Webster County’s new website goes live

Redesigned site is more secure, mobile-friendly

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Webster County IT Director Andy McGill shows the county’s new website Tuesday. The site just went live, and aims to put the most used features of the site where they are easiest to reach.

A new website will hopefully make it easier for citizens of Webster County to contact county departments, look up property data, pay property taxes, and renew registrations.

The new site has been cooking for about a year now, and went live officially late Monday night.

“Hopefully this is more user friendly. It’s more device friendly,” said Webster County IT Director Andy McGill.

“Our main services are on the carousel on the page — the ribbon,” said Allison Ripperger, the county’s head programmer who led the redesign project. The items there were placed according to usage or page hits, she said.

For instance, John F. Kennedy Memorial Park is the top item under the “Attractions” tab, and is one of the top things people search for information for, she said.

The new Webster County website, shown here, currently features scenes from John F. Kennedy Memorial Park as a background. It contains easy links to contact various county departments under the “How Do I” tab.

The old site has been online since around 2000 or 2002, McGill has previously said. There was a facelift in 2010, and new content is added when necessary, but it hasn’t ever been redesigned.

An advantage of the new site, Ripperger said, is that it’s not hosted in the courthouse.

“For two or three years now I’ve been talking about getting it hosted off site,” McGill said. “That’s one less thing that’s on our network that we have to open the firewall for.”

The old site ran on old equipment, and to upgrade it for a new site would have cost more than just having the site done in this way, he said.

In July 2017 the Webster County Board of Supervisors approved a contract with Revize Software Systems, of Troy, Michigan, for the website redesign for $17,400, with a $2,300 annual cost for support. This amount included a free redesign after five years.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Andy McGill pulls up his department’s page on the new Webster County website. The redesign should be much easier to use on tablets and phones.

Revize, an expert in government websites, was chosen out of three potential vendors because of its features and ease of use.

“We liked their tools,” McGill said.

Various departments can now edit their own pages directly, Ripperger said, without having to go through her.

“I did it all before. I can still help them,” she said.

Communications will also go straight to the department they’re sent to; before, Ripperger had to forward them on.

Webster County’s old website has been replaced, with the most visited links now appearing in a carousel or “ribbon” on the screen.

Under the “How do I” tab, there’s a “Contact” section, including a form for comments and concerns that can be sent to various departments.