I've been asked by our regional district council to set-out plans of how to establish a self-funding local community-based site. Does anyone here have any experience with this type of site, what type of CMS did you use, forum and/or image boards?
The region is mostly agricultural, 680 sq miles with a population of 137,000 and is part of a county 2,687 sq miles with 1,042,00 population. It is anticipated that if it is sucessfully implemented then we would use the same/similar theme to extend to the whole county.
I favour the AdSense route to avoid the necessity of an advertising department and the council is very keen to reduce their salary bill but at the same time extending their reach into the county.
We are not expected to take-on any of the council's regular administrative work.
My experience with rural community based sites (from attending not-for-profit conferences) is that you should also aim to facilitate community i.e. with Facebook. And in the long run, community is what attracts and keeps the site growing.
Actually that was one of the main drivers for this project since a very recent event was not known about because the council posted only one-line notice on its calendar about it.
I had picked-up on it and posted it on a local hotel site I run however all the traders were fuming that, in general, the public hadn't known and my daughter said "Well, if it had been on Facebook everyone locally would have known".
The council's advertising and web department have obviously taken a thrashing about this which is why they came to me.