Blog Post for Monday July 22 2019

Take a video tour and hear feedback

Do you still have people calling to ask how to find things on the website? Have you not revisited the Extension website since after the launch? You may be surprised how things have changed over the past year. This tutorial walks you through the four key ways to get reoriented to the website.

Share this video with your colleagues and clients, and consider posting these announcements on social media or in newsletters this summer.

Take a tour of the updated OSU Extension Service website to see different ways to find the science-based information you want. https://youtu.be/zWC1UgT1qis

What’s the resource you’re looking for? Here’s 4 ways to find it on OSU Extension’s website. Watch now. https://youtu.be/zWC1UgT1qis

Interested in what’s changed about the OSU Extension’s website since you last looked? We welcome you to start exploring again. https://youtu.be/zWC1UgT1qis

Or send them to the “How to Use this Website” help page that is in the footer of the website. Also, when you talk with someone new or respond to an email, consider asking how this person found you. What did they Google? Why did they click on your resource? What did they do once on the site? You may be pleased to hear what they found and what else would be of interest.

Web updates

You’ll notice several new places where we are collecting feedback directly from website visitors to inform our work.

To see the comments, web groups can click a “Feedback” tab on your content or group pages when logged in.

Also, a reminder to add the photo credit and/or required citation (e.g. Creative Commons attribution) when adding an image to the site. Just click on the “Edit” button after uploading it to find the caption, photo credit and photo credit link fields. This can be helpful when we get contacted from outside media that want to reprint an article or use an image.

When a change happens, there’s a lot of fluidity in roles with some people pitching in where needed. At a certain point into the transition, clarity is needed to outline current expectations and responsibilities. This helps working relationships and goals be more defined, and taps into the strengths and interests of each member of a group.

Last week we shared our new guide on working on the Extension website, and it included updated roles for all who are involved with the web project and the long-term digital strategy. These roles are shaped by the guiding criteria of the “right people doing the right things”.

Roles and Responsibilities

Focusing in on just a few responsibilities at a time may make the way forward more manageable. Some of the suggested focuses for 2019 are highlighted in “Getting Started with Content” in the new guide. Full roles and responsibilities are also outlined:

Everyone in a content team or program or county office group can learn how to add content to the website. The team or group can also designate a member to be “publishing editor” who does the entry or this assignment can rotate. There is flexibility in how the roles fit for your team or group (see the points of contact for each team or group).

Working on the website can be more effective when you meet as a group and discuss, for example, “How does your content address the questions being asked by your audiences?” This collaborative inquiry can make your content more engaging too.

EESC can facilitate interactive workshops for your team this year to define your website goals, plan your content strategy, or map out your process in making the roles fit for your team or group. Contact the web team with your ideas and requests.

Over the last months, as you scroll down our digital strategy blog, we have shared various tips for managing content on the Extension website. Let’s revisit these to see what may be worth using in  upcoming quarters.

  1. Did you know most fields you need to fill in when adding content on the Extension site are searchable? Just place your cursor in the select field and start typing. A list will pop up to select from, such as the name of the county or a list of OSU authors.
  2. Keywords allow content to show higher in search results, and help you and visitors to narrow down the results too. You can add them using these keyword guidelines.
  3. For content that doesn’t use keywords (e.g. program resources, events), any important words that someone may want to search on to find the content should be somewhere in the text or title.
  4. To capture your effort as a content team leader in your P&T CV, document it in Digital Measures under “Other Assigned Duties.” Content you write or edit can be added under “Publications.”
  5. When you see a Program Resource list you want to reorder, click on the pencil icon that appears next to the list’s title and select “reorder items”.
  6. If you are hosting a virtual event or webinar, you can now select “online only” as the location. If your event is the same time and location on several different days, then you can mark the “event occurs multiple times in a specified period” checkbox to only have to enter it once.
  7. The Equal Opportunity and Accessibility statement is already on every page of the Extension website linked in the footer, so you only need to add it to downloadable documents on the website.
  8. For best results when posting applications (such as for Master Gardener trainings), add the application’s file or link as a “program resource” that displays on a “How to Join” sub-page. Then create an announcement that references that program resource or the page itself.
  9. When you save a piece of content, you can enter a “Revision log message” to describe the changes you made or why you made them. These messages get displayed in the content’s Revisions tab.
  10. A simple way to add new content to the website could be taking a newsletter or blog piece you have written recently and turning that into an article useful for your audiences.

