The city of Independence has been live with its Tourism Department Web link for several years now, highlighting attractions such as the Independence Square, historic museums and the trails.

The city of Independence has been live with its Tourism Department Web link for several years now, highlighting attractions such as the Independence Square, historic museums and the trails.


But with the department’s link, visitindependence.com, all content was once redirected to the city’s main Web site, ci.independence.mo.us.


That redirection worked well for Independence residents and businesses, though potential tourists might have been left confused and overwhelmed with links to utilities, local government and other residents-only information, said Stephanie Roush, Independence’s tourism director.


“There was a disconnect with our tourists because they weren’t expecting to go to a city Web site,” Roush said. “Also, if they would happen to go to a search engine, such as Google, and put in ‘Visit Independence,’ there was no such name because everything was redirected to the city’s Web site.”


Enter the new visitindependence.com, a redesigned Independence tourism Web site that recently went live. Roush presented the redesign Monday night at the Independence City Council’s study session.


In collaboration with TONIC Marketing and the city’s Technology Services Department, the new tourism Web site still emphasizes the department’s four themes of Harry S. Truman, trails, religion and the historic Independence Square, Roush said.


The new Web site also features links of “things to do,” “shopping,” “dining” and “places to stay.”


Out-of-town Web site visitors may request a free visitors guide, or they can view the city’s various marketing pamphlets in a click-through PDF format online. And if potential tourists still want to see the city’s regular Web site, there is a link available for that, too.


Roush said future technology plans for the department include working with the state of Missouri on search engine optimization marketing; sending e-blasts to invite residents and tourists to upcoming events; and touch screen kiosks at the Independence Events Center, Bass Pro Shops and other locations for quick tourism Web site information.


Jere Neer, Independence’s director of technology services, said the city is now in planning stages of an entire city Web site redesign, which is expected to go live sometime in summer 2010.