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UF/IFAS Communications

UF/IFAS Communications

Blogging

Blogs.IFAS is a strategic communications website that serves as a platform for UF/IFAS Extension, Teaching, and Research employees to directly post content to share with their clients and stakeholders. If you have not taken a tour of Blogs.IFAS we encourage you to do so. We currently have more than 700 bloggers feeding content regularly into more than 100 blogs! Below you will find some helpful links:

Contact webteam@ifas.ufl.edu to learn how we can help you with your next web initiative.

Need access to a website or blog, please submit a WEB OR BLOG HELP request?

Copyright law protects the owner of creative materials from unauthorized use of his or her work. U.S. copyright laws protect literary works, musical or sound recordings, and pictorial or graphical designs. Prior to using any creative works that do not belong to the University of Florida, please make sure you have the proper license and/or permission from the owner of those works.

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  • Winners of the 2021 UF/IFAS Blogger Awards

    Congratulations to all the winners of our 2021 UF/IFAS Blogger Awards!!! With all of the amazing bloggers who are a part of the Blogs.IFAS community, it was not easy to pick the winners! Thank you to everyone who participated. Here are our winners in each category. Read more about them on the Blogs.IFAS Award Winners Announcement

    Most Impactful

    Winner: Ana Zangroniz

    Post: What Goes Up Comes DOWN! Alternatives to Helium Balloons

    While many written pieces address the detrimental outcomes of helium balloon releases, this piece by Ana Zangroniz takes it one step further and offers creative alternatives, prompting readers to change their behavior. This post encourages readers to embrace more sustainable approaches to celebrations and special events.

    Quirkiest Story

    Winner: Dr. Bonnie Wells

    Post: Unearthing the World of Cemetery Turf Care

    This post provides unique insight into turf management in an area not often considered: cemetery turf care. Dr. Wells’ post also includes interesting facts she learned along the way, including historical people laid to rest in Brevard County, as well as a local unsolved murder mystery.

    Best Series

    Winners: Carol Wyatt-Evens, Mindy Hanak, Kevin O’Horan

    Series: Edible Gardening QOTW

    The posts in the Edible Gardening series provide solutions for the lives of community stakeholders. By developing content based on questions received at the Edible Gardening webinars, the series authors promoted collaboration and community at a time when it felt disrupted.

    Freshness Award - Blogger

    Winner: Ralph Mitchell

    Ralph Mitchell's posts are informative, entertaining, and frequent! His writing style is fresh and engaging, making it fun to learn about new topics related to horticulture.

    Freshness Award - Blog

    Winner: Escambia County

    The agents at Escambia County have worked hard to develop quality blog posts—and they are posting with amazing frequency! Readers return to the Escambia County blog for the great content and new posts.

    Freshness Award - District

    Winner: Central District

    The Central District of County Extension Offices wins this award for having all Counties in the District actively posting. Thank you to the following Counties: Flagler County, Hernando County, Lake County, Marion County, Orange County, Osceola County, Putnam County, Seminole CountySt Johns County, Sumter County, and Volusia County

    Thank You to All Our Bloggers!

    We want to thank all our bloggers—your contributions help improve the lives of Floridians and beyond!

  • Blogs.IFAS 2.0

    Blogs.IFAS will undergo a re-design this year! As there is no firm timeline yet, we will keep you posted with updates in this area, as well as in the IFAS Communications Newsletter. We are very excited to update and refresh the design and look of Blogs.IFAS for improved usability to increase engagement & readership!

    Check out this recording of design update highlights for more details.

  • Author Profile

    Having an author profile can boost your readership and let readers know a little about you. Here are our recommendations for a great author profile, including how to format your email to avoid spam.

    • Author profiles should: 
      • Be complete sentences
      • Be in the third person
      • End with preferred contact information
        • Email, formatted: name [at] ufl [dot] edu or
        • Social media handles
      • Include a profile photo or avatar 

    You can edit your profile by clicking on your username in the upper-right corner when you are logged in to WordPress. Biographical Info is your profile and your Avatar is your profile image. 

  • How Do I Become a Blogger?

    Three simple steps!

