PDT Staff Writer
If you were a company or industry looking into locating in the city of Portsmouth, or if you were someone considering for applying for the job of city manager, what you have found over the past several weeks is that the city’s website main navigation and city directory has been unusable.
When clicking on any of the top navigation links or searches using the site’s directory at www.portsmouthoh.org, an error page appears, indicating that the requested document is not available, commonly referred to as a “404” error page. Although many other links on the city’s home page and other pages are functional, most web visitors use a website’s navigation to access information and to visit sections within the website.
When the Portsmouth Daily Times made a call to Dawgbyte Productions, one of the area’s best known website developers, Billy McClurg was surprised when he pulled up the city’s website.
“Wow, it’s a mess too,” McClurg said. “The banner is completely off center. I’m refreshing and I’m trying to get it to load. Either someone is in the middle of maintaining it, which, in the middle of the day is not what I recommend. I can’t tell what’s going on with the (web) site, but it’s pretty whacked out.”
McClurg was asked how a non-functioning navigation and city directory affects the city’s ability to operate within the realm of business or inquiries.
“It hurts tremendously,” McClurg said. “Just to break it all down, it affects commerce. It affects any number of things. People honestly believe that when they build a website, they say, ’ I only want to market to my region.’ Sorry, it’s the world wide web. Everybody sees you. You are immediately expanded throughout the world - throughout this universe - people can see you. And it reflects poorly on your community.”
“(City Director of Engineering and I.T.) Crystal (Weghorst) is overseeing that,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “In fact, we are in the process of changing companies doing our website. That might be the issue. I don’t know. Crystal Weghorst is the one in charge of that.” Weghorst was out of the office Thursday.
Malone, who said he has no problem navigating through the site, said the city’s site had been maintained by City Plus, out of Kansas City, but now a local company, Yost Engineering is going to take over the operation of the web page.
McClurg said a non-functioning website can be a big problem for the city.
“In a nutshell, it reflects negatively on your entire community,” McClurg said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com