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Agriculture Communication

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Choose an Image When Posting Links to Facebook

Facebook recently changed the options you have for selecting an image to accompany a link you are sharing when posting to a Facebook Page. Extension associate Stacy Wang clued me in to the change when we were discussing strategies for getting the best possible photo to appear with a link when one of our webpages is shared in a Facebook post.

As of today (10/2/2015), this option is not available on individual Facebook profiles, but only when posting as a Facebook Page.

When you type or paste the address of a webpage you want to share into a post, Facebook will display all the images on that webpage that are large enough to be included as part of the post. Below that, you'll see smaller versions of the first 3 images with blue boxes around them to indicate they are selected. If you publish the post, all 3 of those images will be displayed as part of your post with each of them linking to the webpage you shared. You can deselect any or all of the 3 images or even add an image from your computer to the post before publishing.

Choosing Images When Posting a Link on Facebook

This is a great addition to Facebook Pages, but what about when individuals share a link to your webpage? Are the best images appearing along with the link to your webpage?

NDSU Ag Communication software developer Roger Egeberg has some tips for including images in your webpages that will work well in Facebook posts.

Make sure you have at least one high-quality image that is at least 200 pixels in height AND width. That's the minimum size of image that Facebook will detect.If you don't include at least one image of that size, your link will appear without an image at all.

If you include an image at least 600 X 315 pixels, Facebook will display that image above your link rather than displaying a smaller image as a thumbnail to the left of the link. For images displayed above links, Facebook favors images that are about twice as wide as they are high (a 1.91:1 aspect ratio to be exact). Using images with landscape orientation minimizes the amount of cropping Facebook does when displaying these images.

In general, images have a positive effect on social media engagement. Including a Facebook-friendly image on your web page could make people more likely to share it on social media, and increase the number of clicks that post gets once it is shared.

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

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Cross Promote Your Website and Social Media

If you’re on social media, it’s a good idea to let people know so they can connect with you. Be sure to add links to your social media sites on your website and on print materials. Another good way to promote your social media sites is to link to them in your email signature.

Likewise, be sure to add your website to your social media profiles. This allows your followers to find out more about you.

Some people may only visit your website and aren’t on social media. Some people may only know you through social media but never visit your website. Still, it’s good to let all your audiences know how to reach you or learn more.

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


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Write the Right Word: What’s the Question, Anyway?

Even though part of a sentence may be a question, it should not end with a question mark.

For example: I wonder what’s in the water that’s turning it blue. That’s a declarative sentence that basically says I would like to know the cause of the coloring in the water. I’m not asking a question.

You would use a question mark if the entire sentence is a question: What’s in the water that’s turning it blue? You also would use a question mark after the question part of the sentence if it is a quote. For example: I heard him ask, “What’s in the water that’s turning it blue?”

Note that the question mark goes inside the quotation mark because it refers to the question. Question marks go outside of quotes when the entire sentence is the question. For example: Who wrote “Gone With the Wind”?

information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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So You Think You Want To Make an App

More than 150 million American adults have a smartphone and on average U.S. smartphone users spend more than 37 hours per month using apps. We should definitely consider how we can leverage apps to reach out and engage the people we serve. Unfortunately, app development can be complicated and costly.

App developers at the NMSU Learning Games Lab and Ed Techs from Ohio State University developed this flowchart to help people think through the app development process.

So You Want To Make an App

The flowchart is really helpful. However, based on our experience with NDSU Extension Service apps, I'd make a couple of changes.

First, I'd add the question, "Does your app leverage the unique capabilities of a mobile device?" Many apps are no more than mobile websites, giving access to information, but not taking advantage of a mobile device's camera, GPS, audio recorder or other capabilities that could add context and functionality to the app experience. If you answer "no" to this question, you should strongly consider building a mobile-ready website rather than an app.

Second, I'd adjust the cost. Development costs vary across the country and when using internal vs. external developers, but I'd start with a budget of at least $15,000, especially if you plan on developing your app for more than one platform (Android, Apple iOS, etc.).

If you are interested in developing an app, please contact me. I'd love to share what we've learned.

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

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Get Your Event Online

Burleigh events
Burleigh County events portlet
Ag CMS lets you post your events on your website, making it easy for people to find online.

The functionality also allows people to add the event directly to their calendar.

Once your event is online, it's easy to link to from your social media channels, helping you to get the word out.

See how to create an event in Ag CMS. You can also put it in an events portlet that will disappear after the event has passed, so you don’t have to delete the event or have outdated information on your site.

