What makes a good small town website?

A chalk board with local farm and community announcements on it.

The original community bulletin board site. Photo by Becky McCray.

Because we rural people like to stay connected, local community websites are common projects. But how do you make a good one?

That’s what your fellow reader Sean wants to know:

I am looking into creating a web site for our small town. My goal is to have a central place to highlight the local business, have a central calendar of events and other related news and information. I was wondering if you could recommend an existing platform or examples of other successful small town web sites.

Best Regards,
Sean Sekora

Do you know of a great small town website? I just ran across this good-looking site, The Winterset Citizen by Julie Freirer.

Do you have ideas of what you’d like to see, if your town had a community site? How do you make it pay for itself? Please, share your thoughts in the comments, or by hitting reply if you’re reading this in your email.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for this post!

    I started my site, finditinfondren.com, three years ago about the arts district of Jackson, Mississippi, as a way to connect readers to the people, places and events of the neighborhood. While we have morphed over time from a visitor guide to more of a magazine format (and we do publish a quarterly magazine), we still maintain the charm of Fondren by providing a hyper local “good news” and information based site.

  2. says

    A couple of readers replied by email:

    From Oklahoma:
    I use the Google calendar imbedded on our website. I set up a specific Google email account not linked to anything else and have distributed that and the password to some of the people in town that are in charge of lots of activities. For example, the library staff, the secretary for the Masons, etc. That way, they can update the calendar with their events and I won’t be inundated with added tasks for other organizations’ events. Anything that they add is automatically propagated into the community calendar on our website. Also, if anyone else wants to put that same calendar on their website, I encourage them to do so. The more people that find it, the more useful it becomes. My biggest challenge has been getting the community in the habit of notifying me that something needs to be added to the calendar. I plan to create an email distribution list of the people that are most involved in creating events in our community and then I can send out periodic reminders to let me know if they have things to add.

    Mary Larson
    Administrative Director
    Watonga Chamber of Commerce
    http://www.watongachamber.com

    From Missouri:
    http://www.cubamomurals.com is our website, which is connected to our Facebook page. It is run by volunteers of the Viva Cuba Community Betterment/Beautification group. Good photos are important as is a sense of history and place. It needs to go beyond just an events page and should show a town that you would like to visit and do business in.

    Jane Reed

    • Raymond Seth says

      Instead of distributing the account passwords for your google account to work on this calendar you should just share you calendar with others. They can create there own google accounts and when you share you can specify who has rights to edit or add things to the calender. This way You also know who actually posted the event to the calendar. You have more control over the calendar this way.

  3. says

    We’re working with the myhigh.st team to develop a high street centric view of the town, giving the small independent shops a low cost, low risk way to sell online, while selling the town together. By forming a community we’re also improving digital skills and sharing experiences. We’ve just launched the new look and feel at http://cromer.myhigh.st/

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