How can you keep content fresh on the Extension website? By repurposing what you are already doing. Also, by taking another glance through what you have and edit it with a readability or diversity lens.

Tapping into current efforts

Taking a newsletter or blog piece you have written recently and turning that into an article can be a straightforward way to add new content to the website.

Other content teams have latched on to an idea of locating and revamping older catalog publications as a way to avoid starting from scratch.

When you find yourself answering the same questions, providing familiar advice, or doing another standard presentation — turn these into quick articles or videos that you can refer people to online in the future. Short answers to featured questions are popular with web visitors.

Similarly, when you publish new research in different places, such as a journal article or  association report, take a new slant or go more in-depth on one aspect to write a web article that speaks to Extension audiences too.

Adding content with purpose

It’s not just enough to add content when you have it. To make this effective, you need to add content for the right reasons.

These include meeting programmatic goals and audience needs, which we will be working more with teams to better define this year, and then map out content with this in mind.

It also means taking time to think about how people skim content on the website, and about all audiences we are trying to include. A couple tip sheets on our training page can help you take a fresh perspective on your existing content:

If you have questions or other suggestions, please reach out to our web team to let us know.

The Division of Outreach and Engagement is excited to welcome Mark Kindred in our newly established Salesforce developer position. Mark comes to O&E from our cousins in Ecampus where he served as a multimedia developer. His specialty was database and web app development. Prior to arriving at OSU in 2013, Mark was an entrepreneur running a consulting agency with clients in five states. In all of these professional roles, the time spent connecting with the people who are clients/stakeholders was among the most rewarding aspects of performing the work at hand. With a life that has included stints in Maryland, Alaska, Texas, and his standout favorite, Oregon, Mark’s enjoyment of unique, new places means he will enjoy the process of learning about your corner of Oregon as the role takes shape.

Mark will be working with Lucas Turpin and O&E Leadership to begin the needs assessment and alignment phase of our Customer Relationship Management implementation across O&E. During this time, don’t expect to see a lot of changes as 90% of this work will be planning to ensure our implementation aligns with the business needs of your units and the long term strategy of the university.

The team looks forward to talking with you about how CRM is aligned with your work and can provide new benefits to you.

At this time, more than 1,000 events have been entered into the Extension website. These have been viewed over 60,000 times. To see the most effective ways of setting up events on the website, we looked at some analytics data for these events since launch.

The top events by views were:

  1. 2019 OSU Small Farms Conference
  2. Clackamas County 4-H Tack and Bake Sales
  3. Insights into Gardening Conference (Benton County)
  4. 4-H Wildlife Stewards Summer Camp
  5. High Desert Leadership Retreat (4-H)
  6. PNW Tri-State 4-H Professional Conference
  7. PNW 4-H Horse Judges’ Training
  8. Growing Farms: Successful Whole Farm Management
  9. Exploring the Small Farm Dream
  10. 2018-19 Oregon 4-H Shooting Sports Mail-In Tournament

Events can be listed in several places: on county pages, on program pages, on topic pages, and on the all Upcoming Extension Events page. Here’s the breakdown on how many people click on events in these places:

  • County pages: 8,797
  • Statewide program pages: 7,347
  • Local-level program pages (4-H, MG): 12,507
  • Topic pages: 1,687
  • All events page: 1,107

We also looked at some data about what visitors do once they get to an event page:

  • On average, they spend 2 minutes and 26 seconds on event pages
  • Documents on event pages (i.e. flyers) were downloaded 10,779 times
  • Links to other sites from event pages, including registration links, were clicked 15,719 times

From this information, we can make some recommendations for more effective events.

What content authors can do:

  • Enter events in the site as events: event pages are viewed much more often than announcements or newsletter issues.
  • Don’t spend time making announcements for events unless necessary: adding an announcement to promote an event doesn’t seem to contribute much to views on the event. Of visits to event pages, only 1.8% came from clicking on the event from an announcement.
  • Make sure all event information is on the event page itself, not just the flyer: 83% of people get their information from only the descriptions on the events or online registration pages, and it is more accessible.   
  • Post events well before they happen. The most viewed events were posted six months before they occurred on average.
  • Make sure your events are seen by all the right people: many of the most popular events are those that are aimed at a wide audience geographically but a narrow audience in terms of topic. Make sure information about events is tagged with the appropriate counties, programs, and topics, so people can find events related to their interests and locations.

