1. Identify the target audience and niches inside it
Every government action, either we are talking about laws, policies, or in this case, an information based portal, should be initiated with the focus on those that will become directly affected by it. Identifying the target audience will further highlight the specific requirements and possible shortcomings of the future action. A correct anticipation of the public’s reaction towards the launching of the new portal can help improve it right from the blueprint. The targeted audience can be further divided in categories (niches) with even more specific demands regarding the project.
2. Build a strategy
When you target results on the long term you have to act according to a strategy. The first step, after you have identified your audience is to try and understand this audience needs and furthermore separate the real needs from those that have an apparent structure. The next step and probably the most important, involves creating a multi-level “bridge” between the authorities and the targeted public. Accessible and reliable ways of communication encourage the public to trust the information based portal and use its resources. A well-tuned mass communication strategy, together with associating a brand to the project will make it more visually appealing.
3. Choose the platform
The first thing to be taken in account when choosing the platform that will host government portals is information security and user confidentiality. High security systems are mandatory and any vulnerability should be eliminated from the configuration, with trust being the main coordinate of any relation between authorities and the public. The chosen content management platform will not only support flexibility in adopting wide area of requirements, but also adhere to government portal guidelines and policies.
4. Gauge the traffic volume and provide availability
Every website and especially those that target a large public should be developed based on the maximum generated traffic. The hardware configuration needs to support that traffic and also allow further developments of the system. HealthCare.gov is a health insurance exchange website operated under the United States Federal Government, designed to serve the residents of the thirty-six U.S. states that opted not to create their own state exchanges. After being launched in October 2013, the website had encountered serious problems and is still regarded as a troubled project.
5. Strong analytics
Behind every successful website are very well orchestrated analytic techniques. You have to know exactly who is searching for the site, who is visiting it, how much time every user spends browsing inside the site, how well is the site indexed by search engines. You have to extract statistic information based on browsing patterns (demographic parameters like age, gender) in order to enhance in the future user experience and discoverability. Every long term strategy should be made in order to quickly adapt to the public demands and at the same time to educate those demands. An information based portal, an environment that provides government communication, is less susceptible to behave according to the less enjoyable laws of internet marketing and will attract constant traffic solely by providing information and support.
6. Fast response plan
The lack of accessibility features is common amongst newly launched portals and for the public this is something unacceptable. The team behind the project should have an emergency plan for exactly that kind of situation and others alike that may arise along the way. The response needs to be fast and effective in order to avoid putting the website in maintenance mode.
7. Reaching out
In order to gain visibility, the portal needs to reach out and interconnect with other high traffic government sites or business sites that operate in the same industry or a related one. The portal should be promoted in both printed press and online media, while communication agencies could formulate and execute a complete plan of bringing the site in the public’s attention.
8. Future roadmap
Every launched project should be envisioned for a long term use. The constant development of technologies and evolution of the Internet will render as obsolete some solutions that now look perfectly functional. The portal needs to evolve and go beyond its initial goal in order to remain in the public’s attention and use.
In order to implement a successful public facing system, the government needs to address all concerns and look at the future project from all possible angles. Such a portal will not be just static information, but more like a dynamic reflection of public concerns.