July 20, 2007 By Reid Goldsborough
On the Web, content is king. Or should be. If you want people to visit, stick around, and come back, whether you help run a corporate or other organizational site or have put together a home-grown hobby site, give them substance to satisfy them.
The appearance of your Web site is still important, helping to establish professionalism and credibility. But the information and other substantive material you provide -- the "content" -- matter most.
Several studies have backed up this commonsense notion.
One study, from the Poynter Institute and Stanford University, showed that, unlike with newspapers and magazines, people who read Web news sites typically focus on the text first, looking at photos and other graphics afterward. People on the Internet operate in "Internet time" -- fast. They don't linger over Web pages as they would a newspaper or magazine when drinking a cup of coffee.
Another study, by Forrester Research, showed that what people value most at a Web site is "direct paths to the content I am looking for." Next was "proper labeling of menu items." After this, people most valued "great search."
People reading Web sites, for the most part, seek substance over style, usefulness over flash. They want to get want they want quickly. Here are some ways to make this happen:
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.