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County's best weaves way on to Web site

Sunday, November 27, 2005

(Photo)
Pposter promoting Scott County's Web site
BENTON -- Do you know the best place in Scott County for holiday gift shopping?

Scott County Developer Joel Evans is looking for your input for "Scott County's Best," a new feature on the Scott County Web site.

"This interactive survey allows viewers to help give those who are doing a good job the recognition they deserve," Evans said.

The idea for the Web site's newest feature came to Evans during a recent family outing.

"With three little boys, drive-through food is often the easiest option for Saturday lunch. A few weeks ago we joined my in-laws at Sikeston's Cream Castle and I commented, 'These are the best onion rings in Scott County,'" he recalled. "My wife Amy suggested that it might be interesting to have an interactive 'best of' on the Web site. The in-laws and the boys agreed and from that the Best of Scott County was born."

"I was just trying to think of ways to up the Web site usage," Mrs. Evans said. "I just think it's a good way to recognize businesses in the county and to direct people to the Web site that might not otherwise go there."

Those who visit the county Web site's home page and follow the "Scott County's Best" link will now find a form to fill in their choice for the county's best in 10 categories from best burger to the best view in the county.

Responses are anonymously forwarded to the Office of County Development where the data will be collected. "Results from this unscientific survey will be posted to the Web site in early January," Evans said.

At the bottom of the form is an e-mail link requesting category ideas for the next Scott County's Best survey slated for early next year.

Evans said the 'best of' lists will probably continue to appear in groups of 10 to keep the time to participate short and fun.

How often questions will be rotated will be determined after Evans has a chance to see what kind of response the feature gets, but he hopes to do it at least two times per year. "Maybe more than that, but at least twice a year," Evans said.

Added features is just one of several strategies being used to bring more viewers to the site.

"To increase awareness of the Web site we're doing a mailer," Evans said. "We're sending out 10,000 postcards with the Web address and some real brief information about what's available on the Web site. We're also doing 1,000 posters and 1,000 mousepads. That's all paid for through money that was allocated through a (U.S. Department of Agriculture) Rural Development grant."

October 2004 was the first month for the Web site. Unlike many Web sites that are launched with the best of intentions but neglected soon after their initial design, the county's Web site is better than ever after its first year, Evans said.

"We're on target to have the highest usage month ever this month," Evans said. "It is up over 1,100 percent over last November."

Evans said the goal for the Web site was twofold. It was intended to provide the infrastructure to open new lines of communication between residents of Scott County and its departments and offices as well as providing a tool to market the county to businesses interested in opening, relocating or expanding here.

Marketing funds available through the grant will also be used to put up new welcome signs with the Web address on Interstate 55 at the north and south borders of the county, Evans said.

"The Web site includes a community calendar and 'county happening' news sections which change weekly, so if you haven't visited the Web site, stop by," he said. "If you have, come back and see what's new."


On the Net: http://www.scottcountymo.com