Last November, WordPress launched WordPress.com/cities as the one-stop solution to start a site for cities or other municipal bodies. The toolkit includes starter content that automatically create the pages most commonly needed on city websites, such as Parks & Recreation, City Hall, and Law Enforcement, and add them to the main menu. The best part? The starter level is free. Since WordPress.com has been approved as a hosting site for federal government agencies, it should comply with most government requirements.
What’s in it for WordPress?
WordPress powers one of every 6 websites on the Internet, nearly 60 million in all, with 100,000 more popping up each day. Those run through its cloud-hosted service, which lets anybody create a free website online, attract 330 million visitors who view 3.4 billion pages every month. By launching a specific service for cities, WordPress is targeting a new segment of the market, one that is well suited for the low-cost start model.
Its open source model has attracted plugin developers from around the world, and support for multiple languages or even multi-language sites is already available. As founder Matt Mullenweg reports in his 2012 review, the company and network continue to grow, and serving global taxpayers seems well within their vision, strategy and trajectory.
What’s in it for city administrators?
In our shortlist of ten trends, we identified consumerization, globalization and sourcing dynamics as three significant drivers for public sector IT. We see cloud solutions as part of the new sourcing landscape – buying in a complete package of capabilities. For less than $150 per year, a city/town/village/municipality can get a custom domain name, a terrific web site, storage space to host official documents that need to e accessed by their public and a range of other features. Ease of integration with other cloud services is a big bonus. For example, the events calendar will display all of the city’s upcoming events by just plugging in the URL of a Google or iCal calendar, and the site will be updated automatically.
The State of Missouri has a beautiful WordPress powered website that is much easier to read than the city sites mentioned previously, and was no doubt developed at a fraction of the cost. And the City of Albert Lea, which hired a local resident to design an inexpensive CMS on WordPress and saved $19,000 in the design and implementation process.
Open Source is no stranger to supporting government websites. The open source Drupal CMS is the engine behind the Whitehouse, the FCC and the U.S. Congress. We expect conurbations across the globe to embrace on the opportunity to have a non-proprietary site for their residents. Not just to cut costs, but also to improve accessibility, functionality and to stay current.
Are you a city administrator? Have you evaluated WordPress for Cities? We’d like to hear from you.
Disclosure: We are big fans of WordPress. This site runs on a multi-user installation managed by 10Degrees