Trends and Data From 2015 for Extension Websites

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It’s been another incredible year on the web for North Carolina Cooperative Extension. We launched a few new topic hubs (here’s our full list), bringing our total number of public facing Extension sites to 153. We also grew our MailChimp subscriber lists to over 3,200 email addresses and created a single page where our users can subscribe to receive our website news via email.

Our overall traffic was through the roof this year

We served approximately 5.8 million pages (up 23% from last year) to over 2 million different users this year and reached an all-time high for percentage of users coming from outside North Carolina at 72%.

Number of visitors (by week) since we launched the new websites in 2012.

Number of visitors (by week) since we launched the new websites in 2012. The increase is pretty clear.

We’ve also seen a dramatic increase in the number of folks who are reading our content on a mobile device. There’s no surprise here, but the growth has been rather impressive. Only 12% of our visitors consumed our content on mobile in 2012, and this year we peaked at 45%.

Screenshot showing the growth of our website in pageviews and users since 2012.

The content you’re creating is having a tremendous impact.

Facebook continues be our Social Media champion, but we just added support for two more platforms

  • Our content gets considerably more attention on Facebook than any other platform according to our analytics. Twitter comes in second place, but it’s not even close.
  • The top four posts, in terms of Facebook interaction, are:
    1. Where are all the butterflies?
    2. Stink bugs out in full force
    3. How Do I Prune Crape Myrtle?
    4. Kudzu Bug Invasion!
  • You can now add links to your Pinterest and Instagram accounts in WordPress admin
  • We’re no longer linking to the default NCCE Social Media accounts when you don’t set up any of your own, we’ll only show the icons on your site that you are actually using!
  • We do have plans to support multiple accounts per platform (i.e. two Facebook accounts) in the coming year; this has been a pretty popular feature request.

User feedback has been overwhelmingly positive

Of the 45,000+ pieces of feedback that have come in from the ‘Was the information on this page helpful?‘ widget, only 15% said ‘No’ and only 1.5% were able to cite a reason that was constructive enough to be passed along to the author.

These are the most common themes amongst the small percentage of negative feedback that has come in:

  • No pictures
  • It’s out of date
  • Forgot important info
  • Too localized
  • No comparison
  • No organic alternative

Search: Not a whole changed

Overall, users were generally still after the same content when it came to search in 2015 as they were when we first launched our new site in 2012.

The top 10 search terms for 2015 were:

  1. soil test
  2. employment
  3. soil testing
  4. jobs
  5. growing damson plums
  6. master gardener
  7. soil test results
  8. canning
  9. summer camp
  10. planting guide

I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday! If you have any specific questions about data for your site, don’t hesitate to ask! Email: