VCVB plans new website

Published 9:50 am Monday, August 31, 2015

A new website is in the works for the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“Our number one calling card is our website. We get excellent traffic. We want to continue to have the advantage of that traffic we get from our website, and in order to do that we have to move with the times,” Bill Seratt, VCVB executive director, said.

The VCVB has decided to accept a proposal from Converse Digital to create a blueprint, through a website audit, for a new responsive design website.

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“They have done the audit and the blueprint on the Mississippi Delta site and we are moving that site to responsive design as a result of the blueprint,” Seratt said. “It’s the evolution of web marketing.”

The current website was created about five years ago and is ready to be updated to the next big thing in website design. Responsive design makes a website functional on all platforms. From desktop to mobile, the website will be easily accessible and user-friendly.

“It is a blueprint to developing our responsive design website. That means that there is one site, there’s not a mobile site and a regular site,” Seratt said.

“So much is done by scrolling with your fingers and responsive design just keeps going. You don’t click around.”

Seratt said they will also have more control over the content management of the website.

“We’re not constantly having to go in an make multiple changes on multiple platforms,” Seratt said. “You make one change and it’s out there.”

The money is already earmarked in the VCVB budget to audit and create a blueprint for the new website, which will be done through the Converse Digital contact.

Next year’s budget will included enough money for the actual website, which will take three to four months to get up and running.

“The building of the site was not budgeted for this year, just the audit and the blueprint, so we’ll be working on that in the first quarter of ’16,” Seratt said.

Converse Media’s audit and blueprint will be completed this fall.

“The cost for the entire project is $23,000. The website audit is $8,750. The complete blueprint is $14,250,” Seratt said.

The audit will catalogue the pages in a spread sheet, document all technology used on each page and find any concerns and recommendations regarding design or navigation.

The company will audit search engine optimization by looking at five competing websites and they will also audit the stakeholder websites.

“They will do a complete analysis of our inbound traffic,” Serratt said.

Target audiences, goals and technology reviews are just some of the things the VCVB will work with the company to analyze. Converse Digital will then make a draft of a purposed website with design, technology and navigation recommendations.

In the end, the VCVB will be given a blueprint showing what the responsive deign website should look like once it is created.

“It is developing a work order for the development of a responsive design site so that we can avoid any pitfalls and we can identify any technological element we want included,”Seratt said.

Another company will actually construct the website. Once the VCVB has the blueprint, they will start taking bids from design companies.

The current VCVB website is hosted by Aristotle in Little Rock, Ark. Converse Digital is based out of New Orleans.