I had this link sitting in my RSS reader for a while, thinking about a follow up to my earlier post about good looking government websites.

The City of Albert Lea, Minnesota (more on Wikipedia), recently updated it’s website’s look and converted to using WordPress (open source software that runs this site and millions others) as a content management system.  Head over to their site, it looks great.  Staff at the City of Albert Lea estimated that they would have to spend $20,000 for a new website, but a city resident volunteered to do the work for just $720.

There is a really good article in the Albert Lea Tribune about the move to WordPress.  A good quote:

It is a Web-based content management system that allows officials in each department to change their pages without needing much knowledge of Internet language, said Teresa Kauffmann, the city’s public information coordinator.

And about the ease of updating the new website:

The old site was created in 2004. Hosted by Austin-based Southern Minnesota Internet Group, it left city officials several hoops to jump through for basic changes. Basically, SMIG had the keys. The new site’s host is an Internet company called 1&1 but because of the CMS nature of WordPress templates, Kauffmann and city officials have the keys. No more calling Austin. Now, they simply go to a special administration site that manages the main site.

And the most important part is that they aren’t finished yet:

She said she will head focus groups comprising Albert Lea citizens. She said she seeks members of all ages, backgrounds and computer skills. People interested in being on a focus group for the city Web site can contact Kauffmann at 377-4380 or tkauffmann@city.albertlea.org.

This is really great.  I’m going to keep a lookout for more local government websites using WordPress.

H/t to Ma.tt.