More than a year and a half ago, Thomson and McDuffie County leaders decided a unified web portal that represented the entire county was the best way to show the world what made McDuffie great.
The wait on that redesigned website will soon be over. Pending approval from city and county officials, the joint Information Technology Department will unveil the new site on March 1.
Though it still requires some tweaking and several additional pages, IT Director Kelly Evans is extremely happy with the look and accessibility of the site that was designed by Mary Sicard of the Augusta-based company i-Genuity.
"I'm pleased with it," Mrs. Evans said. "We spent a long time trying to figure out the best way to organize it, and we stuck to the five different sections across the top so that each section would have its own separate portal off the home page."
That home page - www.thomson-mcduffie.com - displays a new logo on the top. It also allows web surfers to click and find information on the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Thomson, McDuffie County, Economic Development and Tourism.
On each of those five pages are links on the right, specific to that area. On the left-hand side are links for residents, businesses and visitors.
"I find it very easy to navigate off of that," Mrs. Evans said. "No matter how you're coming at it, you get three different ways that you can approach browsing through the site, and I like that."
People searching the site will find information about each entity as well as tidbits of history on the county. The site will also have a calendar of events and links for developers to view available industrial sites within the county.
There are currently 150 pages connected to the massive website. Each section of the five links on top contains about 30 pages.
In the future, conducting business with the city and county - such as paying taxes - will be available online. Mrs. Evans said that won't be ready with the next round of updates scheduled for this year, but that they are working toward it.
Officials plan to continue discussion on future plans for the site. Additional entities within the county - like the Town of Dearing - might be included to a greater extent than they currently are.
"They'll be making a decision on how they want to move forward with the development of the site," Mrs. Evans said. "My hope for '06 is that it's going to take a heritage focus and try to get all that stuff done in conjunction with the museum."