I posted a poll question on my Facebook recently asking about the frequency of visitors to various informational Heard County websites.
Oddly enough, I noticed that most people visited very few if any local websites and in fact many seemed to be unaware of the existence of some of the most important sites. As a result I decided to rate all the websites I could find in Heard County.
These ratings are not intended to hurt anyone’s feelings and are simply my own personal opinion so naturally many may disagree with some of my selections.
I must also issue the disclaimer that there may be other websites I am unaware of although I did search for hours to be sure I had found them all so hopefully no great sites were left out. For the purpose of this article I only focused on public information sites and not business/personal sites.
If you do know of any other sites that may have been excluded that you feel deserve a mention please let me know.
My ratings are based on several different factors including functionality, accuracy, visual appeal, and overall breadth of information.
(*DISCLAIMER: I did rate this website but obviously with some bias attached to that rating. I did do my best to be fair to all of the sites I reviewed.)
(A+) Heard County Historical Society
-This site impressed me a lot. Each tab was up to date and the site was very pleasing to the eye. Even though it was a more simple site with not a large volume of information it seems to be well maintained and organized. Clicking through the entire site and not finding any mistakes was the clincher in rating this site as the only A+ site in the county. http://www.heardhistory.com/
(A) Heard County Recreation Department
-This is a site that I had used often in the past and was very familiar with that recently underwent a re-structuring. I would have considered this a highly rated site before but now even more so as the new design is very efficient. I was quickly able to locate team schedules, recreation news, office hours, and rules and regulations. The only thing that kept this site from an A+ rating was I could not find any info or contact information for the Recreation Board which could be very useful to parents. Nonetheless an excellent site.http://www.heardcountyrecreation.com/
(A) Franklin Police Department
-Solid sight inside and out. Could possibly use more news updates but it’s hard to complain about the quality of the webpage. Someone has spent some time working on this one and it shows.http://www.franklingapolice.com/
(A-) Heard County Chamber of Commerce
-This site was fortunate that these ranking weren’t released a few months ago. They have just completed a brand new site and it looks phenomenal! Very informative… lay-out is strong with lots of cool features/links. Could potentially be a good boost for our economy as most out of town businesses will look there first to learn more about our community. Huge improvement from the old site. http://www.heardchamber.com/
(A-) Heard County School System:
-I found the school website to be extremely well maintained and packed full of easy to find and useful information. The only negative I could find to the site was a plain and simple look with not much user appeal. In their defense a school website is probably not intended to be fun. We were very impressed to find meeting minutes from the most recent meeting. We did not find an up to date minute listing at any other government sites. http://www.heard.k12.ga.us/
(A-) Heard County High School
-Another site that I use often for high school information. It is much improved from the past as far as it’s content of accurate and up to date information. The news archives were kind of a mark against as the content was minimal but overall a very good clean site. The excellent writing in the Warcry was a major positive!http://www.heardhigh.com/profile.html
(B+) The Heard Citizen
-Good site overall but definitely has some issues that need to be worked out. Considering the heavy focus on Brave Nation sports, a nice link to all the schedules would be a nice addition. Political coverage seems inconsistent in scope with most of the on site reporting done from the Franklin City Council meetings and the Board of Commissioners. Little to no coverage of the other governmental agencies. Strongest point is the site seems to encourage a sense of community and puts a big focus on citizen input through various columns as well as the open solicitation for comments and letters to the editor. The Faith and Values section seems weak with very little local input into the writing. This site is clearly an infant that needs to grow and mature. More hard news coverage would be an improvement. http://www.heardcitizen.com/
(B+) Heard County Water Authority
-I must say the HCWA Authority site was for sure one of my favorites. Very clean look and easy to use. The only real problem I found was the board meeting minutes had not been updated since last July. I had to score a big mark against the site especially since the minutes were posted up until last July making them seem even more incomplete. Otherwise big kudos for the designer of this page!http://www.heardcountywaterauthority.com/myhcwa
(B-) Heard County Government
-Simple but effective site. I found a few things that need to be updated such as employees names still being listed that are no longer employed. Also the audit for 2011 has yet to be posted. Board minutes are up to date currently which is a recent improvement to the site. http://www.heardcountyga.com/
(C+) Heard County Middle School
-The middle school site has recently been redone and looks to still be in the process. I expect a much higher rating once all the kinks are worked out. I like it much better than the previous version of the site.http://heardmiddle.com/
(C) Heard County Board of Tax Assessors
-It was kind of hard to judge this one because it was not really an independent site but they do have a very important web presence which is important even if through a third party site. Just the numbers here nothing fancy. http://www.qpublic.net/ga/heard/
(C+) Franklin Newsbreak/Community Page
-This is a site I have used since it was originally started by Robert Elam. As a community website I think it is pretty cool. As the Franklin Newsbreak I find it very disappointing. Really no news/writing at all and rarely updated with the exception of the obituaries and some community announcements. City Council meetings not updated in over a year. Biggest problem I found was the fact that even on a big high def screen it is impossible to read some of the advertisements. http://www.franklingeorgia.com/index.html
(C-) Heard County Fire and Emergency
-Site has an ok look but needs some serious maintenance attention. http://www.heardfire.com/
(C-) Sandi Allen/Commissioner District #5
-Hated to give this site such a low marking mainly because it is such an innovative idea. No other politicians have a site at all. I have often found useful links and information here and in fact used this site to in my search for websites for this article. A good effort with all things considered for this site. http://www.sandiallen.s5.com/
(F) Heard County Development Authority
(F) Heard County Sheriff’s Office/Jail
(F) News and Banner
(F) City of Franklin