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City and chamber collaborate on Web site

By NICK NARIGON

The City of Marengo and the Marengo Chamber of Commerce will work together to build a new Web site for the community.

Marengo City Council voted Monday, March 8, to pay a $500 start up fee to WebDataDynamics, a new Web site company from Pella, to develop a new city Web site.

The Marengo Chamber of Commerce voted Tuesday, March 9, to pay the $70 monthly fee to WebDataDynamics on a two-year contract.

“The chamber Web site we have right now is weak and terribly outdated,” said Tony Hocamp, president of the Marengo Chamber of Commerce. “The chamber Web site should have the same information as the city. This is a great opportunity for a combined effort and to have community information together in a centralized place.”

Randy Martin, the founder of WebDataDynamics, said the city and the chamber will be part of a brand new Web site development product called the Community Integrator.

Through the Community Integrator, Martin develops a template for a Web site. Martin designs the site using images and information provided by the city and chamber. He is able to develop as many pages as the city would like.

Once the site is up and running, administration of the Web site is turned over to the city and the chamber, Martin said.

“The site is already built. You put in your own information and it creates pages for you,” he said.

The administrators are able to upload information or change the Web site at any time, which is a reason why there is such a cost savings for Community Integrator, Martin said.

Most basic Web sites cost $6,000 to $8,000 to develop, he said, and if the business wants to change anything on the Web site, it usually costs $50 an hour.

For Community Integrator, the normal start up fee is $800 plus $200 for installation, he said. However, since the city is part of the launch of the product, Martin said he is giving the city a half-price discount of $500.

In addition, most Web site companies build a Web site in 12 weeks. Martin said he can custom design the city’s Web site in less than one week.

The city’s Web site can include:

• A custom design with the city’s logo, slogan, color scheme and photos.

• A community page with a photo gallery.

• Special events calendar that displays the date, time, location and description of community events.

• Quick links to area attractions and community resources.

• A business directory that includes business contact information, description, hours and photos.

Hocamp said with Community Integrator, the chamber will be able to set up a Web site page for each business that is a member of the Marengo Chamber of Commerce.

“This will allow smaller businesses to have a presence on the Web without any cost,” Hocamp said.

Marengo City Administrator Brent Nelson said the city pays $400 a year to host the current Web site, which is of lesser quality than what Community Integrator can provide.

The Web site address for the City of Marengo will still be www.marengoiowa.com, Nelson said.

UPDATED March 24, 2010 11:47 AM

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