A community portal is a website that provides relevant information to a specific group. Local governments and school districts are common users of online portals as a way to inform their audience of current news, views, and activities. An effective portal has regularly updated information, is easy to navigate, and has a strong online following. It should be dense with up-to-date information that also links to other websites. A successful online portal is one that has trustworthy content and loyal following of regular uses who continue to visit the site to find new information.
The main purpose of a community portal is to provide value to the community it is serving. It should be the online starting point for that community and provide convenient access to all relevant information. Common elements of community portals are articles, classifieds, a calendar, groups, and contact lists. These online environments also often incorporate interactivity by using blogs, forums, and other social media links. Most portals also allow uses to sign up for RSS feeds or email newsletters as a way of letting the community know what is new on the portal.
A community portal should also benefit the wider community. This type of website is a great marketing device for a community or school district. If used correctly, it is a showcase of the community.
A tourist should be able to look at the site and find out tourist attractions, dining experiences, and current attractions to the area. A community portal can also involve reviews, such as of current events, shops, and restaurants. This online exposure can help drive more traffic to local businesses as well as informing the readers of what is available in that specific areas.
School districts also often use community portals to promote their schools. Schools can use a portal to provide messages from the superintedent, highlight administration news, and list the details of specific skills. Some school district portals showcase exceptional teachers and describe current education reform.
Some community portals provide extra information, specific to a targeted audience, that is only accessed via a password. This password protected information is usually only accessible to employees or members of the organization running the portal. Examples of information could include employment policies and specific school details.
A good community portal is dynamic and evolves as the needs of the intended audience change. It is updated regularly, and provides useful information. The ability to provide feedback or other interaction can also be a useful element of a community portal.