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Mobile-Friendly Sites are Favored by Google

Google recently announced that mobile-friendly websites will stand out in search with labels and possibly, rank.

I tested this out by searching “ndsu ag comm”. Sure enough, mobile-friendly versions ranked than the non-mobile-friendly result.

 Screenshot of mobile-friendly search

Ag CMS sites have been mobile-friendly since March 2013. Roger did all the work designing the mobile template and had the foresight to know that more and more users are using the Mobile Web.  

Just take a look at our most recent Google Analytics for all Ag CMS sites:

Mobile analytics table

 

Note that desktop sessions have only grown by 3.67% so far in 2014, but our overall number of sessions is up by 22.5%, mainly due to mobile traffic. We have had nearly 5 times as many mobile sessions already this year than we did all of last year.

Without having to worry about design, you can concentrate on the content. Here’s some tips on writing for the Mobile Web.  

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: Including

Despite the way “include” or “including” seems to be used these days, it does not mean “all” or “everything.”

Use “include” or “including” before a series only if you are not listing everything. For example: “The family has several pets, including three cats and a dog.” Using “including” in this case is OK because the family also has two hamsters and a parakeet.

When you list everything in a series, use “are.” For example: “The three color options for this model are white, green and light blue.”

One more hint: Do not tack “etc.” or “and more” to the end of a list when you precede it with “include” or “including.” The words “include” and “including” are a clear indication that the list is not complete, which makes the “etc.” or “and more” unnecessary.

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Lindquist Shares How to Own the Stage

Mark_LindquistMark Lindquist opened the Sept. 30 - Oct. 3 Extension/REC Fall Conference sharing how those of us who give presentations can use his acting and speaking tips to "Own the Stage."

Develop a rehearsal habit. Rehearse to an empty chair, and give it your all in practice. You can't control everything, but you can control practice. Amateurs rehearse until they get it right; professionals rehearse until they don't get it wrong.

Prepare short stories/vignettes to use as appropriate. Let somebody else tell the story for you.

Use images, not PowerPoint bullets. Photos and graphics truly are worth a thousand words, illustrating stories and leaving images with your audience. Don't read slides to your audience.

Establish your credibility. Share why you're qualified to speak on this topic.

Be confident, competent, compelling and charismatic.

In summary, Lindquist said, "Only 11 percent of people have passion for what they do. You have a story worth telling and a mission worth doing."

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Get notified when somone submits your Google form

More and more Extension and REC staff are using Google forms to collect registrations, evaluations, email addresses for newsletter sign up, and more. Sometimes staff would like to know right away when someone completes a form. For instance, Bob and I have a simple Google form on the Ag CMS homepage that collects information for people who need an Ag CMS login. We like to get these people signed up right away so they are still enthused and also for good customer service. When someone fills out the form, Bob and I get an email notification and we can take the information the person provided and get them set up in ag CMS right away.

Not only can you get email notifications for when a user submits a form, but also changes to your form like if a collaborator was added or if any changes to the spreadsheet were made. You can set the alerts up to come into your inbox once a day, or as-it-happens.

Here's a quick video on how to set up email notifications for Google Forms.

If you need help with setting up notifications, please contact Bob Bertsch or myself.

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: Both and Either

“Both” and “either” often get overused. That’s especially the case in sentences where an “and” or an “or” makes them unnecessary.

For example: “Mary and John went to the store.” The “and” clearly indicates the two of them went to the store. You don’t need to say “Mary and John both went to the store.” However, if you do not use their names, then “both” is OK: “Both also went to the movies.”

You don’t need to use “either” when you give two options and connect them with an “or.” For example: “The producer had a choice of planting corn or soybeans” (not either corn or soybeans).

One additional note on “either:” Use it to mean one or the other, not both. For example: “You can use either door.” However, “The woman placed planters on both sides of her front door.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Multiple Admins for Facebook Pages Are a Must

It's important to have at least one backup "admin" for you office or department Facebook (FB) Page.

Facebook Pages are created through individual Facebook profiles. The person who creates the FB Page becomes the first, and sometimes only, "admin." If a FB Page has only one admin and that person leaves NDSU or deletes their personal Facebook profile, the page may be lost to your department, taking with it all the posts, likes and comments the page has gathered.

To avoid an unfortunate end to your Facebook Page, you just need to make sure your page has multiple admins. Any admin of a FB Page can add an additional admin as long as the new admin has a Facebook account, and they are friends with the original admin on Facebook or the original admin knows the email address associated with the new admin's Facebook account.

