m-bathwebsites Bath Web sites get major face, interface lifts

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BATH — The city and Main Street Bath Web sites now offer more information about community events and greater flexibility of use by residents and site administrators alike, thanks to recent upgrades.
Maine Hosting Solutions, with offices on Front Street, has donated the Main Street Bath site to the community for nearly a decade, beginning when Main Street was known as the Bath Business Association.
“I think this is the sixth renovation we’ve gone through, but this was the most extensive,” Dan Eosco, co-owner of Maine Hosting Solutions, said last week. “Over a hundred hours of work went into building this new site.”
The changes have made it easier for the Main Street administrators to communicate information to the public about events in the city, Eosco said. And as for the viewers’ perspective, the Hallet’s Drug Store street clock ticks away in real time, showing the time of day on its classical-looking face. The photo galleries display larger pop-up images, and the site boasts a new video section. The events calendar is also more user-friendly. A new advertising section allows an unlimited number of businesses to promote themselves, compared with the six advertisers that space limitations used to allow.
Kurt’s Street Beat is a new blog about what’s going on downtown, while an electronic newsletter continues to be released each week from Main Street Bath.
The site also showcases commercial spaces available downtown, a resource for businesses that may be interested in moving to Bath.
In the business directory, businesses can now log into their accounts and edit their listings to provide the most up-to-date information to consumers.
“This same database now feeds the city of Bath Web site, so now there’s one common directory of the businesses in Bath,” Eosco said.
“The city of Bath always had the worst Web site of any city I’ve ever seen,” Eosco said – it was slow, poorly maintained and infrequently updated.
That site, which Maine Hosting Solutions took over last summer, has a new administration area allowing each city department to run its own section of the site. Viewers noticing something on the site that should be changed can contact individual administrators.
“Basically what we do is we teach people to fish now,” Eosco said. “We used to build Web sites, and then people would have to come to us to do all the updates. Now we build Web sites, we teach the customer how to fish, they can update all their own information.”
Erika Helgerson, community relations coordinator for Bath, worked with city department staff, Maine Hosting Solutions and a volunteer marketing expert to evaluate the site’s needs and find a style suited to Bath. She said the site has separate sections so that viewers can answer any questions they have about city government, the community and visiting Bath.
“If you are visiting Bath, you have information about activities, lodging, transportation and more,” she said. “If you are a resident, you can find information about topics and Bath organizations that are integral to our community and related to, but not administered by, the city.”
Helgerson added that “the new site is much more attractive. We have gorgeous photos and I think the whole design really reflects the feeling of Bath. When I look through it, it gives me the impression that the city of Bath welcomes you.
“We want to share our beauty, history and community,” she added. “We want to be as open and accessible as possible, and having a great Web site is one way of doing that.”
The two sites are mainstreetbath.com (or visitbath.com) and cityofbath.com.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

DSC02796.JPGLear photo
Maine Hosting Solutions of Bath recently completed major upgrades of Web sites for the city of Bath and Main Street Bath. Its team members include Daniel Eosco, left, Benjamin Burden, Tony Stanley and Wes Highfill. Eosco and Burden co-own the company.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.