What features are important for a fire department website? In this article, I share 4 features I believe are critically important to incorporate.
1. Responsive (Mobile-Optimized)
How often do you visit websites on your phone?
Quite possibly more often than on an actual computer. So its safe to assume that people visiting your website are doing so from a cell phone or tablet. That being said – your website should be optimized for use any device. This is called “responsive design”.
There are quite a few companies out there that specialize in fire department websites who are still not using responsive design as a base platform for their sites. BE CAREFUL WORKING WITH THEM! With Code3 Creative, every website we build is responsive and looks amazing on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and phones.
2. Simple Navigation
Simple navigation is crucial to making it quick and easy for people visiting your fire department website to find the information they need.
Simple navigation is easy to achieve. Your navigation menu should be:
- A font that is easy to read (consider popular Google Fonts like Open Sans, Montesarrat or Roboto)
- Colors that don’t clash with each other
- Background colors that don’t make it hard to read the text.
Since your website will be responsive, the menu specific to mobile devices should also be easy to read and navigate. Websites built by Code3 Creative include a mobile menu that is easy to navigate, looks great on mobile devices and features the same look and feel of desktop version of the menu.
Click here for some examples of websites we have built for fire departments.
3. Home Page Alerting
In the unfortunate event of a natural disaster, large-scale emergency or some other incident requiring the need to alert a large number of people, a home page alert feature should be considered.
Home page alerts are a section at the top of your website that are hidden unless needed. When an incident happens, the home page alert is activated and whatever message you want to communicate is entered and appears on your home page. Combine that with a social media blast and you will ensure that the maximum number of people in your community are notified.
All Code3 Creative sites that are created for fire departments include a home page alert feature.
4. Simple, Relevant Domain
This is a feature that isn’t always thought about, but is very important for folks to be able to find your website. A domain is the .com, .org, etc that someone types in to their browsers to reach your website. When deciding which domain to go with, consider how you are known to the public. Some agencies will purchase a site based on acronyms thinking that shorter is better.
Let’s take the ficticious, but widely respected My Cool Fire Department (MCFD).
- If you are known to most people as MCFD – not My Cool Fire Department, then go with something like mcfd.com
- If you are known as My Cool Fire Department, consider something like mycoolfire.com instead.
For example – Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, a fire agency based outside Portland, Oregon, are widely known as TVFR – so their website is tvfr.com. On the other hand, Clackamas Fire District #1, also in the Portland, Oregon area, are not known to the community as CFD1 – they are known as Clackamas Fire – hence their website address is clackamasfire.com.
So there you have it!
Those 4 features will help give your fire department website a great base to build from. Your site should be built with content and features that are geared towards the people you serve. Ensuring these features are integrated will help you do just that.