. With any good website, upgrades are ongoing. Thus, the website always gets better and better for its end users. 

Websites That Look Cool & Work Well

There are so many factors that go into making a website. By focusing on UI and UX, users benefit. The website not only looks cool, it’s also enjoyable to use. Contact us to get started on a website build or rebuild that integrates UI and UX.

Why WordPress for Websites? If it’s good enough for the White House…

WordPress powers millions of websites worldwide. It powers everything from small blogs to multi-million-dollar companies. Even the White House (https://www.whitehouse.gov/) runs on WordPress. In fact, it’s so popular that WordPress powers 43% of websites on the internet. So, what does that tell you about this stylish, fast, and flexible content management system? WordPress is the only platform we use to build websites. The platform offers neat, efficient design templates that our developers customize to fit each client.

Why Build Websites on WordPress?

Here is why Packerland Websites recommends WordPress for website building:

  • Numerous plugins available for custom design & functionality

  • Secure, to avert hacking and cyberattacks

  • Easy for the owner to maintain and update

  • Mobile friendly

  • Google friendly

  • WordPress is taught to students obtaining website development degrees in colleges nationwide

One-to-one Training Included in Website Build

Packerland Websites wants to empower its clients. Therefore, we offer complimentary training. We introduce editors to the features and functions of their new WordPress website as a content management system. Editors learn to update and maintain their new website. Our goal is to give clients the tools they need to embrace website management as a quick, easy task. Continuing training is included with a website build, to keep clients up-to-speed if they forget something or transition to a new editor. Bottom line, we help clients manage their content easier, with less stress.

WordPress Works for Techies & Non-techies

Packerland Websites clients easily adapt to the WordPress content management system because of its intuitive features for adding or changing text, photos, and graphics. Anyone familiar with Microsoft Word will find it easy to transition to the WordPress Editor. There’s no need to be familiar with coding or programming.

Update Easily with WordPress tutorials

Packerland Websites created custom online, video, and written tutorials for editors and volunteers. Advantages of our WordPress tutorials:

WordPress tutorial by Packerland Websites
  • Include quick tips and step-by-step instructions demonstrated with words and images

  • Help editors feel more comfortable managing their website

  • Are specifically written to match the way we build websites, instead of being generic WordPress guides

  • Shortens editors’ learning curve

  • Swiftly guides editors through updates, giving them more time to work on other things

Get the WordPress Help You Need

If the editor hits a roadblock, the Packerland Websites team is ready to assist. For assistance, clients can submit a support ticket, call/email the Packerland Website office, or chat with a developer via chatbot on the Packerland Website’s website. Help managing your WordPress website is at your fingertips!

Contact Packerland Websites

For assistance developing a WordPress website as a powerful marketing tool, contact us today. Packerland Websites creates websites that convert leads into sales, so businesses prosper.

How It’s Built Matters: 8 Website Building Essentials

The team of Packerland Websites enjoy a break from website building.

So, you want to bring your dream website to life. When choosing a website building company, not only do you want a great value but also a functional, professional-looking website. With so many website builders to choose from, finding the right partner isn’t always an easy decision. At Packerland Websites, we know the ins and outs of website development. Thus, clients get a great-looking, user-friendly website they are proud to show off. To meet our clients’ objectives, we design websites with these eight important elements.

Navigation

Packerland Websites creates a clear, intuitive path for visitors to follow. We focus on the User Interface (UI) – how visitors interact with a website. We take traffic where you want it to go.

Responsive, mobile-friendly design

Packerland Websites builds websites on the WordPress platform, which automatically resizes for different devices for easy viewing and interaction. Visitors can touch, scroll, and tap to interact with the website because the site is built on a responsive platform.

Concepts of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA)

Packerland Websites incorporates elements from Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is part of a series of web accessibility guidelines published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium, the main international standards organization for the internet. In addition to IDEA concepts, Packerland Websites incorporates elements that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Optimized with SEO best practices

Packerland Websites includes a wide range of SEO techniques in its website design. To inspire Google to recommend the website to your target audience, we incorporate the following on-site SEO techniques:

  • Unique text – We recommend 250-400 words per page. Our team provides professionally written content as requested.
  • Keywords – We use the appropriate keyword density, based on keywords a potential visitor would type when searching for your type of business
  • Optimized website elements – We add tags, page titles, page descriptions and other behind-the-scenes SEO elements
  • Blog/news articles – We offer blogging services. Blogs add keywords and new text to a website, increasing the opportunity to appear in search results

Additionally, we incorporate the following off-site SEO techniques:

  • Claim your Google My Business profile
  • Optimize your Google My Business profile with accurate information, photos, reviews
  • Submit the business’ name, address, and phone number to online directories like Yelp, Bing, MapQuest
  • Generate incoming links to your website from outside sources like videos you post on YouTube, which is owned by Google.

