Funded by the Florida High Tech Corridor Council, the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center website (www.flvec.com) is a free service for entrepreneurs that lists business resources cataloged by county. Since its inception in 2007, the website grew to cover the 23 counties of the Florida High Tech Corridor, and in late 2010, partners of the Florida Virtual Entrepreneur Center (FLVEC) expressed interest in expanding the website to service all of Florida’s 67 counties. Curley & Pynn was charged with developing the concept for expansion, including redesigning and optimizing the site to provide an enhanced user experience.
Curley & Pynn conducted research on creative elements of navigation used in existing websites that were noted for excellence in design simplicity and solicited feedback from partners who had already been using the site in order to address issues for improvement. Based on completed research, the firm set to change the functionality of the home page to easily allow counties to be added during the statewide expansion process and increase the number of partners that list a FLVEC hyperlink on their site. A credible reporting metric was also necessary to track individual county portal traffic and other specific data.
Work included implementing SEO optimization and simple website navigation, design and usability. The firm also developed print collateral and promoted the site through social media, a newsletter and distributed materials.
The FLVEC home page now includes access points for all 67 Florida counties. The number of websites including a hyperlink to FLVEC grew from 16 to 105. Google Analytics now covers metrics for FLVEC, and for each county portal allowing the team to track local usage of the site, where visitors are entering FLVEC and how long they stay. Website traffic increased by 56 percent from August 2011 through February 2012. During that same period, 75 percent of visitors entered through search engines, 15 percent through direct traffic and 10 percent through referrals.