    • Submit a request to be added to blogger training. You will receive a response with instructions to take an online training course at your leisure.
    • Once you finish, e-mail webteam@ifas.ufl.edu again and tell them you'd like to be added to your blog. 
    • Write your author profile, upload your profile image or avatar, and start blogging! 

    Read more about Getting Started on BlogsIFAS

  • How Do I Crop Photos for My Blog Posts?

    Featured images on blog posts must be 1338x357 pixels. Reach out to webteam@ifas.ufl.edu if you encounter any issue uploading your featured image. 

    A variety of photo editing tools can be used to crop your photos to the required size. For many of these tools, our team has developed video tutorials to help guide you through the process: 

  • What Images Can I Use in My Blog Posts?

    We recommend using photos taken by UF faculty and staff before any other sources. We also have a list of great photo resources in the Photo Usage Fact Sheet listed below, starting with the UF/IFAS Photos Archive

    Photo Release Form

  • Blog Tags

    The tags you assign to your blog post will help search engines to better understand what your post is about.

    For a list of commonly used tags and their importance, check out the UF/IFAS Blog Tag Lexicon.  

    • Blog Tag Tips
      • Tags can be a keyword or keyphrase (these words/phrases would also be found within your post)
      • Recommend 3-7 tags per post
      • Avoid repetitive variation (ie, horse, horses, equine. Stick with just one.)
      • Use author name as a tag to promote yourself or the author for whom you are posting
  • Blog Categories

    The categories you assign to your blog post determine where your post is organized: 

    • Blog Category Goals
      • These categories will allow your post to appear when users select a Category in the "Browse by Category" page.
      • The cateogories also allow your posts to appear in the digest when users subscribe by category. 
      • If you are a County agent, selecting a major category allows your blog post to appear in your County's SFYL homepage blog feed. 
    • Blog Category Tips
      • You can select one or more categories and subcategories.
      • Don't forget to de-select "Change Category". 
      • Don't use the category "Uncatogorized". 

     

  • How Do I Create a Blog Series?

    Writing a blog series is a great way to break up content into easy-to-digest posts and get readers excited about upcoming content. Here are the ways to identify a post as part of a series: 

    A post that is part of a blog series will have one or all of the following: 

    *A series is required to have a unique tag to identify the series. Ensure your tag is unique enough to only capture your blog series. Reach out to webteam@ifas.ufl.edu for guidance on developing your series' tag. 

  • Can I Schedule Out When My Post Will Be Published?

    Yes! The Delay Publish option can be a great way to manage when your posts are published. You may want to use this option when you have several posts ready at once, but you don’t want to publish them at the same time. It is a best practice to publish only one post in a day: this will allow your content to be displayed in multiple email digest alerts, giving readers additional opportunities to find your posts. You may want to delay publishing for another reason. Follow these steps to Delay Publishing a Blog Post

  • Blog Analytics / Pageviews

    The webteam already has analytics running on your blog so if you would like access to them please use the following steps. Both Google Analytics and Google Data Studio can be used to provide analytics for blogs. 

    Access Google Analytics

    1. Submit a Web Work Request for Google Analytics access. 
    2. The webteam will help connect your account to Google Analytics.

    Notes

    • We recommend using Chrome as your browser for this activity. Agents who have used Firefox or Internet Explorer tell us the data would not populate. 
    • Navigate to Behavior > Site Content > All Pages to view pageview statistics.
    • The system will default to show data for just the last seven days. Remember to change your date view to the timeline you need. 

    Google Data Studio

    Google Data Studio is an alternative tool for accessing Google Analytics. This tool is currently available for County agents, but if you are interested in accessing your data through this view, reach out to webteam@ifas.ufl.edu.

    Access Google Data Studio

    1. Click on the name of your agency in the Google Data Studio Listings to access your Google Data Studio.
    • Page 1 is a Dynamic Snapshot showing statistics for the entire blog.
    • Page 2 shows pageviews by author (exportable list).
    • Page 3 shows pageviews by post (exportable list).

    Notes

    Some users receive an error when trying to access their Google Data Studio Report. If this happens, try logging out of Google or access the report from a different browser. 

