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The Top Economic Development Websites for Cities for all Populations

We’ve built a few economic development sites for areas in North Carolina and we’ve been able to see firsthand how important the website can be for the area. By creating an online presence, an economic development team can drastically expand the reach of its efforts and share a mass amount of information with interested people and businesses.

After doing an extensive search of cities across the U.S. the following cities have really nailed what an economic development website should be. All of these websites capture the essence of their city while also relating important information to potential businesses and residents.

I began the search by selecting the top five most populous cities in each state and the capital if it wasn’t included in the top five. I then compared economic development websites across population size. When it comes to economic development websites, the size of a city shouldn’t deter a team from creating a great site. Each of the cities noted in this post comes from a different population set, with the exception of Indianapolis and San Francisco – which are relatively the same size.

As another criteria, I also researched which cities were experiencing recent job growth, and cross-examined this list with the list of websites I created from my population search. Four of the websites in this group have experienced recent job and business growth, while others were close to the cut-off line. It must also be noted that while not all of these sites are limited to economic development, these sites make development the main focus and provide the most information in that area. In all, the following cities should serve as an example of what an economic development website should be. So, in no order, here are the cities.

Houston http://www.houston.org/

Population: 2 million

Houston is a huge city, but its economic development website remains easy to navigate and provides important information in an effective way. The interactive map is a great tool, giving visitors the ability to explore the Houston area and learn more about the culture, education, technology, energy, and healthcare in each county.

San Francisco http://www.sfced.org/

Population: 808, 976

The homepage of the San Fran website doesn’t bombard visitors with information, but rather displays an amazing image of the city and the bay. Simple, the website is far from being an understatement. Each page relates city facts and statistics and a different image of the city. The search bar and quick links stand out on each page and make navigating the site easy.

Indianapolis http://www.developindy.com/

Population:  798,832

The Develop Indy site stands out in more ways than one. The images of the city are bright and engaging and the design incorporates small details such as the “Jobs Created/Jobs Retained” counter and the “See How Indianapolis Ranks” gives visitors an idea of how the city compares to other cities. The website also provides an extensive search engine for property listings in the area and allows professionals to post their property needs for real estate agents.

Virginia Beach http://www.yesvirginiabeach.com

Population:  430,000

As the largest city in Virginia, Virginia Beach has a lot to offer and its website shares all of it. The homepage has a main media rotation that shares different areas in the city and surrounding area. The homepage also encourages visitors to engage with the various multimedia on the site including their extensive property search, virtual visit, and commercials.

Anchoragehttp://www.aedcweb.com

Population: 279,243

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation does a great job of keeping their site up to date and packed full of information that highlights the city. The “Fast Facts” sections provides quick bits of information for visitors first beginning to explore the area while the “About Anchorage” section goes more in depth about the opportunities the city provides to work and live.

Lansing http://edc.cityoflansingmi.com/

Population: 119,128

The website for Lansing Economic Development immediately engages visitors with a variety of multimedia. The site highlights video testimonials from business owners in the area and rotates through featured projects that are occurring throughout the city. The website emphasizes the city’s economic incentives for developing a business in the area and the amount of jobs that have been created recently. The website also features an area devoted solely to college students coming to Michigan State and the opportunities they can look for within the city.

Annapolis http://www.ci.annapolis.md.us/

Population: 35,838

Technically, this website isn’t devoted solely to economic development, however it provides the information that businesses and residents would look for when considering relocation. The site captures the small town feel with a distinct colonial-nautical theme. The main media rotation as well as the recent events rotation engages visitors and encourages them to learn more about the city. The business section shares important information about the city including forms, permits, and licenses.  Overall, for a relatively small city, the Annapolis website entices people and businesses to learn more.

These websites represent a wide array of populations and provide solid examples of what should be included on economic development websites. Do you know of an economic development site that wasn’t mentioned on this list that deserves to be? Is there other information that economic development websites should provide that aren’t on these sites?

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