What EESC plans to develop based on feedback about how people are tagging events:

  • A design for topic pages and the “all events” page that allows visitors to more easily find events close to them.
  • A design for county and program event lists that highlight especially relevant events separate from others (based on location or subject).
  • Improved integration between events on the OSU Extension Website and OSU’s calendar system.

Recent improvements to events by EESC:

  • Option for events that take place online only (e.g. webinars).
  • Ability to indicate when an event happens multiple times within a specified time period, so you only need to enter that event once.

Keeping content fresh, current, and accurate on the Extension website means knowing the tools to keep existing content maintained. In certain cases, you may want your content to be invisible to visitors if it becomes out of date. Or, you might want to review the content another person updated before it gets published.

There are three ways to make content unpublished:

  • Draft: The content needs to be finished/reviewed before it gets published.
  • In Review: The content was published, but has been taken down for review.
  • Archived: The content was published, but is now out of date or no longer needed.

At the bottom of any edit screen, you will see these options in a drop down field above the Save button.

You can also see the status of all content at a glance on your group’s list of content.

Note that if you “Edit” a piece of published content and set its state to “Draft”, the previous version of that content will remain visible. To hide all previous versions, set the state to “In Review” or “Archived” instead.

To see the public version of the content, click on “View” tab. To see the latest draft of the content, click on the “Latest version” tab. These tabs are visible below the title on the content’s page. You can also see a “Revisions” tab, where all the past published versions can be found and reverted back if needed.

When you save a piece of content, you can enter a “Revision log message” to describe the changes you made or why you made them. These messages get displayed in the Revisions tab.

It is recommended for educational content or annual events to “archive” rather than delete. Deleted content will no longer be accessible and cannot be restored. Archived content can still be found on the Group Content page when logged in if you want to update it and republish. It also helps avoid the content being inadvertently added again, since the reason it was “archived” can be noted in the revisions field for future reference.

As you do some housekeeping of your group’s content, reach out to the web team if questions come up. Thanks for your work to keeping the quality of content reflecting the valuable service OSU Extension provides the broader community.

With more than one way to add a program application to the Extension website – as an announcement, a program resource, an event, or text on a sub-page – how does one decide the best approach? One case example could help give insight into this question.

We took a closer look at 16 Master Gardener training programs* that had an electronic application (printable PDF or online form) linked from the website to see the audience’s actions.

What did we find?

  • Application links were seen more than 10,000 times and were clicked/downloaded nearly 2,000 times. This is a good 20% conversion rate (i.e. the number who downloaded or clicked on the application, divided by the number who viewed it).
  • Among the Master Gardener programs, 8 uploaded the application and 7 linked to it (1 did both). The applications available for download performed better.**
  • Only one program put a direct link to the application on their main program landing page, but they didn’t have higher success in conversion rate than anyone else.
  • However, programs that had an “announcement” showing on their main program landing page had higher average conversion rates. We could interpret this to mean that people who are specifically looking for applications with the intent to fill them out, find them through announcements.

  • Links to applications that were shown on a sub-page (usually the “How to Join” page) were seen more often than those that were only shown in an announcement or event. We could interpret this to mean that people who are not yet decided about applying or who are learning about it for the first time, find it through the sub-page menus.

Recommendation

Add the file or link to the application as a “program resource” that displays on a “How to Join” sub-page. Then create an announcement that references that program resource or the page itself.

Do you have other questions that you want to see if analytics can answer about your audiences? Get in touch with the web team to ask your question.

 

* The remaining Master Gardener programs asked visitors to get in touch with a person to apply or receive application materials, so these need to be tracked off-line.
**It would be useful for all the programs to see how many people actually submitted applications once they clicked to an online form or downloaded a PDF application. In the future digital strategy, online forms may be preferable for ease of processing and tracking applications.

Over the last months, the web team made a few adjustments to make it easier to add program resources, peer reviewed content, and online events. EESC also continues to work on finalizing design and support tools for the website. Here’s a look at what is new and what is on the way.

New Changes

Program Resources

Instead of keeping the default alphabetical order, you can now rearrange program resources in the Program Resource List. When you see the list you want to reorder, click on the pencil icon that appears next to the section heading and select “reorder items”. This takes you to a screen where you can drag the program resources up or down on the page. More is explained in the managing program content and 4-H guides.

Reviewers

When adding new content, some program area leaders have asked for articles to be peer reviewed. You can now check the box and add the reviewer’s name in “Step 3: Author and Publishing Information” when entering educational content.