    Resources

     

  • Video Tips for Bloggers

    Adding Video Content to Your Blog

    The best way to include a video in your blog post is to first upload it to YouTube (if your unit does not already have a YouTube account you can create one for free), then you can easily embed the video within your blog. This has the added bonus of YouTube captioning your video for you, providing ADA compliance and allowing users to turn on captions when needed.  

    • How to Embed Video in Your Blog Post
      • Navigate to the YouTube video in your browser.
      • Copy the URL from the browser window.
      • Paste the URL in your blog post. 
      • Note: This can be done for videos and video playlists. 

     Recording & Editing Videos for a Blog

    You may want to edit out the first few seconds of your video--perhaps you were getting your camera set up or you were giving attendees extra time to arrive for a live stream. Check out the following video tutorials for great ways to trim out unnecessary video content and help keep viewers engaged! 

     Recording & Posting an iPhone Video: 

    Recording & Posting a Zoom Meeting:

    UF/IFAS YouTube Channels

  • Accessibility / ADA Compliance

    Follow these tips when writing your blogs to ensure that all users can read them: 

    • All images that you upload (including featured image and images placed within blog posts) should include an "alternative text". Screen readers will use this alt text for visually impared users to communicate the content of the image, so ensure that the alternative text is descriptive. 
      • Alt text also helps search engines index your images. 
    • Use headings to organize your post
      • Screen readers use these headings to jump through the page to help the user determine which section to read. 
    • Use PDFs that are ADA compliant if embedding into a blog post
    • For more information on ADA compliance, check out this ADA compliance webinar 
  • What to Blog About

    Have you ever struggled to come up with topics for your blog posts? Try out these...

    Top 5 Blog Brainstorming Questions!

    1. What do your colleagues want to talk about?
    2. What blog post title would catch your eye?
    3. What blog post would you share on your social media?
    4. What is something inspiring or funny you’d like to read about?
    5. What is a process that you wish you’d had a guide to help you through?

    For more tips on what to blog about and which blog formats perform better than others, check out this blog post or this shareable one-pager on What to Blog About

    For more ideas for your blog, check out the Blog Events Calendar, also at the bottom of this page! 

  • Hashtags: Promote Your Blog on Social Media

    After you write a blog post, we encourage you to promote it on your social media accounts. Here are some great hashtags to include in your posts!

    • UF/IFAS Anytime Hashtags
      • #UFIFAS, #IFASExtension, #IFASResearch, #IFASAtWork

    For more hashtag recommendations, check out UF/IFAS Hashtag listing

     

  • Comment Moderation

    Check out this guide to Moderating Comments on Your Blog Post

  • Master Gardener Blog

    To ensure your blog post appears in the Master Gardener blog, all Master Gardeners should tag their posts with the tag "Master Gardener Volunteer". For bloggers with non-ufl.edu email addresses, the Master Gardener Coordinator will post their blogs on their behalf. New Master Gardener Coordinators can submit a Web Services Request to set up this access.  

    Tag: Master Gardener Volunteer

  • Florida Sea Grant

    All Florida Sea Grant agents should include these categories and tags on their content to maximize post visibility:

    • Category: Natural Resources
    • Subcategory: Coasts and Marine
    • Tag: Florida Sea Grant
  • Florida Master Naturalist Program

    To ensure your blog post appears in the Florida Master Naturalist blog, tag your post with the tag "Florida Master Naturalist Program" and/or "FMNP". 

    Tag: Florida Master Naturalist Program, FMNP

  • Additional Training

    Additional training webinars are available at https://branding.ifas.ufl.edu/training/ 

Blog Calendar Events

Latest from Blogs.IFAS

Grocery Shopping for Your Health: The fish counter

In our last post in the "Grocery Shopping for Your Health" series, we zeroed in on meats and deli...
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Master Gardener Volunteers on… the all-too-troublesome allamanda

By Dianne Beaver Master Gardener Volunteer Program team member With large, bright-yellow flowers and...
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Are Rock Yards Florida-Friendly?

A Rock Yard is Not Florida-Friendly Rocks increase heat and can stress plants and increase plant pests and disease. They are usually imported from other states. Rocks do not support Florida's wildlife including bees,...
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