End of Year Review: Town of Heath & 2019 Franklin Favorites!

Montague WebWorks continues to gain important customers, and win local accolades

2019 was a very busy year at Montague WebWorks; we moved into new offices behind Greenfield City Hall, increased our staff by one, started working on our first mobile app, won the 2019 Franklin Favorites contest, and got our tenth Town client. In fact, we picked up almost fifty client websites this year!

Let's break it down...

New Web Projects in 2019

We picked up 48 new websites this year: ten contractors; five farms; six municipal organizations, including the Town of Heath, and two local libraries (Greenfield and Leverett); and six shopping / retail clients. The rest were almost evenly distributed between services, non-profits, restaurants, writers, musicians, and sports.

All during this time, the RocketFusion platform continued to be developed. Beyond the perpetual software updates to improve existing functionality, we introduced three big upgrades to the platform:

  • We added a new Page Sections functionality, allowing website owners to add almost any kind of content in sections down any page, including existing Module Content already on the site, such as upcoming calendar events, recent news, files, forms, etc.
  • We also created a new Blocks Module, which allows you to create bucket-like sections of text and photos, or even videos, that link to their own areas of the website, with each category of Blocks appearing in the navigation drop-down, just like news and calendar.
  • We also released our new RFP Module for municipalities, allowing their procurement departments to post and manage their own projects.

Lastly, we have been aggresively working on a new Ecommerce Module, which will enable our existing customers to expand whatever existing shops they may have using the Photo Gallery into a true shopping platform, with customer and order management, in addition to the expected product and category management. This was slated for a late October release, but a few minor emergencies and other big projects took up more time than expected, including...

Our First Mobile App

The big new client project for us this year was a local businessman who wanted a special scheduling app. There was nothing out there that did what he wanted, so he came to Montague WebWorks for help. We rose to the challenge and built him a bi-platform app (Android and Apple) using Google's FireBase for storage, the Dart programming language through the Flutter UI toolkit for the mobile front-end, and VueJS and Bootstrap for a back-end web app for user management. This was a major departure from what we've been doing for the past decade. It took a toll on our other development project timelines, but we learned a ton and are looking to expand our offerings to include apps next year.

We released the beta version of the app to the client a couple weeks ago, and likely will be kicking it up a notch in 2020. Very exciting!

Of course, now that we have our feet wet in building apps, we have plans for two new apps next year, one of which will be geared for our Town and municipal clients who want a mobile app to share their calendars and news, complete with icon badges and push notifications, and which integrates with the mobile devices' native calendar. Also very exciting!

Expanded MWW Support Options

Back to our flagship product, RocketFusion, we have had requests from our Town customers to assist in posting their meeting agendas and minutes, and additional regular reviews of their websites for ADA compliance and improved user experience. Towns are different from other customers, as they are subject to Open Meeting laws, and a higher scrutiny from their residents and constituents.

With our new beautiful offices right behind Greenfield City Hall, and our ever-increasing customer base with these Open Meeting requirements, we have decided to expand our support offerings to more than just hosting websites.

Starting in 2020, Montague WebWorks is proposing to partner with the Towns we host to manage their public meetings records, which includes posting all agendas and minutes the town volunteers and staff don't have the time or wherewithal to handle. This is a far-cheaper option than hiring someone within the town for this purpose, and allows the town hall staff (and volunteers) to focus on the main aspects of their jobs.

We obviously know the software and can get the job done faster than anyone, which will result in savings for the town and a better website for the residents.

2019 Franklin Favorites Winner!

And, to top off all this goodness, we also won the Greenfield Recorder's Franklin Favorites for Website Design Company! The Recorder introduced this category only last year, and so far we've won it both years (knocking on wood).

We are always stiving to improve our product and our services, and hope to continue to be the winner in Franklin County, and eventually in Hampshire County as well.

What's Coming in 2020

First off, our expanded support options for Towns and other municipal clients will be big. Several clients may want their sites re-assessed and possibly redesigned to make it easier for residents to find meeting agendas and other important informations.

Second, mobile apps will be something we start offering. Initially we will focus on leveraging our existing clients' data in a new interface, such as Town calendars so you can see in a single click what meetings are coming up so you can easily access their agendas and add the meetings to your device's built-in calendar.

Third, we will get back to focusing on the admin interface for the RocketFusion back-end using new interactive technologies, making the software easier and more intuitive to use for both beginners and power users. We will also continue to add functionality, such as an Appointment Scheduler Module, and a Banner Ad Module for displaying sponsor logos and advertisements on your websites.

Fourth, we will begin holding our WebWorks Universities, again, with plans to also begin a new help video series that covers all aspects of all the content module workflows.

Lastly, Montague WebWorks has become involved in local Soapbox Derbies, again. Mik will be running the new Greenfield Soapbox Derby, and will consult on the Montague Soapbox Derby (yes, it's back!) and the Bernardston Soapbox Derby. Yes, there will be THREE soapbox derbies in Franklin County next year. Possibly more, once word gets out. We'll have a special announcement in early January once all the dates and locations have been confirmed.

It's going to be a busy year, and hopefully our best and most fun yet, again!

So, from all of us here at Montague WebWorks, Mik, Donna, Joey and Sean, we wish you the very happiest and merriest holiday season, and the best and most prosperous new year in 2020.

See you soon.