This spring, we launched a feature on the Extension website called “focus areas”. These allow counties to highlight the work they do around a particular topic or topics, and were intended to serve as a link for visitors between the statewide educational content on topic pages and locally relevant events and programming on county pages. Now that focus areas have been live for a few months, we took a look at analytics to see how effective they have been in meeting the goals we had for them.

Here are the basic stats for focus area pages, for the period of March 20, 2019 – August 7, 2019:

  • Pageviews: 3,655
  • Average time on page: 1 min. 17 sec.
  • % Entrances (views where it was the first page viewed on the site): 26.59%
  • % Exits (views where it was the last page viewed on the site): 28.78%
  • % New visitors: 61.53%

These stats (the low time on page, entrance, and exit rates) suggest that visitors are using focus area pages as a navigation tool on the way to the content they want to see. This is what we want to see. Additionally, the percentage of returning visitors to focus areas is significantly higher than for the site as a whole (38.47% vs. 13.12%). 

Here is a graph showing how visitors get to focus areas:

A majority (~57%) of visitors to focus areas click on focus areas from a county page. Of those, around 35% do so on the county’s landing page. The second most common way people get to focus areas is by searching on Google or another search engine, which makes up a majority of the “Entrances” in the graph above.

On focus area pages, counties can:

  • Select topics to direct visitors to and related experts to contact in their county. 
  • List programs and events offered in the county related to that topic. 
  • Highlight individual pieces of educational content that are especially relevant to their county, such as newsletters. 

Here is a graph describing where people go from focus areas:

We see that 37.86% of visitors find content of interest and click to it from the focus area – if this type of information has been featured. Watch or read how to do this in our Website User Guide.

Finally, here are the top 10 visited focus areas up to now:

  1. HAREC Plant Pathology Diagnostic Laboratory Services
  2. Douglas County Home Garden and Landscape
  3. Benton County Forestry and Natural Resources
  4. Douglas County Forestry and Natural Resources
  5. Deschutes County Home Garden and Landscape
  6. Lane County Home Garden and Landscape
  7. Washington County Home Garden and Landscape
  8. Lane County Forestry and Natural Resources
  9. NWREC Berry Crops
  10. Douglas County Livestock and Forages

Ideas for improving county focus areas

Here are some things you can do as a member of a county group to improve your county focus areas:

  • If you offer services at your office, make sure to add them to the website. Some of the more popular focus areas are those that give information about services for the public, such as laboratory services, pressure gage testing, and supplies for checkout.
  • Make sure to tag your county events with a topic. Events are displayed on focus areas based on the topic(s) they are tagged with. Analytics show that a lot of visitors to focus areas are interested in the events listed there.

EESC will also use this data to make design and functionality improvements for focus areas, which may potentially include making them more visible on topic landing pages or linking to them from content pages themselves.

Recent website updates

OSU recently updated the version of WordPress used for their blog platform. If you use an OSU WordPress site you will see some changes, including a new text editing interface called the Gutenberg Editor. Links to training instructions have been added to the OSU WordPress instructions. Please contact us if you need any help with the new editor, including turning it off.

This summer the OSU Extension website turned one! With one year of analytic data on how people are using the site, we have more insight into how the site is performing and how things have changed since launch.

Basic site stats

June 1, 2018 – June 1, 2019

  • Pageviews: 2,826,166 (up 107% from previous year)
  • Document downloads: 314,605
  • Average time on site: 1 min. 34 sec. (up 71% from the previous year)
  • Bounce rate: 66.77%

Content type stats

Content type Views/downloads/clicks Avg. time on page
News story 481,653 5 min. 53 sec.
Article 344,624 4 min. 39 sec.
Program landing page 312,666 1 min. 2 sec.
Program subpage 278,857 1 min. 46 sec.
County landing page 155,697 1 min. 51 sec.
Featured question 141,128 5 min. 18 sec.
Topic landing page 136,122 1 min.
Catalog publication 128,372 N/A
Event 112,987 2 min. 21 sec.
Program resource 111,952 N/A
Collection 54,827 1 min. 38 sec.
Focus area/county subpage 38,953 1 min. 11 sec.
Online resource 36,396 N/A
Announcement 21,679 1 min. 33 sec.
Educational document 20,107 N/A
Social media link 19,308 N/A
Newsletter 16,854 1 min. 59 sec.
Newsletter issue 14,922 1 min. 16 sec.
Project 7,850 3 min. 3 sec.
Video 4,721 2 min. 22 sec.
Project subpage 562 1 min. 21 sec.