Events

If you are hosting a virtual event or webinar, you can now select “online only” as the location.

We are also working on a design fix for how to display all events chronologically but have local events more distinct on the main landing pages.

Upcoming Tools

County Page Design

Later this month you’ll have access to the county page design features and ways to highlight focus areas in your county that we mentioned in an earlier blog. We’ll send more details when it gets closer to rolling out.

Program Page Design

In December we released new design features for the participatory program pages, and details on how to apply these tools are in the managing program content and 4-H guides. Since this is new, we are working on video tutorials to walk you through how to spruce up your pages.

Training Guides

A new searchable guide full of how-to instructions and tips for entering and updating information on the website will replace the current working drafts on the training page. We will let all web group leaders know when it is released.

Employee Intranet

On the OSU Extension employee intranet, the last pages are being revised for ETCU Tech Help, EESC, and 4-H employee resources, and will soon be available.

 

If you have a question or want to check in on the status of other changes, please reach out to us through the web support form.

In 2018, Extension faculty were organized into content teams to populate the new Extension website. If you led the review of content from the county and program sites to see what to migrate or facilitated a discussion with your working groups about what content your audiences wanted, report your contributions and outcomes in Digital Measures.

To capture your effort in your P&T CV, document it in Digital Measures under “Other Assigned Duties.” While content you have authored, reviewed, or contributed to can be listed under “Publications,” on a content team you may provide more leadership that strengthens the group process. Here’s some suggested language that could be used; enter the steps that are appropriate to your experience.

The Other Assigned Duties screen looks like this:

screenshot described in text

 

Assignment Title:

Extension Website Content Team Leader or Extension Website Content Team Contributor

Description of issue/situation:

Because older program and county websites were going offline, existing web content was reviewed and if warranted, migrated to the new Extension content management system.

Content teams had opportunities to provide feedback to the Extension website, which was launched in phases. This step-wise launch permitted faculty to become trained in the new content management system and workflow processes.

Description of action taken:

As a content team leader, I convened team members so that we could “divide and conquer” the size of the job.  Content was reviewed for its suitability to today’s Extension audience and then entered on the new website. I coordinated workload with [student workers, research assistants, content team members, etc.] who assisted in content entry.

In addition, I facilitated communication with my teammates, the EESC web team, and with program area leaders to [request topic changes, curate content on the site, enter or review content on the website, tag content appropriately, identify missing content, suggest functionality or design changes, and coordinate or participate in trainings to learn the content management system]. This took approximately ____ hours.

Description of outcome or impact:

___ pieces of content were added and read by ___ visitors.  These requested features were added to website: ____ (Also include any impact statements from people in the community or clients who have benefited from the website content).

Inclusivity of this activity (optional):

Our content team’s content reached an audience under the age of 35, who made up ___% of all visitors to our group’s content.

All our content included subheading formats, alternative text of images, and clear writing to increase the access to its content for diverse audiences. When feasible, PDFs were also made into text articles for improved accessibility.

Scholarship:

https://extension.oregonstate.edu. (Also note whether faculty from other states indicated they had referenced various resources from the website.)

Start Date:

(This can just be the year if you don’t know the month)

End Date:

(Leave blank unless you have rotated off the content team)

There is the ability to link relevant publications, presentations and more to this kind of record. The EESC web team is also working on an analytics dashboard linked to content team group pages when logged into the the Extension website to quantify page and site traffic. Until then, you can contact the web team if you would like this information.

Just in the past week, website communications with various county, program, and content teams about how to better search on the Extension site led to one convergent idea:

  • Keywords don’t often take me to the publication I want.”
  • “The way material appears (or doesn’t) seems to be highly dependent on keywords.”
  • “I didn’t know the right keywords to use in order to access the information I wanted.”
  • “I’ll need to give our working group members info about [keywords], so their work is findable.”

The content teams responsible for entering educational content (e.g. articles, videos, etc.) not only will want to “tag” all content with a topic, regions, languages, but any additional tags would get typed into the “keywords” field.

Additionally, for content that doesn’t use keywords (e.g. program resources, events), any important words that someone may want to search on to find the content should be somewhere in the text or title.

The more thought put in to this up front, the easier it will be to find the content again later on.

Keyword Guidelines

Keywords are the only “tags” on the site that requires content authors to type in their custom word instead of selecting it, so please follow these guidelines while doing this.

