Wednesday, June 25, 2008

eXtension-- evaluation, FAQs, and keyword searching

This post covers three topics: evaluation, FAQs, and search optimization.

Evaluation of Just In Time Parenting

This session focused on evaluating website information. Sally Martin, the Just In Time Parenting team leader in evaluation, was the lead presenter.

She provided an overview of the development of the evaluation tools for Just In Time Parenting.

Much of the work was traditional evaluation best practice that involved creating survey items that matched the content. The tool was pilot-tested by potential parents to check for readability and clarity. The items were also reviewed by other professionals. All of this resulted in a revised tool.

She also described the infrastructure so that the data obtained from this survey can be shared at the county and state levels. A guide to evaluation has been developed and posted at:

The Financial Planning group talked about an evaluation questionnaire that they designed to assess people's reactions to the FAQs. They have only had "three" responses so far. There was much discussion about "too much" evaluation and asking too many questions. The FAQ survey was viewed by some as overkill. Sally Martin made a useful point that we should be piloting our evaluation strategies to see what others think about these rather than launching full-blown evaluation efforts that the public will respond to.


Identified "high maintenance" FAQs that are likely to change, get updated or have web links. These FAQs are reviewed at least annually. This is a good reminder that some questions need more attention than others.

The Consumer Horticulture group is using Master Gardeners to answer consumer questions and to conduct reviews of FAQs. This is a good example of involving the public in the website.

Search Engine Optimization

Keyword Research

One of the first steps on effective use of keywords is to begin to understand the popularity of various keywords. There are a couple of tools that will help with this. These are:


Google Adwords

By putting keywords into these tools you can find out how often people are using these words in searches. In some cases this will also also provide information about how many other sites are using these keyword (that is, what kind of competition is there for this keyword).

What to do to improve using keywords to work with search engines?

1. Integrate keywords into headings and subheadings in the page.
2. Use the keywords to link to other pages.
3. However, don't let keywords distract from providing people with useful information.

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