Denver Web branding pays off

Traffic on Denver's official Web site has increased 84 percent since mid-2002, shortly after the city launched a marketing campaign to push the DenverGov.org site as the primary source of information about the city.

The Web site registered more than 2.67 million "visitor sessions" in the first six months of 2003 alone, with some 170,000 people visiting the site two or more times. The site also logged 112,356 new visitor sessions in June 2003.

The high profile branding campaign began after a study showed that the government could reap substantial benefits if Denver citizens used the site more frequently for things such as registering for activities, permit renewals and online payment of fees, said Byron West, director of Denver's Office of Television and Internet Services.

"We looked at a return-on-investment model and made assumptions on what the cost would be for fully-burdened staff people to provide these same services," she said. "We decided it would take 112 full-time people to deliver the same level of service that the Web site delivers."

DenverGov.org now registers 16,000 visitor sessions a day, compared to 1,600 shortly after the site was launched in February 1999, she said. The largest number of single day visitor sessions to the city Web site was clocked at 24,000 on May 6, Denver's municipal election day.

West has seen a similarly dramatic change in the attitude of elected officials. Denver has a brand new mayor, 10 new council members and a new auditor. "The biggest issue they all talk about is how to make it easier for people to do business with the city," she said.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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