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New county website in the works

Nick Leonard. Courtesy photo.

The county government website is up for renewal in 2018, and on Jan. 9 the five-person county board of commissioners approved a contract for new web design with Alexandria-based CYBERsprout.

"They build websites that are accessible and user friendly," said Nick Leonard, Otter Tail County Director of Communications and External Relations, who addressed county board members.

"A person's ability to efficiently find information by accessing the county website is a top priority."

CYBERsprout, as a highly respected company, performs services for not only web design but also analytics and search engine optimization.

"We listened to county residents and completed a comprehensive website analysis," said Leonard.

New website development in conjunction with CYBERsprout representatives will begin in February.

Training is scheduled for March, application and updates will take place in April, and the transfer to a new platform and brand design application will take place in May and June.

"Review and testing for our new county website will take place in July and August," said Leonard. "Citizen involvement will continue through the process."

CYBERsprout has a mission to help entities such as Otter Tail County create websites that establish credibility, empower those who log onto the website and provide solid functionality.

For that reason, the county board, Leonard and other county employees feel that CYBERsprout will have a county resident's perspective in mind as the Alexandria company assists in the creation and implementation of the county's new website.

Leonard has worked with various focus groups and website professionals to ensure that the new county website is citizen focused.

The county board, working with Leonard and other department heads, has identified strengths in Otter Tail County as geography, economic diversification, water resources, family living, agriculture, tourism and higher education.

"We've really begun focusing on what we call rural rebound," said Leonard. "People in the age group from the late 20s to the early 40s are rebounding to Otter Tail County."

He said the new county website will focus on addressing ease in access to information.

"County residents will have an additional platform to engage in county services," said Leonard.

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