Trends and Data From 2017 for Extension Websites

— Written By Mike Vysocka
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North Carolina Cooperative Extension had our most impressive year by far on the web in 2017. After we refreshed the look and feel of our sites in the fall of 2016 (see the redesign highlights), our traffic increased 40% in 2017. We also started doing monthly Google Analytics reports this past August. The reports which are linked on this page.

Bar chart depicting pageviews by year for Extension websites.

We have now served more than 30 MILLION PAGEVIEWS since transitioning our sites to WordPress in the summer of 2012.

Our Email Lists Continue to Thrive

Despite only adding one new list to our ecosystem in 2017 (for TurfFiles), our subscriber count ballooned nearly 80%. We now have more than 10,000 subscribers actively receiving email notifications every time we post something new!

Bar chart showing Mailchimp subscriber growth since 2015.

What Did Users Search For?

The same key terms continue to persist (from past years) in our top 10 searches for 2017 (jobs, soil testing, master gardener, and summer camps), though the order has changed slightly.

2015 2016 2017
soil test soil test soil testing
employment soil testing soil test
soil testing jobs one stop shop
jobs master gardener project
growing damson plums one stop shop master gardener
master gardener Soil test jobs
soil test results soil sample plant sale
canning employment  summer camp
summer camp summer camp canning
planting guide blueberries bees

The Top Ten Visited Posts of 2017

  1. When is the Best Time to Use Weed and Feed Fertilizers?
  2. What Is Making Webs In My Tree?
  3. Why Does Moss Grow In Areas Of My Lawn And Not My Grass?
  4. NC Tree Identification
  5. Does Your Lawn or Garden Need Lime?
  6. Pruning Knock Out Roses
  7. Why Are My Squash Rotting?
  8. Ten Most Common Trees
  9. How Do I Prune Crape Myrtle?
  10. Advantages of Crop Rotation

We added 439 Factsheets in 2017

Many of these are still in “draft” status, but will soon be published after they pass review by an Extension Specialist. The migration of TurfFiles to our Extension ecosystem (which will launch in January 2018) helped contribute more than 200 new factsheets.

Bar chart depicting pageviews for Extension factsheets 2015 thru 2017
Note: numbers have been adjusted to account for a recording error discovered in March 2017

Top Ten Factsheets Viewed in 2017

Together these ten factsheets accumulated 340,000 pageviews in 2017.

  1. Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
  2. Grafting and Budding Nursery Crop Plants
  3. 1. Soils and Plant Nutrients
  4. Central North Carolina Planting Calendar for Annual Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs
  5. 9. Lawns
  6. Training and Pruning Fruit Trees in North Carolina
  7. Plant Propagation by Layering
  8. Coccidiosis, the Most Common Cause of Diarrhea in Young Goats
  9. Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings
  10. Growing a Fall Vegetable Garden

Overwhelmingly Positive User Feedback (again)

Our ‘Was This Content Helpful’ widget (that appears at the bottom of every page and post) tallied 30,309 votes in 2017. That’s up from 18,791 votes last year.

2016 2017
Yes, It Was Helpful 15,785 (84%) 25,658 (84%)
No, Not Helpful 3,006 4,651
Total Votes 18,791 30,309

Note that these yes/no votes apply to all of our content, some of which is a year or more old. For posts written in 2017, the feedback tallied was 94% YES.