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Marion's city Web site drawing plenty of interest

BY JOHN D. HOMAN, The Southern
Friday, August 8, 2008 11:16 PM CDT
MARION - City administrator Gail West said this week she's not surprised that Marion's new Web site is drawing a great deal of attention since it was created in May, but she concedes that she never expected 10,000-plus hits in that time period.

"The more we embrace new technology, the more we can do for the city," West said. "I'm very happy with the success we're having on this Web site. Not only are people looking at our Web page, but (they) are also linking from our page to other sites here in Marion, particularly commercial sites."

West said the whole idea of creating a Web site for the city was to make the community more accessible to business and industry leaders.

"Developers are doing a lot of their research on the Web," she said. "That's why it's helpful to them to have a listing of available land and commercial properties for sale. And that's where our Realtors come into play."

Web designer Terance Henry said it's not only Southern Illinoisans and businessmen from within the United States who are perusing the Web site but people from all over the world.

Henry pointed to hits from residents in Japan, Australia, Canada, Germany, England, Iraq and China as examples of international appeal.

"The city council agenda is a popular link, for example," he said. "Whether it's soldiers, missionaries or whomever, people seem to be interested in keeping up with city news, and others might be interested in learning about what certain towns' topics of interest are."

The city council recently signed off on the purchase of some new computer hardware that will soon allow Monday night meetings to be broadcast over the Web.

Mayor Bob Butler admitted that he never imagined a worldwide audience.

"No, that part is surprising," he said. "I'm not a bit surprised the city's Web site has become popular, but having that many other countries taking an interest in Marion is interesting."

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