A step-by-step guide for creating landing page for an event utilizing Page Sections

Audience:  Content or program team members

Recently I was tasked with creating a page listing keynote talks for an upcoming keynote series for Elevate Extension. While working on this I thought it might be helpful to share my approach to this request with a step-by-step tutorial. This tutorial includes productivity tips and best practices that you may find useful for other projects you might be involved with down the road. 

The request was to create a page listing all of the keynote speakers for the event. Each keynote needs to include the following information:

  • title of talk
  • speaker’s county or region
  • name of speaker
  • headshot photo
  • abstract
  • speaker’s biography
  • link to download the presentation slide deck (from Box)

Planning

This page will contain a lot of content for seven keynote talks, so some planning is in order. I like to start by quickly sketching out a few rough ideas with all of the elements. Since the page will be quite long, I decided to use a Tabbed section to cut down on the length of the page. The first tab will display the keynote title, speaker and headshot photo, another tab for the biography, and another tab with a link to the presentation.

Now that we know how we want the page structured the next step is to locate all of the resources for the page.

Gathering resources

I like to pull together all of the resources I’ll need before creating the page. To help me stay organized, I created a folder for each talk that includes the headshot photo, keynote abstract, biography, etc. I want to use online resources for the presentation tab’s content. These need to be created before we can link to them to the page.

Creating online resources for the presentations

The presentations will be linked to from Box. We’ll want to include a thumbnail image to display as the teaser image. The simplest way to create a thumbnail is to use PowerPoint’s Export… function. 

  1. Open the presentation in PowerPoint
  2. From the File menu select Export …
  3. Choose either PNG or JPG for the File format then select the Save Current Slide Only option. Save file to the folder created for each keynote

  4. Instead of linking to the actual PowerPoint file, we suggest converting it to a PDF and then linking to the PDF instead of the PowerPoint file. PDF file sizes are generally much smaller and you don’t need PowerPoint in order to view the presentation
  5. From the File menu Save As … and choose PDF as the file format
  6. Repeat the above steps for each presentation
  7. Upload the PDFs to a Box folder. 
  8. Create a shared link for each PDF. See our webguide for detailed  instructions. 
  9. Copy all the shared links to a text file noting which presentation each link is for. We’ll use them in the next step.

From your Group Dashboard, create an online resource for each presentation.

Building the event page

  1. From your group dashboard,  click the Add Subpage button

  2. In  the Page Sections area, Add Text

  3. Enter Session title and county/region
  4. Add Tabbed section

  5. Enter a Tab title for first tab (Name of speaker)
  6. Add Two-column section

  7. Add Image to Left Column Content

  8. Upload a new image or existing image.

  9. Add Text to Right Column Content
  10. Copy and paste abstract text (session description) from Word

This completes the first tab.

Next we’ll add the Biography tab 

  1. Add Tab
  2. Enter Tab title (Biography)
  3. Add Text
  4. Copy and paste biography text from Word

Now add the Presentation tab 

  1. Add Tab 
  2. Enter Tab title (Presentation)
  3. Add Featured content
  4. Select Featured content
  5. Locate and select the Online resource previously created for the first speaker, then click the Finish button to add resource
  6. Save page 
  7. Review page to confirm that the layout for the first speaker looks like the screenshot below

Now that the first keynote has been added, we will use this as a template for the other keynotes. 

Adding the additional keynotes

    1. From the edit screen click Collapse all page sections

    2. Add text and enter the next speakers session title

    3. Click the three vertical dots in the Tabbed section row, then select Duplicate

    4. Replace titles, text, featured content, and photo for each tab
    5. Collapse all page sections again
    6. Repeat steps 1-5 for each speaker
    7. Save

Teaser settings

  1. Add a Thumbnail image and short description (~150 characters). The thumbnail and summary/description are displayed in search results and used when sharing the page with social media. 
  2. Save

Changing the order of the keynotes

    1. From the edit screen, click Collapse all page sections

    2. Click and drag the arrow controls symbol up or down to change the order. Do this for both the Text and Tabbed section
    3. Save

Final result



Key takeaways

  • The time spent planning and organizing all of the resources before creating the page will save a lot of time and frustration
  • Using the Duplicate feature assures consistency and is a time saver
  • Online resources linking to PDF files instead of PowerPoint, Excel, or Word are more accessible, and have smaller file sizes resulting in faster download times.

