I’m going to jump out of my little bubble for a minute here and offer some constructive criticism to YKcity.ca as the creator has been asking for some but didn’t give many options in the survey. I think the idea of the site is an excellent one and Yellowknife needs more online information portals such as this. I wishing the creator the best of luck and hope he succeeds with the site.
*Disclaimer: I am in no way a professional and am only saying what is on my mind. I am not to be taken seriously in any way unless of course you want to. Then you might just be as weird as I am.
First I want to talk about the theme. The theme of a website is very important, it is what your visitors will see first. So that being the case you want it to be easy to look at which it is for YkCity.ca. What I think the downfall is, is the theme of the site does incorporate the city of Yellowknife at all. At first a theme was used that had a picture in the header of a city and I thought great all you need to do is use a photo of Yellowknife’s city skyline and crop it in there, but then the theme changed. Having a picture of Yellowknife, its colours, or something iconic to the City would make the site look more authentic and professional. As this is not just a personal blog I would also suggest looking into premium wordpress themes. There are many great developers out there that make them and although they cost around $70 it would be worth it. Many of these themes are better suited for SEO and come with access to the developers support forum where you can find many tutorials on how to customize the theme to your liking as well as answer any question you may have.
The next thing most people look at upon arriving at a site is the title and what is on the front page. Looking at the title there isn’t much I can suggest about it. It states the name of the site and gives you a short idea of what the site is about. Simple and Sweat. What I would suggest doing is adding a introduction or description paragraph underneath the header and navigation bar, ideally where your most recent post is currently. I think it would be beneficial to the site when new comers arrive. Depending on where they have arrived from they may not know what the site is about, this introduction paragraph would be a great place to give them a brief summary of what the site is and what it can be used for. You could even make the front page a static page and give a more detailed introduction to the site but on the other hand you could use the posts on the front page to your advantage. Yes I realize that today’s events are located in the sidebar but it might also be worth having a daily post with the days events on it. Some of the advantages could be that event details could be more detailed and easier to read rather then the small pop up boxes they currently show up in. Have a daily post of the days events can also be a bonus for those like me who use Feed Readers. This way people could check the daily events while they are checking the rest of their feeds and wouldn’t have to navigate to the site each day. You could also set up your feed so visitors could subscribe via e-mail, that way the daily events show up in there inbox making it easy to read while check the rest of their mail. Have a daily post can seem like a lot of work if it can not be automated so a weekly post might be better suited if that is the case.
When it come to maintaining the site I can only hope you have help. That’s not to say one person can’t do it on their own but it takes a lot of stress away if you have someone to fall back on. Things can happen unexpectedly and prevent us from being able to do things such as updating the site. Once you gain a large following, where people are depending on you it is important that you are able to keep up with them. To take some stress off you and decrease your work load for you site ask a couple people to help you out. You could still be the one who controls the site but if you had someone out in the community constantly keeping an eye out for events and gathering info, and then another who wrote up the event description. You would be able to quickly add them to the site with out any hassle. Little things that friends can do, and don’t mind doing. When people see the benefits to the site you could think about setting up a page where your visitors can submit their own events or ones they have heard about around town, again taking some of the work load off of you.
On to the Event Calender which happens to be the same one I use for one of the sites I maintain. The issue I have found on this site as well as my own is the calender font is very small and when highlighted in its different colours can be hard to read for some. So if at all possible making the font should be considered as well as making the calender the full page width. This mean removing the sidebar. The only thing you have in the sidebar that people can see when on the calender page is today’s events and upcoming events so I would strongly recommend removing it so that the calender can be larger which has today’s and upcoming events on it already.
My finally suggestion as I have now gone on way to long is Twitter, of course. Twitter is currently the in thing so having an account for the website would be a great marketing tool. Have a tweet created when a new event is added to the calender or when a post with the daily or weekly events is published. The Twitter community of Yellowknife is growing and I have said it several times already Twitter is a great way to get heard, so businesses should be signing up and at least giving it a try.
I hope some of these suggestion are helpful.