County Ponders Website Redesign

(Gillette, Wyo.) A request from a Campbell County resident has the commission rethinking how the county could utilize its website to be more accessible and provide better information.

Josh McGrath, real estate agent with ERA Priority Real Estate, came before the commission Tuesday during its regular meeting to discuss how the county could improve its website to better promote the area’s amenities.

McGrath explained to the commission as a real estate agent, he’s often one of the first contacts for people looking to relocate to the area. No matter how attractive the house, if the buyers don’t like where they’re moving, they’re going to pass.

And he said questions about the area’s amenities are at the top of the list of information they request.

“Real estate agents are not just selling the house. They’re selling the community,” McGrath said, speaking after the meeting.

And they’re looking for this information online. McGrath told the commission, according to the National Association of Realtors, 91 percent of prospective home buyers start looking for houses online.

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But when McGrath sends a client links to the county’s facility information, there isn’t a lot of good information available, much less many photos showing what the facilities look like.

Considering the cost of the facilities, McGrath said, it’s doing a disservice to them if there’s not a lot of information available online.

Commissioner Mark Christensen agreed the county is not pursuing its web presence the way it should. He said promotion falls a lot to the Chamber of Commerce, and the commission’s job is to create and maintain the facilities.

“At the same time, I think we can do a better job,” Christensen said.

Ivy McGowan, communications coordinator for the county, said as a government entity, there isn’t always a clear guideline as to what is official communications and what veers into promotional work.

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McGrath said his concern isn’t really about promotion of the facilities but making the information accessible and available to those who are looking for it.

He said the difficulty finding information makes the website “cumbersome” and increases the chance people won’t bother learning about what the area has to offer, which is some really nice facilities.

“Parts of [the county website] are hard to navigate,” Christensen agreed. “We have to organize it like people think and not like government thinks.”

The commissioners were amenable to McGrath’s suggestions and will continue exploring the possibility of a site redesign in the future.

Outliers Creative, LLC, the publisher of County 17, is owned by The MC Family of Companies, LLC, a company owned by Commissioner Mark Christensen.

Originally from New Mexico, Killough began his career writing freelance for a weekly magazine in Albuquerque while completing his undergraduate degree. In addition to reporting on uranium mining in western New Mexico, he spent three years reporting in western North Dakota during the height of the oil boom. He can be reached at kevin@county17.com or 701-641-6603.