We want people to understand what OSU Extension does and how it is relevant for their lives. This isn’t easy, we provide resources for many topics and our impact is challenging to summarize.
Below are some tips when writing for county pages:
Make it easy to read
- Read the text out loud. Are there sentences where you need to slow down? Is the sentence long? Try breaking the information up into smaller sentences. Consider removing some information.
- Write for a general audience. The target audience for county landing pages is the general public. Aim for an eighth-grade reading level. Use terms that are general and understandable for people unfamiliar with OSU Extension. Avoid using program names and internal jargon when possible.
- Write directly to the reader: Whenever possible use ‘you’. We serve you. Avoid ‘clientele’, ‘customers’, and ‘audience’.
- More tips: See writing for the web.
- Helpful tools:
- Hemingway Editor: Estimates the reading level. Highlights text that is hard to read. Is free. See how to use Hemingway Editor.
- Jargon tool: A very easy way to see what words are jargon. Rates how well the words are known.
Tips for planning your website text
The county page design has places to share different parts of our story.
County landing page
Show the ways this county helps Oregonians; The breadth and relevance of OSU Extension; And the many ways they can learn with us. Keep it brief. Keep the words simple and easy to understand. And very easy to scan.
We recommend using this text:
OSU Extension in Malheur County
OSU Extension’s network of teachers, experts, mentors and volunteers is at your service, across Oregon and here at home. Learning with you. Sharing knowledge. Putting lessons into practice.
When we work together, we can create positive change in our communities. Helping farmers and gardeners grow healthy foods. Strengthening our economic and ecological future. Helping people of all ages, families and communities thrive. And much more. We’re here to help.
How we serve you
We provide reliable, research-based education and advice to help you make informed decisions. Access is affordable—often free. Learn through one-on-one conversations with experts, workshops, conferences, publications, hotlines, online classes, and youth development clubs and activities.
This paragraph was developed by Ann Marie Murphy, our OSU Extension Marketing Manager. The text matches the language we’ll use for the new OSU Extension brochure.
OSU Extension in Malheur County is a road sign to show users where they are on the site.
For the intro, avoid sharing how we work — or who we are (this comes later). Don’t include:
- Our program names
- About trained-volunteers
- Community partners
- Academic terms (use ‘gardening’ instead of ‘horticulture’)
- Complex things we do, using terms the general public isn’t very familiar with: ‘collaborative community coalitions’ or ‘family and community health’
- The word: problem(s)
First we help them understand what we do, then we tell them how or why we do it.
‘What we do’ page
This is a great place to share more details on how we help Oregonians. And how we provide our services.
We recommend using this text:
OSU Extension faculty, staff, and trained volunteers work alongside partners across Deschutes County to provide educational workshops, activities, and services tailored to the unique industries, natural resources, and people in our communities. [Optional history info, for example: We’ve been working in Jefferson County since 1935.]
Oregon State University’s land grant mission drives us to conduct research and share research-based education to minimize community risk, improve economic vitality, and promote personal and environmental health.
[Optional partnership info, for example: OSU Extension is a partnership of USDA at the federal level, OSU at the state level, and Harney County.]
We don’t recommend including:
- Our program names (i.e. Family and Community Health). Include this information on focus areas.
Note: The “what we do” section provides some concrete examples of information that can be learned about in this county. About section can be a great place to include impact information, this displays further down on the page.
Create concise, easy to understand titles.
- Is the title is getting too complicated? Perhaps there are too many topics contained within one focus area. Try breaking it into multiple focus areas.
- Is the title too long? Try removing some of the information or adding it to the description.
- Home food preservation and safety
- Small Farms
- Field crops
- Nutrition and healthy living
- Youth activities
Briefly outline the benefits. The description text shows on the “What we do page”.
Example title and description:
Activities for youth: 4-H empowers young people with hands-on learning experiences to help them grow and thrive. By creating a safe and welcoming environment, young people develop the skills needed to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Home garden and landscape: We provide research-based information for backyard gardeners and green industry professionals, including regional specific information.
Working together on county pages
We will be collaborating with each county on developing their county pages. This will include optimizing the use of the website’s design, refining landing pages and creating focus areas.
- Checkout the updates to the statewide 4-H including user-friendly menu and the great way they are using the website’s designs! Nice work!
- There is a new youth development topic page. It is ready for programs and focus areas to add this topic tag to your content. Educational content for the public can show on this topic page.