Social Media Integration

Packerland Websites integrates social media channels into the design. News and information can be easily carried to social media from the website. In turn, social media drives traffic back to the website.

Applicable Content Imported

Packerland Websites developed techniques to quickly and efficiently import content from the current website to a new website.

Ecommerce Solutions

Packerland Websites has built over 20 ecommerce solutions for clients, and has a platform that is far superior to Shopify. Our platform hosts the store on independent, high-security servers. Aside from the added layers of security, the store’s speed, performance, and options are better than Shopify’s. The store is easy to manage, especially with the one-to-one training that Packerland Websites provides.
The ecommerce system we recommend offers a built-in merchant system for security and convenience. Additional ecommerce benefits:

  • Accepts multiple payment types including PayPal, Square, Stripe, and more
  • Includes automatic shipping options and calculations
  • Calculates taxes automatically
  • Includes desirable marketing features like “If you like this, you may also like…”
  • Enables users to control inventory
  • Gathers customer information to be used in future communications
  • Allows for options with price modifiers. An example is a T-shirt in five colors and five sizes. This is still only one product with 25 options. The seller can charge different prices for varying sizes.

Style Guidelines

Packerland Websites manages over 500 websites, each with its own style guidelines. Our team collaborates with clients to follow the appropriate graphic standards and guidelines.

Website Building for Your Dream Website

With over 11 years of experience building websites and 500 clients, Packerland Websites has the capability to accomplish our clients’ objectives. We have the talent, time, and operational structures to accommodate their needs. Packerland Websites establishes the design, functionality, and features that our clients request to bring their dream websites to life. Visit our Portfolio to see examples of our work. To learn about the parts of a website, read more.

Websites: The Swiss Army Knife of Marketing

Websites are swiss army knife of marketing

A website is more than just a brochure on the internet. Way more! Think of a website as a marketing multi-tool. You know, like the handy-dandy multi-tool that’s a screwdriver, box cutter, spork, and hex wrench all-in-one. Your website should be the Swiss Army Knife of marketing. A website is a fantastically useful tool.

Employee magnet

A well-designed website is a kick-butt recruitment tool, giving recruits a reason to choose you. Companies can demonstrate their amazing company culture with graphics, photos, articles, and videos. Easy-to-follow page navigation leads to online applications. Job descriptions are posted in real time and managed with just a few clicks of the mouse. As employees join the organization, production increases – and the website pays for itself.

Telephone operator

That tiny telephone icon is a big, powerful tool on a website. Communication doesn’t get much simpler than this! Customers tap the one-touch phone icon on your Home page, and your phone starts ringing. A well-designed website resizes for smart phones, so viewers can easily navigate the site and read webpages. Then, with a quick tap of the phone icon, they’re talking to you. This could be the start of a beautiful, profitable relationship.

Beacon

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) lights the way for customers to find you. SEO is the process of making your website show up on search engine listings like Google. You might have the greatest product in the world, but without exposure, your product just sits on the shelf. Today’s consumers look for everything online. So, help them find their way to you with powerful SEO embedded in your website.

Welcome mat

Roll out the welcome mat to your doorstep! Invite your online viewers to visit your location in person. Websites are a terrific complement to brick-and-mortar businesses. To help consumers find you, display your street address prominently and publish a map showing your locations.

Cash register

Online shopping is booming, especially since COVID-19 shifted demand from in-person shopping to ecommerce. Ecommerce stores provide flexibility, affordability, visibility, and security for sellers. The beauty of an ecommerce website is its third-party payment system. Sales transactions are fully integrated into the website and offer the same level of security of a bank.

Encyclopedia

A website represents your brand 24/7. The images, videos, and text tell your story, and more importantly, tell the story of your clients. By putting your clients in the center of the story, you place them in the hero role. Once you get their attention, they’ll want to know more about you and the solutions you provide. Like an encyclopedia, a website provides critical information to your audience.

Your Website is a Medley of Marketing Features

Gee whiz! Who knew there was so much going on with a website? Like the surprising capabilities of a multi-tool, a website is a medley of marketing features. While a website won’t loosen a screw or slice through a tomato, a well-developed website will lead its audience to act. Website visitors will call, stop in, request a quote, or purchase a product online. Now that’s a handy-dandy way to grow a business.

