Port Web Sites

The digital landscape for regional economic develop efforts is changing. Examples: ToledoRegion.com is focusing on talent attraction. RGP has new sites for international investment and national site consultants. The Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce has new branding.

Good to see more investment in digital tools and channels to support economic development efforts.

In anticipation of changes for another major player, The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, I spent some time on their various sites (ToledoPortAuthority.org, ToledoExpress.com, ToledoSeaport.org, TourThePort.com) and started decomposing what I thought were their key audiences and guesses at user goals and tasks. My first pass:

  • Airport travelers, very different from the other audiences below. Mostly residents considering flying from TOL (vs. DTW) and those getting ready to use it. One important goal of the digital experience may be to make the physical airport experience better. Probably some out-of-town users, those passing thru the airport for work or visiting, so there is a chance to connect to the fun things to do while they are here (e.g., tourist bureau stuff).
  • Media representatives, who need to know what is going on with the Port and whom to contact for their stories.
  • The public, who has a “right to know”. Similar information needs as media (such as minutes from meetings), but I suspect there are different business requirements for the two audiences.
  • Industrial site specialists, aka site selectors, looking for information on specific Port sites. This audience works a lot with RGP, so the Port and RGP sites probably need to be carefully integrated to serve them well.
  • Transportation companies, of course: the port’s main customers. People who want to ship stuff through the seaport, use the airport for cargo, etc.
  • Capital investors might be another audience, not sure. Since RGP has a special site for the region for that, it may make sense to put any Port info for them on investintoledousa.com.
  • Regional economic development professionals, such as county and city ED folks, who need to know what is going on with TLCPA so they can do their jobs well. Some of that is “public right to know” but the really useful information will not be publicly available.
  • Misc, always need a misc category. Example: someone planning a wedding and looking for a venue (believe it or not, the Port Authority has a venue to rent, too). These fringe cases are hard to deal with, but if the above list is good, there are not many cases that fit in here.

Hopefully this is a good start at looking at the Port’s web presence through the eyes of core user groups.