If there is no one in your office who can be made an admin for your FB Page, you can add me as an admin for your page using my email address, rjbertsch@gmail.com.

Just login to your Facebook profile and visit the FB Page you want to add an admin to.

Once there, click on the "Settings" tab.
Click "settings" on your facebook page to add admins.

Next, click "Page Roles" in the "Settings" menu.
Click "Page Roles"

Add an admin by beginning to type their name or by typing in the email address associated with their Facebook account. If you are friends with the person you are adding, their Facebook profile should pop-up when you start typing their name. If you are using their email address, just type the full email address.

You will want to set their page role to "Admin." FB Page admins have the same permissions to edit a page as the person who created the page. If you want a true backup in case you leave NDSU or cannot access the FB Page, you'll need to assign someone the role of "Admin." Click "Save" when you are done.
Type in the person's name or email address and assign them the role of Admin.

Once you've added someone to your Facebook Page, they will receive a Facebook notification to let them know.

If you are interested in using the other page roles Facebook provides for giving people access to your page, check out the chart below or visit the Facebook Help Center's "Page Roles" article.
Facebook Page Roles

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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Think Mobile When Writing for Web Pages

At Fall Conference I presented "Building Better Web Pages" . A component of that is remembering to write for people who are accessing your information on smartphone. Although only 11% of all views of Ag CMS came from a mobile device last year, that was a 94% increase from 2012. More and more people will be using our sites from mobile devices. Here's five great tips on what to consider when writing for mobile audiences. I would add that testing is an important last step.

Ag cms mobile stats

Sonja Fuchs, Web Technology Specialist (701) 231-6403

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Write the Right Word: Colons and Capitalization

Writers frequently use colons in a sentence to introduce lists, tabulations or text.

Just remember to capitalize the first word after the colon if it’s a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence. For example: “Note: Make sure you turn off the lights when you leave the room.” Or this: “The winners of the 4-H poster contest were three local youth: Joe Smith, John Anderson and Judy Larson, all of Minot.”

Colons also can be effective in emphasizing a word or phrase. For example: “The farmer always has grown two crops: soybeans and sugar beets.” Note that soybeans is not capitalized because it is not a proper noun or the start of a complete sentence.

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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4th Communication Camp Scheduled for Nov. 4 - 6

"This has probably been the best training I’ve been to for takeaways." - Pembina County Extension agent, Samantha Lahman

The livestock team from the May 2014 Communication Camp works on their project.NDSU Agriculture Communication’s Communication Camp is a chance for your team to gain valuable communication skills, better understand communication and education in the digital age, and produce text, images and video that you can use in your educational programs.

The next Communication Camp is scheduled for Nov. 4 - 6 , 2014 at the NDSU Alumni Center in Fargo.

Interested? Contact Bob Bertsch, (701) 231-7381

This is a three-day intensive camp dealing with a broad range of communication planning and tools. Participating teams consist of 3 – 5 members. One Ag Comm staff member or past camp participant is assigned to each team as a liaison. Teams are formed around a specific issue or program.

If your team puts in the work necessary, you will leave camp with:

  • 1-2 Web content items
  • a draft news release for a topic or event
  • several images for use in online and print content
  • a short video on YouTube and embedded into an Ag CMS web page

Contact Bob Bertsch, (701) 231-7381, if you're interested in having a Communication Camp team.

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How To Get Fresh Content From Websites

When you visit a website, you might think all the content you see is coming directly from that site's web server, but that may not always be the true. Some of that content may be coming from a web cache (\ˈkash\).

What is hiding in your cache?A web cache temporarily stores web documents, images and other files to help the site load faster and reduce the bandwidth required to view the site. For example, when you are viewing most NDSU websites, you will see the NDSU logo at the top-left of each page. Your web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) will often store image files, like the NDSU logo, in the browser cache, rather than downloading that image file every time you visit another NDSU web page.

Temporarily storing web content in the cache can save you time and bandwidth, but sometimes you might return to a site and see content stored in your browser's cache rather than new content that has been added to that site.

You can make sure you are getting the freshest content from a website by bypassing your browser's cache. You can get a fresh reload of a site by hitting Ctrl+F5 on your keyboard, forcing all the files from a website to be directly downloaded from the web server.

If you want to learn more about your browser cache, check out this article from gHacks Technology News.

Bob Bertsch, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-7381

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