By Jim McCloskey
As I indicated earlier this year, we at WaterShapes have dedicated ourselves to making our newsletter and Web site bigger, better and more helpful than ever.
We’ve increased the volume and frequency of original newsletter articles and features, gotten involved in raising the level of education in our industry and organized everything we do to make solid information accessible in ways that simply weren’t possible with a print magazine.
It’s been an interesting process, and with the help of a capable team of Web designers, we’re on the verge of having the broad-based, full-service Web site I’ve long thought we should.
Not all the improvements are ready yet. In the months to come, we’ll expand our Resource Directory to take full advantage of digital technology; launch a Contact/Referral Service that puts interested consumers in touch with watershapers; and ramp up an unusual eCommerce System to speed the processes by which suppliers find customers.
Right now, however, our main focus is on raising the profile of www.watershapes.com and attracting new users to it. Our mission is to centralize, organize and democratize information about water-containing vessels and their surroundings. As envisioned, the site will serve all visitors — professionals and consumers — by communicating how watershape environments and their amenities can best be designed, engineered, constructed and assembled.
The site will grow constantly and evolve daily, offering quick-and-easy access to a wealth of valuable information. It will guide professionals to the state of the watershaping art, as well as to the materials, tools and methods used to achieve outstanding results. Simultaneously, it will enable consumers to ask the right questions about owning or improving personal watershape environments.
Our first step in this direction has involved making WaterShapes.com a clearinghouse for information on what’s going on in the global aquatic marketplace. We’ve launched two new features on our homepage: Around the Web, which offers interesting and often unusual information about pools, spas, fountains, ponds, streams, waterfalls and other waterfeatures from sources across the globe; and Aquatic Health, Fitness & Safety, which affords users easy access to a huge range of information on the benefits and safe use of watershapes.
Our second step is to open WaterShapes.com to a vastly broader audience than the 14,000 professionals who used to receive our print magazine. To that end, we’re beginning the process of providing everyone with fully searchable, digital access to our total magazine archive. For the foreseeable future, each edition of the WaterShapes EXTRA! newsletter will highlight an article or column from one of the 130-plus issues we published between February 1999 and July 2011. In addition, we will be using digital technology to offer advertisers in those back issues the opportunity to bring their ads up to date.
The future I’ve been envisioning for so long is finally arriving. Think of it as WaterShapes with super powers!