To link or not to link is the question when it comes to the City of Prince Rupert’s web page.
At last week’s city council meeting, Chief Financial Officer Dan Rodin reported that staff would like to develop a web page policy.
For almost 15 years the City has had a website that has been redesigned several times, but mostly on an ad hoc basis, never with formal input.
“There may have been an informal working group in the early stages, but what’s happened is that a number of organizations have approached council asking for website space and there’s some question as to the value of that to the City’s website,” Rodin told council.
He suggested when the City puts links on its website to other websites, there’s a very good chance that people will leave the City’s web page and never come back.
“Then there’s the problem of the aesthetics of the website with it becoming cluttered with links. Sometimes these requests can be problematic so the thought was to come to council and ask what you expect to see on the website,” Rodin said.
In a letter from IT Manager Marko Kessler that Rodin shared with council, Kessler indicated his department has also been receiving requests from small commercial ventures requesting various advertising. Various non-profit organizations have also approached council and asked to be put on the front page.
“Even though we are able to accommodate these requests, the front page is getting quite cluttered with these requests and we are asking for some clarification on what should be allowed on the front page, and what is not acceptable,” Kessler said.
Presently there are links to nine major city partners on the website, such as CityWest, the Chamber of Commerce, and Maher Terminals, plus a listing of non-profit organizations, with contact numbers, but no links to websites
According to Kessler, simple links do not take much time to put up, but more and more graphics are being included and those do take up space.
Councillor Anna Ashley was the only councillor to comment on the report. Her priority would be to post emergency links on the web page to give people updated information.
“From a municipal standpoint, I would like to see a page that had those emergency links,” Ashley added.
Mayor Jack Mussallem said he felt it was a question of posting information that is pertinent and timely, versus competing with media outlets that are trying to make a living.
All members of council voted in favour of tasking staff with developing a policy. Rodin said the policy would hopefully be a one-pager.