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Generation shift: City to update its web presence

Wilsonville plans to switch to vendor-hosted solution


The city of Wilsonville will soon unveil a new and updated website, the first improvement of its kind in nearly eight years, according to city Information Technology Manager Holly Miller.

The city, Miller told city councilors at a March 17 work session, wants to move to its online operations to a vendor-hosted service and away from the current system, in which the city is its own Web host. In addition, the updates will improve a content management system that is nearly eight years old, while reducing the city’s costs in both maintenance and hosting.

“Anytime we’ve had to add to the system we’ve had to pay significant dollars to have updates done,” Miller said. “We started looking around at alternatives to our current self-hosted system and the main alternative is a vendor-hosted solution, where a vendor is maintaining your site with 24/7 support, which we don’t have in-house.”

This option also offers geographically diverse hosting, which helps ensure that a natural disaster doesn’t necessarily take city online services down with it.

“It will also enhance site functionality, of course,” she said. “With a vendor, you also receive ongoing upgrades and enhancements. It’s a lot more user-friendly, and it will take staff a lot less time to do the updates once it’s converted over.”

The change also includes a new website look that current users likely will find familiar, thanks to the same green banner running across the top of the new homepage. The switch to a new host and a new look is being overseen by city Web master Beth Wolf, who told councilors that a pair of entirely new sites will be a part of the mix.

One new site will belong to the city’s new parks and recreation department, the other will be dedicated to economic development and will contain information on available commercial and industrial property, maps and more.

“It mimics the city’s website a little bit,” Wolf said. “We wanted a professional, industrial feel here.”

“It’s a very informational website,” Miller added.

In addition to the city’s main site, websites belonging to the Wilsonville Public Library and the South Metro Area Transit agency also will undergo revamping.

All five new sites will feature a common layout highlighted by a nine-button menu of links in the top right corner. This will lead to the most sought-out areas of each site, as determined by Google analytics, Wolf said.

The new sites will go “soft live” next month, Miller said. In other words, they will appear without announcement, followed in May by additional advertising.

“It gives us time to work out kinks before it’s too widely out there,” she said.

The city's website can be found at ci.wilsonville.or.us.


By Josh Kulla
Assistant Editor / Photographer
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