Staunton Parks and Recreation REVOLUTION Wins State Award!

The Virginia Parks and Recreation Society recognizes Staunton Parks and Recreation's new website as the The Best Promotional Effort in Electronic Media

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"Revolution" Landing Page

STAUNTON, VA (09/20/2011)(readMedia)-- The Staunton Parks and Recreation Department won the Virginia state award for it's website "The Revolution".In official URL language the name is The easiest way to Google the website is to type "Staunton Revolution 2.0? into the search engine.

Before we quote the information from the entry nomination, we want to thank Cheyenne Crawford, the JMU intern that we refer to in the write-up for her design.

On the landing page (see attachment) of The Revolution Website, the photos rotate through about 10 different pictures on the left hand side of the page. The focus of the page is the on-line interactive page flipping brochure. We also featured upcoming events and our Recreation 3.0 Campaign. The website carried our "recent news" which was a direct link to our department press releases via readMedia. Visually appealing menu choices provided a portal into subdivisions of the Staunton Parks and Recreation Department. The widget bar promoted our Web 2.0 interactive sites and a way to get to know us better.

The Staunton Parks and Recreation webpage located on the City of Staunton website was cluttered and unappealing. Google Analytics was installed to study the metrics of the City page to determine number of visits to the page and time spent on the page. The results were unimpressive. We at the Staunton Parks and Recreation Department felt held back from becoming a marketing rock star because we were confined to the content management restrictions of Plone. We had awesome content but we did not have the means to present it well. Knowing that first impressions were everything, we had to do something about this cluttered, stagnant monologue first impression that was not us. Cluttered, stagnant monologue is not how we roll.

We needed a website that was an accurate depiction of our creative forces. Something that was organized and visually appealing, where the visitor could easily find what they wanted. We needed a platform that we could develop, update and improve regularly. It needed to feature our strengths and accomplishments in real-time without running it through the IT Department for approval. A clear understanding of marketing tools at the disposal of the parks and recreation department, and aligning decisions that greatly affect the parks and recreation department's ability to sell programs, trips and leagues was of utmost importance. Enter Cheyenne Crawford, a graphics design intern from James Madison University. We discussed the drawbacks of the City website and formulated a clear purpose and ideas for visual appeal and easy use on the new website. We talked about potential URL's, website keywords and descriptions. This brainstorm session took place in May of 2010 before the "Revolution 2.0" began in the Middle East and North Africa in January-February of 2011. Interestingly enough, we were following George Ure's Peoplenomics website and Cliff High's Predictive Linguistics. We chose the term "revolution" based on those influences. We chose the descriptor 2.0 based on our Google Alerts subscription to Web 2.0. We were unable to have a number in the URL, per Go Daddy rules, thus we stuck with We settled and used the term Revolution 2.0 in the description of the website. The website naming was prophetic in its own right.

We were receiving Google Alerts for Tim O'Reilly's Web 2.0 and following Hub Spot so we knew that the website needed to be the star of the show. It needed to be the place all other forms of marketing both 1.0 and 2.0 drove our potential customers with the goal of closing the deal. Essentially, closing the deal meant motivating the website visitor to register for a class, league or trip thus monetizing our 2.0 effort. We also wanted the website to provide a way for the community to interact and engage with local government this would generate more of a dialogue versus a static informative monologue like the City webpage. We interlinked and integrated all of our Web 2.0 tools and gave the website a grand kick off. We promoted the website launch via a blog (The Method to our Madness), a press release, and coverage in the departmental brochure. The blog post The Metamorphosis of an Internet Website is one the first blog posts we ever wrote and it is still the single most read blog post on The Method to our Madness blog. Attached, please find the Google Analytics comparison of time spent of website for the City's page and The Revolution site.

When marketing, the single most important metric of a website is the Average Time Spent on Page. As you can see the newly designed Revolution webpage blew the City page out of the water as far as the time a visitor spent browsing and interacting on the webpage. Between August 1, 2010 and October 15 of 2010, an average of 5 minutes was spent on the revolution website while only 53 seconds was spent on the City webpage. The point of making a great first impression was established and the Revolution website is now official.

This nomination was submitted by Jennifer Jones, Superintendent of Recreation.

To find us quickly on Google, type any of these relative expressions into your search engine; parks and recreation + "parks and recreation blog" [:parksandrecreation/.*] [:staunton/.*]