New Extension website: How to make updates and get your own topic page

website-baYou may have noticed by this point that the Extension website has a new look and lots of new pages of information. The goal of the redesign is to make the site more user-friendly by putting your important research and outreach information front-and-center.

What’s new on the homepage?

The biggest change you’ll see is that the homepage has a rotating banner to highlight multiple news stories at the same time. The old format only allowed one news story to be shown. The confusing navigation has also been simplified to be in a horizontal, drop-down format. Important links are in the right sidebar and appear on every page in the site.

The middle section of the homepage is where programs, topics, events, and urgent notices can be featured, using our new feature buttons. We also have a feed to our new news blog. The events feed is manually created, so if you have an event that appeals to a large audience, send it to us to be posted.

What are topic pages?

Screen-Shot-2014-10-21-at-11.16.09-AMTopic pages can range from being a primary source to housing links to another page or site. For example, the Home Food Preservation topic page contains basic overview information and links to the popular publications under this category. A topic page like this allows casual browsers to find information without needing to navigate the publications database. This will in turn drive more visitors to specific publications categories to increase exposure.

Topic pages are also more search-engine friendly. By utilizing keywords and linking to related topics, information will be easier to find when users search on Google or Bing for a specific topic they are interested in.

How to get your own page

The redesigned website launched on Oct. 16, and we are continuing to build topic pages in the order in which they were requested. If you would like to have a topic page to showcase your research and allow easy access to your publications, please either fill out the request survey or take out a job request in our Job System.

How to make updates to your page

We’ve had several people ask how to make updates to their pages after they are built. If you already know how to use Ensemble CMS, send me an email, and I will add you to the list of authorized editors in the Extension community.

If you do not know how to use the current CMS, you can email minor updates (15 minutes or less to complete) to a member of the web team. If the changes are more significant, please take out a job request in the Job System.

How to offer general feedback

If you have general comments or suggestions about the website, please use the website feedback survey, located at the bottom of the right sidebar on every page.

— Susan Gill, web project manager, susan83@vt.edu

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