Free Internet Health Checkup

Ready to create your own magic multi-tool of marketing? Get started with a FREE internet health check up (normally a $199 value). The Packerland Websites team will review and make recommendations regarding your website, SEO, directory listings, and Google account. To schedule an internet health checkup, email Team@PackerlandWebsites.com and type “Checkup” in the subject line.

Human-Powered Chat is Sales Funnel

humane powered chat

Customer relations are as complex as ever, because clients have so many platforms to communicate with a business. Sometimes, business owners aren’t eager to communicate. They turn off their phones, ignore emails and messages, and shut down the office for a well-deserved break. Thankfully, websites never take a break. Websites don’t sleep, and they don’t take snow days. Neither do chat bots. A well-designed website with a chat bot is like having an extra employee on the team. This employee works an amazing 24/7/365.

Chatbot generates leads

A chatbot is a marketing tool that acts as a funnel on a website. Packerland Websites added a chatbot to its website in June 2020, and we receive chat messages every week. Actually, some of those messages resulted in website sales. A lot of people prefer to type in a quick message instead of making a phone call or filling out a contact form. As a lead-generation tool, the chatbot is a success for us.

Chatbot options for websites

Our developers manage the chatbot, so they’re on one end of the conversation. We love this communications feature so much that we provide chatbot plugins to clients. For clients who don’t have the time, interest, or personnel to manage a chatbot, we have another chat marketing tool that funnels visitors to a desired action.

Human-powered chat service

We recently started working with Juvo Leads, a company that promises at least 35% more leads from your existing website traffic. Juvo Leads does this through a human-powered chat answering service. They’ve agreed to give our clients discounted rates as well as a free, 30-day trial.

Free 30-day trial

If you’re interested in a free 30-day trial, let us know and we can get it set up for you. The cost after the trial (if you choose to continue) is $28 per qualified lead. (You define what is a qualified lead.) If you like the idea of getting more leads and only paying for the qualified ones, this is a great chance to try it free for 30 days. The 30-day trial gives you time to determine if the human-powered chat service can become a sales funnel for your business.
If interested, just contact the Juvo Leads team for a no-obligation consultation.

Should Businesses Stop Posting on Facebook?

Facebook marketing

Having second thoughts about social media marketing? The whistleblower’s testimony on Capitol Hill may have you reevaluating Facebook as a marketing tool. If you missed the news flash, here’s the super-simplified version. Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified that Facebook values profits over safety. She said that the social media platform made choices that allow hateful, polarizing content on its site. Facebook denied the accusations, saying it continues to balance the right for people to express themselves while keeping Facebook safe and positive. Overall, the testimony painted an unsavory picture of the ubiquitous social media company.

Should We Continue Facebook Marketing?

Does the whistleblower testimony mean that companies should stop posting on Facebook? Plus, what about Instagram and YouTube? Facebook owns these platforms, too. Despite the brouhaha, the answer is no. Granted, these social media networks should be carefully monitored for misconduct. We’re right to question their integrity.

Despite its defects, Facebook continues to be an effective way to connect with customers. Companies build their brand by engaging with their audience online. Organizations that spent time and resources to attract a following on social media would be unwise to throw it all away. However, social media marketing shouldn’t rank as the be-all and end-all of a marketing plan.

Who Controls Facebook & Social Media?

Customers who solely rely on social media run the risk of putting all of their eggs in one basket. What happens, if for some reason beyond their control, the basket flips. Realistically, what control does a small business have over social media platforms? In comparison, what control does a small business have over its own website? Hopefully, you see the difference.

Who Controls My Website?

Businesses typically own their own websites. A website is company property. Thus, company executives control the brand message and how it’s presented. Additionally, a website is an organization’s No. 1 salesperson working 24/7. Facebook is chock-full of distractions, and company posts oftentimes go unnoticed. However, a business website is a single-focus, streamlined marketing tool. Websites educate the audience and inspire the audience to take action. A call to action, for example, might be “Contact us,” “Schedule a consultation,” or “Request a quote.”

What’s the Best Marketing Strategy?

When determining a marketing strategy, organizations should rank their websites higher than social media. Marketing materials and brand messaging should direct people to a company website, not Facebook, YouTube or Instagram. While directing customers to social media pages is an important marketing strategy, it shouldn’t be the main goal. Instead, a business website is the No. 1 place to send clients.

For assistance developing a website as a powerful marketing tool, contact us today. Packerland Websites creates websites that convert leads into sales, so businesses prosper.