Top Extension Stories and Trends From 2018

— Written By

We closed out 2018 with some pretty impressive web statistics. At year’s end, we had just under 190 sites live (77 topic portals and 101 county extension websites). Collectively, our sites served 8.6 million pageviews to 2.6 million people (both record highs for us). You can compare that to last years report in Trends and Data From 2017. While we only saw a marginal increase in total pageviews (+2%), we saw significant user growth (+18%).

Our year over year mailing list growth also has been tremendous; while we ended 2017 with just over 11,000 subscribers, we now have 26,332 subscribers to our 33 lists, an increase of 239%! Keep writing great content!

Our Most Visited Websites of 2018

Note: This doesn’t include traffic to standalone Extension applications like plants.ces.ncsu.edu

  1. Gaston County Center (721K pageviews)
  2. NC State Extension
  3. TurfFiles
  4. Pender County Center
  5. Growing Small Farms
  6. Chatham County Center
  7. NC 4-H
  8. Gardening
  9. Lee County Center
  10. Sampson County Center

Gaston County Center converted some of Jim Burke’s legacy snake content over to WordPress this year, and it continues to rank as some of our most popular content in our ecosystem, hence their quick ascension to the top of this list.

The spring continues to be our most trafficked period of the year with May, April, June, and March finishing as our top four months for readership.

Most Popular Posts Authored in 2018

  1. Birth of an Assassin Bug! (Growing Small Farms)
  2. Cold Temperature Damage and Spring Green-Up of Warm-Season Grasses (TurfFiles)
  3. Industrial Hemp in North Carolina (Franklin County Center)
  4. 2018 Southeastern Vegetable Crop Handbook Is Now Online (Growing Small Farms)
  5. Join Us for Our Chatham County Spring Ag Fest March 24! (Growing Small Farms)
  6. USDA Announces Disaster SNAP Benefits for North Carolinians (NC Disaster)
  7. How to Protect Your Beehives From Mosquito Spraying Following a Hurricane (Entomology)
  8. 2018 Eastern Carolina Showmanship Circuit (Edgecombe County Center)
  9. Register Now for Extension’s Industrial Hemp Workshop (Growing Small Farms)
  10. County of Ashe Hurricane Florence Press Release (Ashe)

The widespread impact of Hurricane Florence and the abundance of quality content we created put hurricane-related posts into three of the top ten spots with emergence of Industrial Hemp in North Carolina taking two additional spots.

While these posts all proved timely and popular in 2018, some of our most popular pieces of content were authored years ago, as Google tends to consider older (popular) articles as the most authoritative in search results.

Most Popular Posts Overall in 2018

You’ll notice that six of the top 10 post titles are phrased as questions. That’s because this resonates well with what people are typing into search engines like Google! We’ve seen this trend hold true for several years on end now.

Most Popular Factsheets in 2018

Other Quick Facts

  • We continue to see small increases in mobile usage each year, this year mobile phones and tablets accounted for 55% of our traffic (up 3% from 2017). This is one of our most compelling reasons to stop creating PDFs!
  • We added 338 factsheets in 2018 — check out the full publication repository
  • More feedback than ever trickled in regarding our content. We tallied 35,143 votes and 85.6% said our content was useful!