The Lowell Project – Planning the Website
Although the Lowell.com development project is beyond the stage of preliminary planning, I wanted to take a step back and give an overview of the project plan and outline.
In order to become useful to Lowell, Massachusetts residents and visitors, Lowell.com must provide a valuable service to encourage visitors to return to the site. To give our advertisers a reason to advertise, we will need to increase our traffic naturally via search engine optimization, so people who don’t know about our website will easily find us. We currently rank low in the search engines, although this is better than when we weren’t listed at all just a few weeks ago. Lowell.com receives anywhere from 50-125 visitors per day, with most of the traffic coming via direct navigation, so we are in a good position at this stage.
Lowell.com will have detailed information about the city’s attractions. From museums and parks to neighborhoods and sports teams, Lowell.com will have unique information about all of Lowell’s attractions. Instead of lifting content from various websites, we have writers researching and writing specifically for this website. This is very important to our organic growth, and we plan to continue to build, adding more content and information. As we grow, we expect to earn higher rankings in the search engines, and we will hopefully be at the top of the list for searches such as “Lowell restaurants,” “Lowell hotels,” “Lowell lawyers“… etc, as well as many other niches.
Lowell.com will also have a large directory for people who need to find businesses in the Lowell area. We will provide free listings for almost every type of business in the city. The listings will be in an easy to use format, so our visitors will find what they need, and hopefully bookmark us for future use. If someone from out of town is planning a wedding in Lowell, they can use Lowell.com to find a wedding chapel, photographer, band, bakery, caterer…etc. Instead of having to look around at various websites, everything can be found at Lowell.com
To better serve both the business community and visitors, business owners will be allowed to enhance their listings for free. While almost all businesses in Lowell will be listed and categorized at no charge, the basic listing will only include a phone number and address. To add more value for all parties, we will allow business owners to add a paragraph or two about their business, a map to their business, and photographs that can entice consumers to call, all at no added cost to them.
To generate revenue to keep the website financially secure, we will offer businesses the opportunity to pay for category header banners, which will move their listing to the top of the category. Businesses in categories with much competition (such as law) will greatly benefit by moving to the top of the category with a banner ad. We will also offer home page banners to give these advertisers the most exposure. Category and home page advertisers will have their banners rotated throughout the non-profit pages, to give them added exposure throughout the site.
The ultimate goal of the website is to provide an aesthetically pleasing site that is easy to use and informative. As the website matures, more information will become available, giving added value to advertisers and visitors. Our mission is to be the most useful source of information for Lowell residents and visitors.
***UPDATED BY ELLIOT***
Just as an FYI, the current site looks absolutely nothing like how the final website will look. I am keeping the current site up (which came along with the domain name) in order to avoid de-listing in search engines that could possibly occur if I take it down.
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