Google Insights analyzes search phrases people use when searching the Internet, and found one trend they call the Age of Assistance. This fits well with what we do at Extension. Audiences come to the Extension website to find helpful resources, and in today’s online world they skim the content to quickly see if it meets their needs.

Google Insights discovered people are increasingly researching everything to either know what to expect or to make decisions.

People ask for:

  • Specific ideas (e.g. recipe ideas)
  • Things to avoid (e.g. pesticides to avoid),
  • What is best for me in my situation (e.g. best with my soil type).

They expect to find these answers online. Did you write your content in a way to come up in these type of searches?

Writing for the Web vs. for Print

Once on our website, will they decide to stay? When an article looks difficult to read, it sends a message that the topic will be difficult to do. By applying some simple changes to your content, you can make it more readable, and it will also encourage visitors to dig in and use it.

Some examples include:

  • Lead with the most important point
  • Break content into short, readable chunks

Many have done this already with content online; see a comparison table for even more user-tested guidelines when Writing for the Web.

Highlighted Points

You may have seen pull quotes in magazine articles, where an important or interesting sentence is enlarged and stylized. You can now do this for articles on the Extension website to catch the attention of browsing visitors. Just copy the sentence you want, paste on a separate line, highlight it, and click the “insert pull quote” icon in the tool bar.

Social Media or E-News Blurbs

If you took the time to write and post an article, then take a second to think how you can promote it so people want to click and read more.

The Teaser section of the editing screen includes a description field that shows up in search results and can be used for e-newsletters. On articles and videos, there’s also a new place to craft a Facebook post or short tweet, which will come in handy in the longer-term digital strategy.

Getting Started

For new content added to the website or when you’re reviewing existing content, keep the above suggestions in mind. However, for the several hundred articles already published on the Extension website, the EESC publications team will copyedit articles using the EESC style guide and apply these practices along the way. The content stays published while EESC and the Content Team leader work on revising and approving it. It will not affect the publishing process nor visibility of the content to the public. Here’s the process for content team leaders and links to learn more:

Read the full details of this EESC Copyediting process in the Extension Website User Guide under Managing Content.

List of changes to the web guide

When we have updates to the website, we will let you know at the end of all our future blog posts. Here’s one not already mentioned above:

There are new tagging fields on educational content to be used for internal reporting and sorting as part of the future digital strategy.

  • Season – is there a specific time of year this article or video is about?
  • Marketing Category – is there a specific theme this content fits?
  • Audience – is this content meant for a commercial or home audience?
  • Language – is this content in a language other than English (this was an existing field)?
  • Diversity and Inclusion checkbox – is this article or video specifically representing or addressing equity or social justice issues?

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