We are so close to launching KFU’s new website. So close! Alas, we’re not quite there yet, so we thought we’d take this opportunity to share what we’re doing with the site and why.

Back in January 2013, former Communication Coordinator Lauren Clary completed a web development class at McPherson College and used her new skills to create a KFU site from scratch. After Lauren departed, management of our website was passed on to me.

I do have web management experience from past work, but taking over KFU’s site required learning Dreamweaver and the coding language HTML. Last fall I conquered coding to the point where we were able to update news and events and add new pages for programs like the Kansas Beginning Farmers Coalition and our 2013 convention. The more I researched website design and use, however, the more it made sense to transition over to a web platform that uses a content management system (CMS).

Why in the world would KFU need a new site when the current one is only a year and a half old?

Simple answer: Advances in technology are changing how we access and use the internet. As of January, 55% of American adults had smartphones, while 42% owned tablets, according to the Pew Research Center. Heck, even Donn uses an iPad for work these days! Nielsen reports that “US adults spent on average 34 hours per month using the mobile internet on smartphones. By comparison, they spend 27 hours on the PC internet.”

For KFU’s website to remain useful, we needed switch over to a web platform that uses a content management system and find a theme that incorporates responsive web design. The benefits of using the WordPress platform and the Avada theme for our website include:

  • CMS allows a user, even with limited expertise, to add, modify and remove content from a website without the intervention of a webmaster. This will allow all KFU staff to contribute to the website!
  • CMS separates content code from layout code. What does this mean? We can change the look of the website and how content is organized without having to redo the website from scratch!
  • Avada, the theme we’ve selected for the new site, uses Responsive Web Design to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices, from mobile phones or tablets to desktop computer monitors. This means our site will work and look great no matter what device you’re visiting on!
  • The Amazing Grazing and Food Hubs and Co-ops programs, as well as the KFU blog and Nick’s Capital Beat policy blog can all be incorporated into the KFU site. We’ll no longer have to manage numerous sites!

Can you tell we’re excited? And where pretty confident that you will be, too!

Getting down to the nitty gritty on a timeline…when this Kontact arrives in your mailbox, the following sections of the website will hopefully be live: About, News, and Programs. And by the middle of September, Events, Membership, and Policy will become available.