Here in Bristol, Connecticut, it’s hard to imagine that spring is just around the corner with our recent snowfall. Just because the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil says it’s going to be a shorter winter season, there are no guarantees. What is certain is that spring is a time to renew energy and spirit so that’s why we want you to know about the many changes that are occurring on our Bristol Development Authority (BDA) digital and social media sites. If this is your first visit to the Bristol All Heart website in a while…you probably already noticed some changes. Driven by feedback on our social media sites from residents, business owners, and leaders, we have made some significant improvements.
Navigation: This is one of the most critical elements to ensure a website is viewer friendly. Now, you can either scroll to get your information or click tabs on the top navigation bar to move around the site. Our goal has always been for visitors coming to the site to be able to find what they are looking for in three “clicks” or less.
Key Features: Most people visit Bristol All Heart because they want to know where to go and what to do in Bristol. We’ve made that as easy as possible now so upon entering the site you will instantly see a pop-up weekly calendar on our home page. You can scroll down to see events that happen every weekday and even peek into next week. Secondly, we want to show off our City’s businesses and attractions. Each season, we will rotate the home photos to match the season but also keep the site lively and interesting.
New Additions: The primary audiences for our website are current residents and business owners. But many times, new residents and businesses that are considering moving here want to know about incentives available to relocate and to understand the business climate. Now, there is a tab for just this purpose located at the top far right of the home page. Prospective new neighbors and business owners can click on that tab and get wonderful information on how to take advantage of City incentives, demographic information on Bristol, and much more. Also, to make it easier for the media to do their stories about Bristol, a new exclusive site for the working press is now active. It includes all current press releases, hi-res photos, and contact information for key City leaders for interviews.
Behind The Curtain: The BDA is charged with serving the community and bringing new business to the City. Prospective business owners primarily use search engines to gather information before they relocate. That means it is critical to our success to be listed as close as possible to the top of the first page of search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a mix of knowing the search engine algorithms, configuring the best technology to direct “spiders” and “bots” that the engines use to search information thus maximizing our chances of achieving high placement. We are aggressively addressing our SEO opportunities and making progress but it is a slow process. Other important but invisible adjustments we have made is using technology to enable the site to load faster, add user-friendly navigation features, and utilize the BDA’s social media channels so visitors can find information about what they want, how they want it, and when they want it.
Social Media: Social media is no longer a fad for residents and especially businesses. Many people now use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to get their daily news, conduct research, and keep in touch with family and friends. The BDA manages three Facebook pages and has accounts on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These accounts are updated daily and contain valuable information about the place we call home. We encourage you to click the icons on the right of the home page and join the conversation about what is happening around our City.
Bristol is a city of hidden treasures supported by a deep love of small town family values. I have talked to dozens of residents and business owners in the past few weeks and the recurring theme is “community pride.” And why not? With so many towns struggling with a myriad of issues, Bristol has an abundance of outstanding restaurants, small businesses of all types and especially unique attractions that honor our heritage and add to the enjoyment to our everyday lives. All of this is embodied by our logo. Bristol pride is all around us and powered by strong heart.
Our next blog will highlight some of the great businesses that call Bristol home. In March, we highlight an exclusive program called StartUp Bristol. As the flowers bloom in the next few weeks, our goal is to continue to make you proud of our City and our heart.
Mark Thomas is the Marketing and Public Relations Specialist for the Bristol Development Authority. The Bristol Development Authority (BDA) works to improve the physical, economic, and social environment of the Bristol community by serving as the primary governmental organization dedicated to promoting commercial development, to preserving and improving the City’s housing stock, and to securing and administering the resources required to carry out these goals. The BDA is overseen by an appointed nine-member Board of Commissioners which governs economic and community development policies for the City.