Contact me or Bob Bertsch if you need help getting your events online.

, Web Technology Specialist, (701) 231-6403

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Kelli Armbruster Joins Ag Comm Staff

 Kelli ArmbrusterKelli Armbruster has joined the Ag Communication staff as an information specialist. Her responsibilities include marketing, social media, and news writing and editing, primarily for the NDSU Extension Service. She will develop marketing and social media strategies, and work with faculty and staff to distribute their research-based information in these and other ways.

Kelli is an Oklahoma native who received her bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State University. She has previous work experience in the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service staff development office, with the American Angus Association and with her own company – Red Barn Branding, LLC.

Kelli can be reached at and (701) 231-6136. Stop by Morrill 7 to welcome her.

Rich Mattern retired from this position in June, though the job description has been revamped.

, Ag Communication Director, (701) 231-7875

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Marketing Minute: Generating Social Media Content

In this day and age of people posting everything on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., it can be hard to narrow down what and when we should post as administrators of our department, REC, program area or county Facebook pages.

We know that NDSU has great education and research to share! Naturally, we want to get the word out to as many people as possible. Facebook is one such tool for outreach. There are hundreds of Facebook page management tips to share, but here is a quick tip to help you brainstorm about appropriate content.

Consider a weekly theme plan. Identify a few themes that don’t require a lot of time or research. For example: Monday’s post recognizes a volunteer. Tuesday’s post can feature trees, technology, etc. Wednesday’s post can focus on a program area or provide a “how to” tip. Thursday’s post can look back on a former 4-H’er or showcase an old photo. Friday’s post can be about fun facts or a photo caption contest.

Creating a weekly theme plan gives your audience an opportunity to engage with your Facebook page and delivers consistent content that audiences are craving. Happy posting!


, Information Specialist, (701) 231-6136

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Write the Right Word: Joining Independent Clauses

If you combine two independent clauses, which basically are complete sentences, to form one thought, you may need to separate them with a semicolon.

That’s especially the case when you join these clauses with a conjunctive adverb. Adverbs describe or modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs. Conjunctive adverbs connect words, phrases or clauses and smooth the transition between them. “However,” “otherwise,” “besides,” “meanwhile,” “also” and “thus” are some conjunctive adverbs.

You need a semicolon before the conjunctive adverb and a comma after it or you will have a run-on sentence. For example: “The producer planned to buy a new tractor this year; however, he may have to postpone that purchase until 2016 because of low grain prices.” “Budget your money carefully; otherwise, you may not have enough for vacation.”

, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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Add Photo Captions in Ag CMS

You can now add captions to images in Ag CMS. All you need to do is to make sure your image has a description and check the "Caption" box when inserting your image into a page, article, news item or event.

You can add a description to an image when you add it to Ag CMS or when you insert it into a page or other item type. Check out the "How Do I Insert and Image on My Page?" tutorial to learn how to add an image to Ag CMS and insert it into a page.

If you add a description to an image when you add it to Ag CMS, that description will appear in the pop-up window you see when inserting an image into a page. If the image does not have a description or you don't want to use that description, just change the description in the insert image pop-up window.

Adding Captions in Ag CMS
Add your caption text to the Description field and check the Caption textbox to add a caption.

You will not see your caption displayed in the editing view of your page. Once you save, you will see the caption below your image.

Your caption will follow the alignment of your image.

You can also style the text of your caption by selecting the image when in editing view and choosing bold, italics or other styling.

This is a new Ag CMS feature. If you have questions or the feature is not working in the way you expect it to, please contact us.

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

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

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Find it Fast on Mobile

Find It Fast on Mobile

I’ve written before about by the nature of Extension and Research Extension’s work, that our content can be quite long on web pages. It helps to break up the content on a web page by using headings.

When you want to find a term or phrase on a web page quickly without having to scroll, you can use Ctrl + F on your keyboard.

Find in a page on mobile
Kebab menu and Find in Page

To do a word or phrase search on mobile Chrome or Firefox, go the web page you want to search. In the upper right on the “kebab” menu (three vertical dots), click on it to expand to go to “Find in Page”. Type in the word or phrase you want to find, and the browser will highlight it for you.

It works a little differently on the Safari browser for Apple devices. Go to the page you want to find a word/phrase on and then “X” to clear the text. Type in the word/phrase. Google search result will probably display first, but just scroll down to where you see “Find phrase”. Choose that option and it will “jump” to the results. See detailed instructions and screenshots in item #2 here.

If you need help finding something quickly on a webpage or mobile site using these instructions, please contact me for assistance.

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

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