Our Michigan State University Extension educators write regular articles for our website, and we often find that their superb content gets a lot of attention from the public. Recently, we’ve had an article go practically viral very quickly after it was posted on Feb. 24. Dan O’Keefe’s article, “Asian Carp Being Eaten by Native Fish, New Studies Find,” quickly passed the 1,000-visit mark, and it is currently the most-read article on the MSU Extension website at 7,791 page views in less than a month.
Within days of the article’s publication, it exceeded even the traffic of the home page of the MSU Extension website. Adding to the traffic, the article was featured in Blue Water Satellite, an e-newsletter that focuses on Great Lakes issues. The biggest push of traffic came from Facebook, however, with more than 5,000 visits so far to the article directly. This post has attracted a lot of cumulative attention due to the timely nature of the study, the well-researched content, and the sharing on social networks that our friends and partners have done for us.
Great job, Dan!
Our MSUE Web site, driven largely by our news articles and events postings, hit an all-time record earlier this week. On Monday, March 11, we had 3,403 unique visitors to our Web site. That surpassed the previous record of 3,383 set on January 29, 2013. Thanks to Dennis Bond, web administrator for ANR Technology Services, for keeping us informed of these landmarks. And thanks to all who contribute content for the Web site. Content is what brings readers to our site – even librarians from law schools!
A few weeks ago in Spotlight, I mentioned the May 21 Michigan State University Extension Update webinar and Beth Stuever’s presentation on our new MSU Extension website and the pilot News for Ag and News for MSUE websites that preceded our current site. Beth discussed statistics from a survey of Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute staff members who worked on the MSUE News for Ag website.
You may not find statistics interesting, but it may interest you to know that you have a direct hand in controlling them. The fact is that your involvement in the website is responsible for an increase in hits on the site. Your input is absolutely essential. Your expertise and knowledge make up the heart of the website.
In a survey completed in November 2011, 45 percent of AABI educators said that their writing skills improved since writing for the site. More than half admitted to becoming more familiar with online technology through working on the site. You’ve gone beyond your comfort zones and reached out to learn something new.
Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that the website has helped media relations efforts. We have been getting more phone calls from local media and seeing more visits to the website from the media. Sixty-three percent of the AABI educators said the website has increased our visibility with stakeholders.
Though some AABI members may believe they were wasting valuable time writing articles, in reality that time is never wasted. We are getting your knowledge and expertise out to Michigan residents, and we’re enhancing our reputation. We’re getting involved more quickly in national issues.
So keep writing those stories. Your efforts are appreciated, and they are making a difference.
Dr. Ruth Hohl Borger was honored Nov. 16 at a reception in the Agriculture Hall Atrium on her last day as director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. Ruth has accepted a position as assistant vice president at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Dr. Borger led the department through restructuring during a time of financial uncertainty. She also took the lead on the development of a revamped Michigan State University Extension website and MSU Extension Bookstore, and launch of MSU Extension News. Kris Hynes, senior associate to the dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, will serve as interim director. Kris will continue in her current responsibilities while serving in this interim capacity.
Congratulations to Dr. Borger! We’ll miss her enthusiasm, optimism and drive to innovate under challenging conditions. Thanks, Ruth!
Dr. Ruth Hohl Borger was honored Nov. 16, 2011, at a reception in the MSU Agriculture Hall Atrium on her last day as director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications. Photo by Katie Alexander.