NFPA Websites – What’s Going On Over There?

We’re cleaning out the garage we call NFPA.com.  That’s what’s going on.  It’s a big process, but we think you will appreciate the result when we’re done.

NFPA.com has long been the primary repository for information we make available to members, prospective members, people who need or want to know about fluid power, purchasers of standards and assorted other audiences.

Just like most of our garages, we use it for everything, and it gets junked up over time.  But unlike a garage, the door to our website is open, the lights are on 24/7, and our clutter is visible.

It would be wrong to set a fire and wait for the insurance check.  So with brooms and dustpans in hand, here’s what we’re going to do…

  • Take content out of the one-site clutter and organize across multiple sites, each focused on a specific content or audience area to help drive greater visibility;
  • Establish clear and logical navigation linkages among the sites;
  • Create a consistent look and feel so users know they’re on an NFPA site without needing to see the logo;
  • Where appropriate, develop interactive communities of interest, extending the value of networking from in-person meetings to the web environment;
  • Move as much of all this into a administratively-friendly WordPress platform so that our web update and development process no longer exists in a single-position silo within NFPA;
  • Ensure all our sites are mobile-friendly; and of course
  • Get rid of old junk!

It’s a huge undertaking.  But we’ve learned a lot with some early experiments.

One of our first clean-up efforts can be seen at NFPA News…https://news.nfpahub.com.  It doesn’t entirely have the look and feel we’re planning for the long haul, but we’ll leave it as is for now.  The best thing is we’ve used NFPA News to start breaking down the silo walls, with multiple staff using WordPress to contribute content that gets published to the news site.

Two New Websites

In April and May we launched two new sites:

  1. Events:  https://nfpahub.com/events/ – This site serves as the main entry point for registration and information on all our conferences, regional meetings, trade show activities and webinars.
  2. Standards Development:  https://nfpahub.com/standards/ – This site currently serves as the online workspace for standards development committees.  Committee members can share and mark up documents, add comments, vote and track ballots, building efficiency into the development process for everyone.

These two sites have the clean, easy to navigate look and feel that we’re shooting for across our entire web presence.

What’s Next

  1. Stats/Reports: This site will be at https://nfpahub.com/stats/. It will be the main point of entry for all our statistical services program information, including Confidential Shipment Statistics Report, forecast reports, the Electronic Statistical Toolkit, and more.  We expect this site will launch in September.
  2. Fluid Power Design Blog:  This site is planned for the end of 2015 and will be focused on promoting fluid power technology to external audiences (URL to be determined later).  Content will come from members and will be focused on promoting the advantages of hydraulics and pneumatics through case examples and general guidance on how to design and maintain systems.  Staff has begun working with the NFPA Pneumatics Council on some of these ideas.
  3. Workforce/Careers: We begin the process this summer of planning for an overall web presence aimed at promoting our workforce development efforts, as well as connecting students, educators and industry as a community.  We intend to complete planning and start building by the end of the year so we can launch in spring 2016.
  4. NFPA.com and NFPAFoundation.org:  As we work through each of the points above, these sites will change in stages.  NFPA.com will be more focused on information about NFPA, the industry and membership.  The Foundation site will go away, as content transfers to Workforce/Careers and NFPA.com. When the dust settles, we want the look and feel to be consistent with the other web properties.

What’s the biggest, ugliest issue in all of this?  Getting NFPA.com with its many SQL database-driven features and immensely text-heavy pages trimmed down and moved effectively into WordPress.  Hide the gas can and matches, and by this time next year, we’ll have it all done.

Stay tuned.

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