CVB launches revamped VisitingNorthfield.com site to mixed reviews

CVB-site-sshot The Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has a newly revamped website for VisitingNorthfield.com.  At first glance, there’s a lot to like.  A second glance, however, makes me grumpy.  But I’ll save my critique (mixed reviews) for the comment thread.  What’s your reaction? (Full disclosure: 1) I was asked to bid on the project and I declined; 2) several of my photos were used for the site with my permission.)

20 Comments

  1. We are very interested in all of your comments on the new website. Please comment here and I will bring it up at the next CVB meeting

    February 10, 2009
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  2. Glad to see the Northfield Entertainment Guide link since Calendar of Events is cursory. No LoGroNo link must be what is making Griff grumpy?
    I did wonder why “Northfield’s new year begins with autumn” was the focus of the main page. We are so over autumn and winter, too, for that matter!
    Hayes, what do you think of the history section? I wondered about saying “It would later be called a text-book James-Younger bank robbery” since the raid was not a success AND there were indications a couple of the robbers may have had so little regard for Northfield that they hoisted a few brews before the robbery (not a textbook sort of thing to do). Gustafson was mentioned here. Of course, one could also ask why Nicholas Gustafson did not clear the street when he heard the gunshots, even if he did not understand English…No need to get into that here!

    February 10, 2009
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  3. Susan,

    I did wonder about the autumn reference. I will ask Kathy about that.

    I like the history section, mainly because I wrote it, but I am open for suggestions. I used the term text-book because of the tactics they were using, the 3-2-3 format.

    You are right we do not need to get into the Gustafson issue here, that is another debate, that I am not ready for.

    February 10, 2009
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  4. Britt Ackerman said:

    The autumn reference is very bizarre, I agree. Otherwise, I think the page is a huge improvement. Except I think the photos are kind of crappy.
    –just kidding griff–

    February 10, 2009
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  5. Arlen Malecha said:

    As a Realtor I would like to see another button added at the top of the page labeled “Move Here” with a link to the local real estate websites.

    It’s no secret that once people visit here, they can’t help but fall in love and want to move here.

    The site looks great. Kudos to the CVB and those who built the site.

    February 10, 2009
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  6. Griff Wigley said:

    On the Links page which states at the top “Below is a list of additional web sites that may help in planning your visit to Northfield, Minnesota”:

    I don’t mind that LG isn’t listed. Really! We’re more for those who live here, not those who want to visit.

    My problems on the link page are:

    The Nfld News is listed, but not those other media orgs, KYMN and Northfield.org.

    The Minnesota Historical Society would not seem to be helpful in planning a visit to Northfield, whereas the vibrancy of the downtown that’s conveyed by the NDDC site/blog would be.

    I’m biased on those 3 sites, I know!

    More criticism to come. 😉

    February 10, 2009
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  7. Jane McWilliams said:

    This is lots more attractive and user friendly. I have a feeling the format is from some template – not a big problem, but it isn’t terribly imaginative.

    Hayes, glad to know you had a hand in the history section but the photo of vintage cars in front of the Scriver building next to the text about 19 century events is a bit confusing!

    February 10, 2009
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  8. Hayes, now that I know you wrote the history section, I do want to compliment it, of course! My only problem was with the term “textbook robbery” and I do not know what 3-2-3 format means! Otherwise, no complaints.

    February 10, 2009
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  9. David Ludescher said:

    Griff: CVB launches … to “mixed reviews”? What mixed reviews?

    February 11, 2009
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  10. David, perhaps the title about mixed reviews referred to Griff. Griff’s own review was mixed—there was “a lot to like” and it also made him grumpy. He said there was more to come in the comment thread.
    He had good points to make about web sites that were left out, with “more criticism to come.”
    Now, what did you like, Griff?

    February 11, 2009
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  11. Ken Wedding said:

    I may be the only person in the Western world without a huge monitor, but only about 85% of the opening page is visible on my computer.

    I read over a dozen online news sources a day and do considerable research, and few web sites I visit are presented in this way.

    February 11, 2009
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  12. Jerry Bilek said:

    Ken,

    that seems odd. I just shrunk my browser window down to the exact size of the content, I removed the brick on both sides. it’s only 10 inches across. Maybe the problem is your browser, I’m no techy, but the site is not too large in my opnion.

    February 11, 2009
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  13. Jerry Bilek said:

    I have not spent too much time looking at the site, but so far I like what I see. A little tweaking might be useful. It should be updated and changed regularly. More photos would be great. maybe a slide show.

    the chamber gets prominent placement, but not the NDDC? I agree with Arlen, people who are considering moving here could use this site. A moving to Northfield tab could be useful with links to real estate companies and our local construction companies as well as the school district website.

    February 11, 2009
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  14. Griff Wigley said:

    David, my mixed reviews!

    I see problems with the calendar.
    http://visitingnorthfield.com/events.html

    Why is there a link to the Northfield News home page there? There’s no calendar/listing of events on the newspaper’s home page. It should be linked to the paper’s calendar page:
    http://northfieldnews.com/mod/comcal/index.php?event_cat_id=1

    There should be a link to Northfield.org, either the home page or the event page at http://northfield.org/event/

    There should be an RSS feed for the CVB calendar so that A) potential visitors can subscribe to it; and B) other community websites and other regional tourism-related websites can aggregate the feed in their sites’ sidebars.

    Likewise, the CVB could be aggregating the event/calendar RSS feed from N.org and the NEG on its sidebar.

    This is very much a 1999/non-Web 2.0 approach to doing events: labor intensive, stand-alone, no data-sharing.

    February 11, 2009
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  15. Jerry Bilek said:

    Griff’s advice about data sharing and linking is correct. this builds site traffic and increases your readership. In addition to RSS feeds, you could allow people to enter their email and get regular updates. some people, like myself, who don’t use RSS feeds prefer email updates. I’m reading a blogging book right now that describes how to do this effectively.

    February 11, 2009
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  16. Griff Wigley said:

    I don’t like it that site is completely devoid of any real people: no names, no identifiable faces of any living Northfielders, no person to contact.

    It’s the neutron bomb approach to website construction: kill all living creatures because otherwise you have to keep updating the pages, deal with issues on who gets featured and who doesn’t, etc etc.

    Which is one of the reasons why a blog is so helpful. You can still have all the gorgeous static pages (and they are well-done, IMHO) but you breathe live into the site with a blog that’s ever-changing and dynamic and full of PEOPLE photos and links and audio and video and slideshows.

    Instead, staff time is going to be devoted to manually updating a lousy calendar and editing the info and links to area businesses and organizations. The latter is necessary but that won’t give the site the PEOPLE juice it needs.

    February 11, 2009
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  17. Griff Wigley said:

    Hayes, will you give us an update here if there are any further CVB discussions related to this website?

    February 21, 2009
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  18. Griff,

    To be honest. We have not had any conversations about the website. Our CVB meeting was moved to March 4. At that meeting we will discuss the website.

    February 23, 2009
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  19. Griff Wigley said:

    Yay! I hope the Northfield Historical Society responds to the RFP.

    KYMN News story on last night’s City Council meeting:

    CVB calling for RFP’s

    The council authorized city staff to send out an RFP for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Solicitations will go out immediately to businesses, individuals or organizations interested in providing the service. The council wants to see those proposals by February 10th. The Northfield Chamber of Commerce had been in charge of the Bureau since 1987. Council will most likely offer the term for CVB at 2 to 5 years with an option of first refusal.

    December 14, 2011
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