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What makes a website official?



4:55 pm on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Some dictionary definitions are:

1) Authorized by a proper authority; authoritative
2) Authoritative, Authorized
3) Authorized by some authority: approved, recognized, or issued by some authority

So there is both authoritative and also authorized.

A lot of us may have authoritative sites and are hence authorities. So then we could presumably authorize our websites and then they become official.

A definition of authoritative is a, Reliable b, backed by authority. One defnition of authority is: source of reliable information, but there is also holder of power and right to command.

Is there an accepted definition of "official" with regards to websites?


6:01 pm on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's possible to muse over semantics all day, but what would help is a better understanding of what problem you are trying to solve, and the circumstances surrounding that problem?


6:29 pm on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

You are abosolutely right. I was thinking more in terms of coming up with some guidlines or ideas everyone could use - but the best way to do that may be to look at some specific examples.

I have a travel guide for a region. And it is by far the most complete, attractive and usable site with the most content. The next compeitor is the chamber of commerce which has a small unattractive site with not a lot of information and only member listings.

I want my site to be listed on the best website that covers the region my region is in. But they only list sites that are "official:.

So the real measure of "official" for my case is whether the webmaster for that regional site agrees or not.

One option is asking what they consider official. But it would be nice to not have to do that.


11:19 pm on Feb 22, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Um. At the risk of sounding fairly silly here....

I would think that in your situation there would be several things you could do to optimize your site's measure of "officialdom" :

1. Site-ranking in SEs - especially google. Get up there on top, and you're where they hit first, "official" logo notwithstanding.

2. Within your regional contacts should be some city/county/provincial/whatever agencies you could chat up as far as links to your site as "the official hoohah for travel in our region!" - something like that....

3. Talk to local RV and motel/hotel folks - they're the ones who "concierge" for people from away - and once you get word-of-mouth coverage going, the Chamber of Commerce will be in second place.

Or you could go the roundabout route: ask the Chamber to link to your site since people always want options and extras - unless of course you're not on good terms....


12:15 am on Feb 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


1. Site-ranking in SEs...

I would not care if I was official or not if I came up top. The official thing is a way to achieve that. But your point is taken. Coming up top does add a lot of offcialness.

2. Within your regional contacts should be some city/county/provincial/whatever agencies...

I am not quite sure the best way to go about this (just calling and asking is one option, yes but I dont think it will be very convicing without something to back up the request). Which is very much at the heart of this post for me. What are the best ways to convince others you are the official site

3. Talk to local RV and motel/hotel folks...

Good point. I am giving a marketing presentation to them next month sponsored through the chamber of commerce. Still does not help much with convicing the regional website I am official.

Or you could go the roundabout route: ask the Chamber to link to your site...

They already link to me. But not with the word official in the text.

In researching my link exchange targets, there are several key ones (and I imagine this is the case for others) that only link to official sites. And if you site is offical they will link to you for free vs charging.


6:25 am on Feb 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm not clear on what type of site you are trying to be on.

Are you trying to get into a site that lists "official" city/region guides?

Or, are you trying to get into a site that lists "official" travel guides?

My definition of an "official" city or region guide would be one created by the city/region or one authorized by that city/region. For example, the city government might have a tech department or some other city government agency (clerk, records dept., etc.) that maintains the city's web site. That would be the "official" site for the city.

If the site you're trying to get into is looking for some kind of "official" travel guide, then that may be a little more complicated. Maybe they're looking for something put out or authorized by the city or region's tourism department. Or, maybe they're looking for something endorsed by a community group, such as the chamber of commerce.

If this is the case, you may have no choice but to ask them what they consider to be "official". Or, look at other listings and see if you can determine what makes them "official".


7:14 am on Feb 23, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Thanks ccDan and vkaryl

I have started the process of contacting the local bestowers of officialness. One is the chamber of commerce, the other is the county tourism program.

The research I have done supports what you both have said. Mainly that officialness comes through recognition by an established official entity -the more official they are the more legitimacy they can pass on (sort of like page rank :).

My current strategy now is going to try and become the website associated with one of the visitor centers recognized by the county tourism program. There is one that does not have a website yet but only an location.

I have also learned that often the offical website for an area (in terms of travel) is run by either the city or the chamber of commerce. The tourism program for the county however is the one that recognizes the chambers or cities as holding the official site for that area (ie they have superceeding authority). So it may be possible to deal with the Tourism Program to make a bid on being the website for the region. Because if they are run correctly (which most are) they will have taken precautions against cronyism.


1:56 am on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well, best of luck to you! It is sometimes difficult to "buck city hall", but then again EVERYONE in your area should be happy for a site which presents the region in a favorable light, with ease-of-use a major factor for the site, and links galore for other info. If the only other even though "official" site is unusable and unattractive, you're way ahead anyway....

Especially in a "tourist-oriented" area, attractive usable websites are an absolute necessity. Hang in there: eventually someone "official" will pick you up and then you can post a nice tidy "OFFICIAL SITE OF ...." whatever it may be, AND link to the officialdom which lets you do that.


2:49 am on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It may not fit your situation, but a way to become "official" would be to form a non-profit group. It shouldn't be something fake, but it is an avenue. In your case it would be hard not to compete with the chamber directly if you did something related to tourism.

Maybe you could get a couple of businesses to gently suggest to them that they help you a bit with a link, since it would help those businesses. Are you a member of the chamber?


3:02 am on Feb 29, 2004 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

The non-profit idea seems a good one to legitly and quickly be able to ad the offical title.

The non-profit could be called something such as "Friends of the ____ region" and we would be the offical site of the "Friends of the ____ region"

For the majority of websites whether I am offical or not has not been an issue. Just a few key ones (such as chambers of commerce, governmnent sites, membership only websites, or people who are stuffy about their links pages -ie don't understand the internet fully).


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