Assess whether changes implemented to an Extension website increased website traffic and met user needs.
Use of Theory or Research
Social distancing, quarantining, and staying at home due to COVID-19 had significant impacts on media consumption (Nielson Insights, 2020). According to the Pew Research Center, about 53% of US adults reported the internet was essential for them during the pandemic, with another 34% saying it was important (Vogels et al, 2020).
General public and multiplier groups (eg, educators, health professionals, media).
The website team coordinated new, updated, and curated content for consumers and health professionals around timely food, nutrition and health information related to the pandemic.
Google Analytics was used to assess website statistics. A web feedback form was added to new articles. Social media was used to promote/market content.
Google Analytics (2019 vs 2020) showed increases in: pageviews (2.4 vs 3 million), site users (1.6 vs 2 million), and sessions (1.8 vs 2.4 million). There were positive increases in percent change for website traffic: direct traffic (36%); organic search (29%); and social media (53%). Specifically, positive increases in percent change for Facebook (112%) and Twitter (90%). Over 2,500 web feedback form responses were included in the analysis. Respondents said information was helpful to them (89%) and shared information with over 157,800 people (eg, friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, students, parents, clients, and seniors). Approximately 90% of responses were unique. Themes from open-ended comments included: helping keep families safe (food safety); recipes and activities for families at home with children; and food resource management tips.
Curating and creating content relevant to COVID-19 and promoting on social media increased website traffic. Using a standard web feedback form provided information about what content was useful to users. Templates and organizational structures helped state and county level Extension, support staff, and college students easily add content that was reviewed.