At the OSU Extension Service we do great work and want to make sure people can find the content that is most useful to them. In the second phase of the website upgrade, we will look at the web visitor’s experience to further design the navigation on the site, and we will listen to faculty and staff about better organizing content on topic or program pages. Watch this web upgrade project blog for future updates.

For now, the Search feature, easily found at the top of every page, assists visitors to find what they need regardless of a curated topic or program page. Just type in “Central Oregon” or “Integrated Pest Management” for example, and it looks for this reference in any of the content fields and across the site. It’s a robust feature that never gets outdated. Here’s a how-to video that shows you how to search our site.

Narrowing down search results

However, if search turns up a lot of results, then this is where the tags – such as keywords or regions – come in handy in further narrowing down the search results.

Just check one or more of the filter boxes that appear on the search result pages, and it will give you just the content tagged for those terms. Currently only 5% of visitors, who used search in the past two weeks, used these filters. A third of visitors instead tried a more specific search term in the search field. Here’s the most common search refinements in the past two weeks:

  1. Hogweed -> giant hogweed
  2. Horse fair -> Clackamas county horse fair
  3. Jobs -> employment
  4. 4-h -> 4-h summer conference
  5. Cherries -> canning cherries

Search keeps visitors on the site

Visitor sessions that used search features in the past two weeks browsed through more pages and stayed longer on the website than the site average.

Those that used search filters visited twice the number of pages and stayed double the time on the site than those who only used the search field. They saw more and hopefully learned more. Though, everyone spends about the same amount of time on average (just over a minute per page) reading the actual content they find.

Making good content available on the website and also making it more digestible is something we can do now. While we work on the second stage design, encourage visitors to use the search field and filters to find what they are looking for, and they may also discover new information along the way.

Webinar Trainings

Are you responsible for adding content to the website that people may be seeking?

If so, we have a couple webinars coming up that take you behind-the-scenes to:

  • Answer frequently asked questions,
  • Review roles & responsibilities, and
  • Show how to select & display content on pages.

It’s a new approach for many, so join us for the upcoming webinars:

June 5, 1-2 pm, Web Content Webinar for 4-H County Programs

June 12, 9:30–10:30 am, Webinar for Extension Faculty/Staff Working on the Website

The June 12 webinar will give a chance for web teams that are related with programs or county/combined sites to hear more about the content teams work too. While not required, it can help if you’ve reviewed the training and support resources first, or have tried adding to the website, so that it isn’t completely new to you before the webinar. As always EESC welcomes your questions and suggestions before, during, and after the webinars.

If you joined us Monday afternoon for the New Website Overview webinar (watch the webinar recording), then you heard how Search is the main way to navigate our new website. Many more people are taking advantage of the Search features, according to analytics from pre- and post-launch, making the Search page the top visited page over this past weekend.

10 most visited pages over this weekend

  1. Search page
  2. Home Page
  3. Programs List
  4. Gardening top-level topic
  5. Find Us page (locations)
  6. 4-H main page (statewide)
  7. Animals and Livestock second-level topic
  8. Master gardener main page (statewide)
  9. Article: How long do garden seeds last?
  10. Featured question: Raised bed lumber, pressure treated safe?

Most common search terms (used on the site) over the weekend

  1. “compost tea”
  2. “compost tea brewer”
  3. “horse”
  4. “record book”
  5. “canning”
  6. “compost”
  7. “horse fair”
  8. “blueberries”
  9. “cool form”
  10. “fair book”

Twice as many people visited the Extension website after the launch and are staying twice as long to view more than one page, compared to the previous weekend on our old site.

County teams can now begin adding announcements, events, sub-pages, and social media links! View our Friday county webinar for the details. Also refer to the managing county content guide for specifics on entering content.

All teams (topic, program, county):
As more content gets added to the website, keep sending us your questions and suggestions. It helps to clarify if you’re on the right track before you enter too much content. Your suggestions help us to make needed changes, too.

Tips for content entry

When entering in your content, remember to:

  • Make sure any links do not point to content on the current Extension website (URL includes http://extension.oregonstate.edu/)
  • Include a thumbnail image, so that it looks unique on the landing pages (when in the edit screen, click the thumbnail button to upload)
  • Tag your content in Step 2 of the edit screen with the topics, programs, and/or counties it may relate to (so it can show up across the site in all relevant places)

Content: Good examples

As more content is entered, we’ll show examples of well-formatted content on the site. This week we highlight this article: Hay Options – When You’re Short on Hay

  • It uses short paragraphs with the key point in the first line of each.
  • The headings make it easy to skim.
  • The style of writing to “you” is welcoming.
  • The tips are clear and helpful.

Next week we’ll look for an example of a well-formatted program landing page or county sub-page to share. Here’s a video with instructions on making a sub-landing page.

What’s next

We are still designing the topic landing pages and will continue to work with content team leaders on this. If you have suggestions or questions, please let us know.

UPDATE: Thank you for your participation in the survey! The survey has been closed. If you would like to provide additional feedback please contact us.


The Extension Website Upgrade project has entered the strategy phase, and we need your input to help us to create a next-generation OSU Extension web presence that is user-focused, easier to manage, and truly awesome.

We invite you to take the OSU Extension Website Upgrade: Employee Survey by Friday, June 17. This is your opportunity to provide feedback on our current web presence, information on web content management, and input on priorities for the upgrade. It should take less than 15 minutes to complete.

You’ll remember from the project Discovery Report that this employee survey complements our external, user-focused research.

Questions? Please let us know.

Thank you!

—Your Web Steering Committee
Jeff Hino, Tamara Hill-Tanquist, Brooke Edmunds, Ann Marie Murphy, Alisha Atha, Patrick Proden and Victor Villegas