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!

If you are new to working on the Extension website, or need a refresher, then here are some getting started tips and answers to frequently asked questions. Hopefully, it will help avoid common missteps when still learning the new website structure.

  1. How you add content to the website is less based on where you are located and more on your role. In the previous website, you entered things on your county site. Now you enter information together with your group (see Who is going to enter all this content?).
  2. Every group can add an event or newsletter. Whoever creates the newsletter, must continue to be the group that uploads subsequent issues (which show up automatically on the newsletter page).
  3. EESC uploads any catalog publications to the site so your group doesn’t have to. If a catalog is not on the site, then it’s probably been pulled to be updated.
  4. You can see who uploaded a certain piece of content and in what group by going to All Content Overview. There is also a link to this on the My Groups menu page when logged in, just in case you forget.
  5. Any member of a group can make a change to the group’s content, but contact the author, if reachable, about changes. If you see something that should be unpublished until it can be further reviewed, contact EESC.
  6. When mentioning an Extension faculty or staff person on a webpage, just hyperlink their name to their profile page. This way if their contact information ever changes it only has to be updated there and not all around the site. Adding someone as an author to an article (step 3 of edit screen) creates this link too.
  7. If the content relates to more than one topic, then it can be tagged with all topics to display many places. This way people can find information in the topic they are searching on, but be careful about not over-tagging (it needs to be relevant).
  8. Content Teams can get confused about an Article vs. Educational Document so a good table that helps you to see the difference is in the content team guide “Deciding the Type of Content”. Also see File Management and Getting Content Organized on the Website.
  9. Program Groups have the useful function of tagging a program resource with a category. Then, it appears automatically with a title and description on a page with the same category selected in its Program Resource List (which you can see in the page’s edit screen). This way you don’t need to hyperlink to the program resource.
  10. Office Groups subpages, which are the side menus on county office pages, are meant to describe the physical location and facilities and serve as a landing spot for local relationships (i.e. a place to direct people on the website to find staff, events, or newsletters). They can also be pointers (e.g. orange button links) in this transition period for people to know where to find things, especially as educational content is now on topic pages instead.

See the FAQs and the Training page of this blog to learn more specific answers or to questions that may come up for you farther down the road. And of course, always feel free to email our web support team.

Do you have annual research reports and not sure where these should go? What about a journal article published outside OSU? Or a weekly alert that comes from your research? We have some answers to guide you in knowing whether or not this research content should go on the Extension website and next steps based on that decision.

On November 1, the archived county sites go away so if your content team hasn’t reviewed the content to see if there’s anything to update and move over, then it’s still easy enough to do in the next weeks. After that, it becomes harder once the server is taken down and the content files are backed-up in Box folders.

For combined stations or others with research related content:

If you have further questions or suggestions related to research or archived content, please contact the EESC web team for more information and discussion.

As the content migration deadline approaches, the main activity happening now by content and program teams involves reviewing old content to see if it’s worth putting on the new Extension website. The way to assess it can be approached by asking:

  • Will our audience understand and be interested in it?
  • Is this accurate and up to date for Oregonians?

Updating the content may be needed before entering on the new website. Not all web content is peer-reviewed although this is an option for those who want this step. The web team is looking into ways for peer-reviewed web articles to be attributed on the website, and analytics about that content provided to authors if needed.

Best Practices for Formatting Content

The format that the content is presented in matters too. In looking at what people read the most over this past summer, one type of content stands above the rest: “articles”. People can more easily find, read, and share “articles” on the website.

Content in articles are text and images on a webpage rather than a downloadable file. Converting a PDF to an article should be considered in all cases if less than 15 pages of content and includes only basic tables, simple diagrams, and photos. Articles can be printed directly from the screen, or shared other ways, if a handout is still needed.

Like in newsletters, the web content is best when it:

  • Provides clear and compelling title and introductory text
  • Speaks to the audience and answers common questions
  • Includes relevant images and headings to skim down the page
  • Uses bulleted lists for brief points and short readable paragraphs
  • Offers research based and practical information with a specific focus

Here’s an example of a popular article in the past week that includes some of these elements:

What are those “worms” in my firewood? 

You may have encountered white, segmented “worms” or grubs when chopping firewood and wondered what they were. Common questions include, did they kill my tree? And are they a danger to other trees? The quick answers are no, and no.

As content and program teams think about the upcoming season, ask “What are people going to be reading?” Then consider how to apply these best practices to existing content on the website or when creating new content this fall.

Here’s a quick update on what’s happening in the next two weeks, plus a checklist for content teams.

Status and timeline update:

  • Launch: We are still aiming for initial launch in March. Working toward this goal involves all of us–especially the project team, content teams, content owners, and program leaders. The ultimate “go live” decision will be made by Extension leadership, with input from program leaders and the project team.
  • Content entry: Our goal was to open the site to content teams for initial content entry in late January or early February. We’re pushing that to late February to ensure the experience is as productive and hassle-free as possible for content teams. The basic framework and functions are developed. We are taking extra time to be sure the back-end forms and front-end displays are clean, simple, and user-friendly.
  • This week, the project team is working on:
    • Permission testing (making sure content teams will be able to do what they need to do, and not see extraneous information and settings)
    • User testing (Four meetings with alpha testers are scheduled. These individuals will test the content entry process. We will note what works well, or is challenging or confusing, and make adjustments.)
    • Continued programming and basic design
  • Next week, the focus will be:
    • Creating basic training guides and short videos for content teams
    • Continued programming and basic design
    • As-needed advice and Q&A with content teams

Are you ready for content entry?

Content teams

Content teams are continuing to work together with colleagues statewide to organize content in preparation for initial content entry. We know several teams are in a holding pattern, having done as much organization and planning as possible until being able to see actual content in context in the new website. Here is a quick checklist for content teams.

Signs your team is ready for initial content entry

You have:

  • Identified primary audiences and goals for your content
  • Inventoried your content (You know what you are creating and where it “lives” now.)
  • Started to evaluate content (e.g., current, accurate, user-focused, relates to program goals)
  • Started to categorize content (e.g., type of content, related topics and keywords)
  • Set priorities, and have a general sense of what content is most important to have in the new system at launch

Everyone

If you have a question about specific content that you own or manage and haven’t yet had a conversation with the relevant content team, now’s the time!

The project team continues to make good progress on several Phase 1 milestones in the OSU Extension web upgrade project.

Identify/confirm contacts
Site managers and decision makers have been identified for each site. We appreciate your help!

Features & functions
In our last post, you learned we identified and prioritized features for development during Phase 1.  We have started development on selected features, starting with the people/locations directory.

Content strategy
On the “Learn with us” page on the project blog, we’ve added additional resources we’ve found useful in exploring, understanding, and applying content strategy. We invite you to learn alongside the project team. Check these out, and let us know your thoughts!

What’s next

  • Continue to develop Phase 1 features.
  • Continue to identify initial user-friendly tags/categories.
  • Continue to audit and prioritize content for main OSU Extension site, Phase 1.

Learn more
Visit the OSU Extension web upgrade project blog for more project details. Please contact the project team with any questions. Your feedback will help us improve our communication plan and the project blog, especially the FAQs.