Refer to the Navigator Blog and the Extension Website User Guide for more ideas, tips and best practices. 

 


Website updates

Page section duplication

Most page sections can now be Duplicated by clicking the three vertical dots and selecting Duplicate.

As natural disasters affect many communities across Oregon, people contact Extension and search online to get quick answers, to learn more on the subject and to get more expertise in it.

During the peak time during recent wildfires, visitors to the Extension website more than doubled to 18,000 daily compared to the usual 7,000 daily in the weeks before and after. It was also a slight increase in those viewing from mobile devices (65% vs. 57%).

The information people needed did not just come from Extension’s Forestry and Natural Resources Fire Program (627 pageviews) and their events, but also content from Extension’s other program areas. Extension Communications worked with Extension leaders, content team leaders and faculty and staff to coordinate coverage online.

Where can we direct people to find current information?

Topic pages

Already having topic pages that curate content in one place on the Extension website helped with timely turnaround needed.

A quick review of existing topic pages helped to add new calls to actions and feature relevant content. New content produced also automatically appeared under latest resources and news. The relevant topic pages included:

  • Fire (1858 pageviews in September)

Fire topic page with Announcement about Post-Fire Webinar Series and below that a call to action box "Learn what is happening in your community" with link to the Fire Program

Family Emergency Preparedness topic page with announcement about community emergency Wi-Fi access and a call to action box for Oregonians to stay safe and informed with link to State of Oregon resource hub

Community Disaster Preparedness topic page with Announcement for Livestock hay and feed donation request at top and a call to action with link to "real-time map of fires in Oregon"

New content related to smoke and ash information also could easily be tagged to show on related livestock, gardening, health outreach, food safety and wine grapes topic pages.

Announcements

Similarly, ways to easily tag announcements to show across the Extension website helped with quick notifications to communities no matter where they enter the site.

Extension Communications coordinated with Extension leaders and county web coordinators on announcements to appear on county pages and any related topic pages. These included:

  • Livestock hay donations (289 pageviews in September)
  • Safety alert closures of offices (198 pageviews)
  • Emergency community wi-fi access (55 pageviews)
  • Disaster relief support and mask distributions (44 pageviews)

Employee intranet

The employee resources website also provided a place to share internal information on administrative and communication questions that arose on the wildfire issue.

Updates to the wildfire information resources for Extension employees webpage had 160 pageviews in September. It offers expense tracking, activity reporting and volunteering information that will be useful to know for any emerging issue.

Top page of the Employee Intranet Wildfire Information - shows smoke image with box with link under heading "Stay safe and informed"

How do we get new content that our audiences need online quickly?

Most visitors to the website arrive directly on our educational content. Extension faculty crafted multiple new articles and answered Ask an Expert questions to publish on the Extension site during the peak of the wildfires.

It’s great when we have original, trusted content to promote and that our educators are taking time to do that. Here’s some of the results for month of September:

  1. What should I do about the wildfire ash covering my yard and garden? | new Featured Ask an Expert question – 45,334 pageviews
  2. Take precautions when wildfire ash falls on fruits and vegetables | new News story – 30,439 pageviews
  3. Is it safe to eat my garden produce affected by wildfires? | new Featured Ask an Expert question – 16,972 pageviews
  4. What effect will the 2020 fires have on bees? | new Web article – 4734 pageviews
  5. After a wildfire | existing Web article – 1671 pageviews
  6. Fire-Resistant Plants for Home Landscapes and Fire-Resistant Landscape Plants for the Willamette Valley | existing Catalog publications — 1531 combined pageviews
  7. During a wildfire | existing Web article – 1214 pageviews
  8. The Home Ignition Zone: Protecting Your Property from Wildfire | existing Catalog publication – 1180 pageviews
  9. Fire FAQs—Who owns Oregon’s forests, and how does that matter when it comes to fire? | existing Catalog publication — 977 pageviews
  10. Impact of Smoke Exposure on Wine | existing Catalog publication – 752 pageviews
  11. Animal exposure to wildfire smoke | new Web article – 627 pageviews
  12. Fire FAQs—What is forest fuel, and what are fuel treatments? | existing Catalog publication — 533 pageviews
  13. Improve indoor air quality from wildfire smoke during COVID-19 | new Web article – 512 pageviews
  14. OSU Extension assists with livestock rescue efforts as Oregonians flee fires | new News story – 473 pageviews
  15. Once the smoke clears: A guide to safety start working and riding your horse | new Web article – 403 pageviews

Also added were key “online resources” from government sources or other Extension colleagues, especially bilingual content on evacuation safety, wildfire smoke, and fire prevention.

