Importance of a State Portal like Helloakwaibom!
The benefits of a well-designed modern State portals like Helloakwaibom are numerous. Among these are: Increased traffic for other sites in the State. There is a popular myth that a successful State portal is a “problem” because it may take traffic from other established sites in the State.
Anecdotal reports suggest just the opposite. A good State portal, by its nature, drives more traffic to other sites in the State that the portal links to. So there is no reason for the managers of established sites to oppose a State portal effort. In fact, they should support one, as it will likely increase traffic for them.
One way this works (increased traffic for other sites) is by using RSS feeds. The State portal, by centralizing local RSS feeds from other sites in the State, makes it easier for residents and visitors to find out what is going throughout the State; the RSS feeds increase traffic at the sites that publish an RSS feed. Your important State sites (e.g. Chamber of Commerce, tourism site, local government site) do publish RSS feeds, don’t they?
A good State portal, with other sites in the State pointing to it, makes it easier to find the State on the Web. The State portal has the potential to score higher in the search engine ratings because of it’s broader and inclusive approach to State information. Search engine rankings and the location of the State in the rankings is especially important for tourism efforts and for businesspeople who may need to travel to the State.
The State portal is a recruitment tool for families and Knowledge Economy workers, business owners, and entrepreneurs who want small town quality of life. All of these potential residents are using the Web to research places to live. The State portal can be a valuable asset in attracting Knowledge Economy families (often with six figure incomes), or it can be a strong negative (if your State site is years old, out of date, and dusty from lack of use). The State portal is a critical part of any economic development effort. The portal is more than a listing of local State groups and meetings; it is a vital part of your economic development toolkit to project an image of a dynamic and “connected” State that has a savvy, tech-ready workforce and an informed citizenry. Businesses wants to move to communities that are comfortable with technology and that are clearly making modest investments to stay current.
The State portal markets the State broadly across a wide variety of interests. The portal has a dual purpose. One purpose is to inform residents and businesses within the State about current activities, groups, and commerce. But the second, equally important activity is to let others, from outside the State, learn more about the State itself. As a marketing tool, the State portal becomes an important part of tourism efforts, a way to get travelers and visitors to stop and spend money on lodging and meals, to market local businesses to customers outside the State, and to project a modern and vibrant image to the world. The State portal is the way the rest of the world sees your State. So if you want your State to be seen as vibrant, attractive, and great place to live and to work, then the portal Web site must be of the highest quality to project that image.
A feature-rich State portal with multiple ways to inform State members about what is happening in the State (e.g. State calendar, discussion forums, RSS feeds, blogs, automated reminders, etc.) has the potential to increase civic participation. Formal and informal studies in Blacksburg, Virginia and in other communities with active State portals indicate that when residents have the right information at the right time, they tend to get more involved in the life of the State. In other words, they are more inclined to get out of the house and attend State meetings and to take part in State and civic activities.
The State portal is also a tool for workforce development. With features like blogs for all users and the ability to distribute posting privileges, many people in the State have the opportunity to acquire new skills by using the State portal as an interactive, hands-on learning tool. As residents acquire these skills, their marketability in the workplace increases and the State becomes more attractive to relocating businesses as well as to businesses already in the State.
The State portal project can become an ongoing technology resource for the State at large, constantly reviewing new Internet-based services like RSS news feeds, blogging, Voice over IP telephony, and other developments. The portal can provide evaluations, links, and resources on the site itself to help residents and businesses in the State make informed decisions. As part of the training and education component of the effort, short courses and seminars can be offered on topics of interest to the State. This regular and constant focus both on education and innovation continually increases the capacity of the State to make appropriate technology and telecommunications investments to address a wide variety of public and private needs.
Finally, the State portal project can save money. By becoming a valuable technology resource in the State, residents, local businesses, and local government, over time, should spend less on technology and get more value for the funds that are expended. As an example, the State portal can help raise State awareness about the value of bandwidth aggregation. As more and more bandwidth users in the State use that information to pool buying needs, the State benefits directly by having more funds available for core needs and objectives. Indirectly, increased investments, especially by businesses on the core business rather than on overhead, will, over time, lead to increased economic development, new job opportunities, and a State that is vibrant, livable, and prosperous.