If you’re not the only one to enter content on a certain topic, you could create a “keywords to use” guide for your working group and other web content teams that may be contributing relevant content. These types of suggestion tools can be loaded into Box and shared.

You can also send EESC a list of keywords you want added to specific catalog publications, since keywords are a new field in that system. This way when catalog publications import to the Extension website, they will be easier to find.

Keywords Use

Keywords allow content to show higher in search results, and help you and visitors to narrow down the results too.

 

The URL from those filtered searches can also be copied to share with others or put into the orange “button links” on program, county, and topic pages.

Search the Extension Website

Dairy Topic Page (Edit Screen)

Dairy Topic Page (Saved View)

Do you need further training on this or have other questions or suggestions? Let the web team know.

For this  week’s post, we thought we’d start the year with a couple of tips that can save you time and frustration.

Select lists

Did you know most select lists on the Extension site are searchable? 

Just place your cursor in the select field and start typing and select.

Scenario where this would be helpful:
You are creating an event and want to tag additional counties. Just place your cursor in the select field and start typing. As you type, matches will start to appear, once you find the county you are looking for, select it by clicking it. This technique is especially helpful for selecting items from long lists, like topics.

Linking to files on Box

A common situation we come across is the need to link to documents which change often or yearly, such as a registration form. Box is a great solution for this. After uploading a document, copy the URL (web address), then use the URL for creating a program or online resource, or link to the document on a subpage. See the Box section on our File Management guide for more information.The file can be set as private (only a select list of people can access it), viewable for anyone at OSU (requires ONID authentication), or anyone with the link can access it. Once you have created the link, you can modify the file, even replace the file with the current version. Your link on your page will always work and return the latest version of the file.

Scenario where this would be helpful:
Let’s say you are a 4-H agent in Morrow County and you need to post a form for Morrow County 4-H website. By uploading the form to Box, you can replace the file each year without changing the link on your website. Then if someone has the link from last year, you can be assured that everyone is accessing this years form. Added benefit — if the form shows up in a Google search, the link will go to the current version, not last years, or the 2012 version.

New to Box? Visit the Getting Started with Box page or contact Victor Villegas for personalized help.

November 30 marked the six-month anniversary of the launch of the new Extension website. With this milestone, we now have a good amount of analytics data to use as a comparison point for content, design, and other improvements going forward. For example, we’re using this data to

  • Decide where to focus our efforts on design improvements and determine what kind of improvements are needed.
  • Feature popular content on topic and other pages
  • Create best-practice guidelines for entering effective content.

 

Here are some highlights and statistics over the last six months (May 31 – Nov 30 2018):

Basic Site Stats

  • Page views: 1,207,631
  • Visitors: 431,155 (423,667 new)
  • Average time spent by visitors on the site: 1 minute 42 seconds

Top visited pages

  1. Search results page (see what people search for on the site below)
  2. Home page
  3. When to pick and how to ripen pears to perfection
  4. Programs list
  5. Using Coyotes to Protect Livestock. Wait. What?
  6. Find Us page
  7. Gardening top level topic page
  8. Statewide Master Gardener landing page
  9. Are there male and female peppers?
  10. Statewide 4-H landing page
  11. Monthly Garden Calendars
  12. Metro Master Gardener landing page
  13. Ask an Expert form
  14. What are those worms in my firewood?
  15. Clackamas County landing page
  16. Home Food Preservation topic page
  17. Big maggots in your compost? They’re soldier fly larvae
  18. What are short day and long day plants?
  19. Don’t toss those tuberous begonias – save for next summer
  20. Coffee Grounds and Composting

How people find the site

  1. Searching with Google or another service (303,833 users)
  2. Typing in the URL, using a bookmark, or clicking on a link in an email (81,727 users)
  3. Clicking a link on a social media site such as Facebook (32,920 users)
  4. Clicking a link on another site (27,409 users)

What people search for on the site

  1. “canning”
  2. “4-h” or “4h”
  3. “horse”
  4. “compost tea”
  5. “forms”
  6. “master gardener”
  7. “soil testing”
  8. “jobs”
  9. “calendar”
  10. “record book” or “record books”
  11. “publications”
  12. “blueberries”
  13. “compost”
  14. “tomatoes”
  15. “compost tea brewer”
  16. “food preservation”
  17. “state fair”
  18. “cervis”
  19. “soil test”
  20. “employment”

If you are interested in more in-depth analytics or analytics for your content specifically, contact the EESC web team.

Here’s to the next six months!