Where time is of the essence, some of the most timely ways to publish content are:

  • Ask an Expert question/answer (Extension Communications monitors and can add timely, relevant content as “featured questions” to the Extension website.)
  • Publish a new article, or revise an existing one (Post through your content team.)
  • Add an online resource through your content team (Link to a credible outside source.)

You may also be interviewed for news stories published by Extension Communications writers.

Later, your team may also want to revise or create a new peer-reviewed Extension Catalog publication.

People are taking the time to fully read this information too – often spending over five minutes and more on each article. Together all this online content captured ways Extension educates, collaborates and supports efforts in the state when natural disasters happen.

How can we best let people know about our useful resources?

If you create content based on questions you’re hearing from our audiences or other trends, then there will likely be more interest when you share it. The pieces of content that attracted most pageviews also had about 45% who arrived via Facebook social media referrals.

Sometimes how you present it on social media helps too. One piece of wildfire content had over half its views come from Facebook. This could be because of the post’s creative photo slideshow about 4-H assistance with rescued livestock.

During this time, the most popular Facebook post shared urgent tips right in the message if they clicked to see more.

Post with infographic "When the fire nears you... Anticipating an evacuation? Steps to take now" with steps listed. Shared 747 times and 29 comments.

Direct referrals to the online content, such as from your email distribution lists, also increased. During this wildfire peak time, 34% arrived from a direct URL compared to around 13% other weeks in September.

While we featured this new and timely content each day on the Extension homepage, the OSU Alumni website also featured our information on their site too. What other partners do you know of that highlighted our content on their sites?

When the next natural disaster comes to Oregon, such as a water-related emergency, keep in mind these ways that your content can be nimble and ready to go when needed.

A trip to the apple orchard this past weekend led to rows of trees available for picking. Fallen apples lay scattered across the ground; low branches held a few ripe pieces in easy reach. This season, the website content is in a similar situation. Fallen apples represent the bushels of content that need to be cleaned up. The low hanging fruit is a handful of easy tasks to get started on.

If we want our visitors engaged and involved with Extension, then we have to be active too in providing relevant and current resources. If our online content becomes outdated, such as an article with crop statistics from 2002, then potential clients may begin to wonder about our advice. It’s easy enough to update, or leave out, time-dated information if it’s not essential to the article.

Updating your web content maintains trust and loyalty with Extension’s audiences. It also helps search engine optimization and builds the confidence of new visitors about our authority on the topics.

Cleaning the content

A year ago, the majority of archived county and program sites on Drupal 6 sites went away for good. The flurry in putting content on the new website meant some content didn’t get thoroughly reviewed. Others got left in Box unless someone asked for it.

Do you have content that needs a second look? Some of the low hanging tasks could include:

  • Look on your groups page, filter by “events” and archive any old events that no longer need to be visible to the public.
  • Ask EESC for a spreadsheet that shows all content for your group listed by publication date. Then start reviewing the oldest among them. If you’re unsure it’s worth updating, search around to see if there’s content that is similar or think about how it could be repurposed.
  • Look at the the Box files or content in your groups folder marked “draft” to see what could still be reviewed and published.

While you need to look for accuracy and completeness of the content, EESC is contributing to this process too.

  • The publishing team is copyediting your published content. Also, they are adding formatting that helps with website readability. They are currently 20% through all the web articles.
  • The web and content strategy team is fixing broken links and changing published content to correct content types. This mostly means changing educational documents to more accessible articles.
  • The administrative team is tagging catalog publications to improve findability. They are also helping with missing photos or image quality.

You can keep track of what we’re doing by looking at the “Revisions” notes tab of your content when logged in. If there are major changes, then we will email you directly with questions. Learn more in the web guide.

Keeping on top of content’s health is best managed when pruned a little each day over the winter months. Set a maintenance plan, and then come spring your resources will be fresh and ready for new growth. This will make our web visitors very happy.


Web updates

In case you missed it, last week’s blog post shared what Salesforce looks like to someone using it. This can help you in better understanding how a CRM (customer relationship management system) works.

Thank you to all the Extension program area leaders for sharing your goals with EESC in October. This will help inform our communications and content strategy over the next year. Stay tuned!