Is there a suggestion that has worked well for you? Share it with our web team.

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.

With more than one way to add a program application to the Extension website – as an announcement, a program resource, an event, or text on a sub-page – how does one decide the best approach? One case example could help give insight into this question.

We took a closer look at 16 Master Gardener training programs* that had an electronic application (printable PDF or online form) linked from the website to see the audience’s actions.

What did we find?

  • Application links were seen more than 10,000 times and were clicked/downloaded nearly 2,000 times. This is a good 20% conversion rate (i.e. the number who downloaded or clicked on the application, divided by the number who viewed it).
  • Among the Master Gardener programs, 8 uploaded the application and 7 linked to it (1 did both). The applications available for download performed better.**
  • Only one program put a direct link to the application on their main program landing page, but they didn’t have higher success in conversion rate than anyone else.
  • However, programs that had an “announcement” showing on their main program landing page had higher average conversion rates. We could interpret this to mean that people who are specifically looking for applications with the intent to fill them out, find them through announcements.

  • Links to applications that were shown on a sub-page (usually the “How to Join” page) were seen more often than those that were only shown in an announcement or event. We could interpret this to mean that people who are not yet decided about applying or who are learning about it for the first time, find it through the sub-page menus.

Recommendation

Add the file or link to the application as a “program resource” that displays on a “How to Join” sub-page. Then create an announcement that references that program resource or the page itself.

Do you have other questions that you want to see if analytics can answer about your audiences? Get in touch with the web team to ask your question.

 

* The remaining Master Gardener programs asked visitors to get in touch with a person to apply or receive application materials, so these need to be tracked off-line.
**It would be useful for all the programs to see how many people actually submitted applications once they clicked to an online form or downloaded a PDF application. In the future digital strategy, online forms may be preferable for ease of processing and tracking applications.

Just in the past week, website communications with various county, program, and content teams about how to better search on the Extension site led to one convergent idea:

  • Keywords don’t often take me to the publication I want.”
  • “The way material appears (or doesn’t) seems to be highly dependent on keywords.”
  • “I didn’t know the right keywords to use in order to access the information I wanted.”
  • “I’ll need to give our working group members info about [keywords], so their work is findable.”

The content teams responsible for entering educational content (e.g. articles, videos, etc.) not only will want to “tag” all content with a topic, regions, languages, but any additional tags would get typed into the “keywords” field.

Additionally, for content that doesn’t use keywords (e.g. program resources, events), any important words that someone may want to search on to find the content should be somewhere in the text or title.

The more thought put in to this up front, the easier it will be to find the content again later on.

Keyword Guidelines

Keywords are the only “tags” on the site that requires content authors to type in their custom word instead of selecting it, so please follow these guidelines while doing this.

If you’re not the only one to enter content on a certain topic, you could create a “keywords to use” guide for your working group and other web content teams that may be contributing relevant content. These types of suggestion tools can be loaded into Box and shared.

You can also send EESC a list of keywords you want added to specific catalog publications, since keywords are a new field in that system. This way when catalog publications import to the Extension website, they will be easier to find.

Keywords Use

Keywords allow content to show higher in search results, and help you and visitors to narrow down the results too.

 

The URL from those filtered searches can also be copied to share with others or put into the orange “button links” on program, county, and topic pages.

Search the Extension Website

Dairy Topic Page (Edit Screen)

Dairy Topic Page (Saved View)

Do you need further training on this or have other questions or suggestions? Let the web team know.