Top 10 visited pages

  1. Small Farms landing page (75,663)
  2. Home page (75,159)
  3. Are there male and female peppers? (61,318)
  4. Don’t be timid when pruning grapes (33,179)
  5. Programs list (28,647)
  6. What are short day and long day plants? (25,163)
  7. Monthly garden calendars (23,910)
  8. Locations list (23,665)
  9. State Master Gardener landing page (23,315)
  10. Gardening topic landing page (22,952)

How visitors get to the site

  • Search (e.g. Google): 839,379
  • Social media: 68,809
  • Links from other sites: 56,815
  • Other (email links, bookmarks, typing URL from printed material, etc.): 173,528

Top search terms

What people search for once on the Extension site:

  1. 4-H or 4H: 832
  2. Soil testing or soil test: 719
  3. Compost tea or compost tea brewer: 673
  4. Horse: 384
  5. Jobs: 345
  6. Master Gardener: 330
  7. Canning: 297
  8. Forms: 275
  9. Calendar: 262
  10. Blueberries: 230

What people put into search engines (e.g. Google) to arrive on the Extension site:

  1. OSU extension service (or similar): 1,195
  2. [county or city] extension: 944
  3. Feeding bees dried sugar: 212
  4. Maggots in compost: 131
  5. What do quail eat: 107
  6. Pruning apple trees in summer: 76
  7. Food preservation 68
  8. What do robins eat: 67
  9. Glycemic load chart: 53
  10. Fungus gnats: 51

Changes since launch

As more content has been added to the site, the number of people visiting the site has increased. In June 2018, 81,755 users visited the site, while 109,065 visited in June 2019 (70% increase).

People appear  to have an easier time finding what they need. Usage of search was slightly lower June 2019 than June 2018, meaning people are having more success finding what they need through browsing. Additionally, the number of pages people visit in a session has gone down, while the average time spent on a page is up. This suggests that people don’t need to view as many pages to find what they are looking for.

Going forward

Over the next year, EESC will continue to collect data from web analytics. We will also begin to collect qualitative information through usability testing, site surveys, feedback forms, interviews, and more.

Thank you

A sincere thank you to everyone who has helped make the website a success by: entering content, reviewing documentation and help materials, asking questions at webinars and trainings, meeting with us to discuss content strategy, or any of the other ways Extension faculty and staff have contributed to our web presence. We hope  this time next year we will have even better results to share with you.

Use topic pages and tags so visitors find educational content

When visitors come to the Extension website, they want to see what information we have to answer the question on their mind or to discover what’s new. Topic menu pages (which include the landing page and the “Browse all Resources” pages for each topic) are a primary way for them to browse educational content.

  • Topic landing pages: 122,450 pageviews, 78% of visitors clicked on a link
  • Topic “browse all resources” pages: 15,038 pageviews (since rollout in October), 86% of visitors clicked on a link

The data shows that content is much more likely to be seen if it is tagged with a topic. On average, a piece of content on the site has received 57  views/downloads/clicks since November 2018. However, pieces of content tagged with at least one topic have received an average of 69 during the same time.

This effect is even greater if the content is featured on a topic landing page. Pageviews/downloads/clicks of content increases threefold (average of 319%) while the content is featured on a topic landing page compared to the period before it was featured.

What you can do to make sure visitors see your educational content:

  • Make sure to tag educational content with a topic. For most content types, the field where you can select the topic is in the second collapsed section on the edit screen.
  • If you tag content with a topic, be sure to also tag it with useful keywords so it is easier to find on the topic’s “Browse all resources” page. See the Tagging Guidelines in the Extension website guide.
  • Work with the topic’s committee to feature content that is especially important to audiences or seasonally relevant. Learn more about topic committees.

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.

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!