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The Bee Lab U.OSU harvests top views

When Denise Ellsworth heard about the U.OSU pilot in September 2013, she knew the transformative platform could enhance how The Bee Lab functions online.

The Bee Lab, a research and education facility on the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center campus in Wooster, is a great example of how Ohio State branding and U.OSU customization can create a comprehensive yet navigable site.

Ellsworth, Program Director for Honey Bee and Native Pollinator Education, was quick to adopt the user-friendly platform after years of hosting a blog, as well as a separate department site on the OARDC server.

“U.OSU couldn’t have come at a better time, and Wordpress is easy to learn as you play with it,” Ellsworth said.

The Bee Lab U.OSU site home page

Branding at your fingertips

Each U.OSU theme is custom designed to comply with university branding. They save time and quickly identify university sites.  Ellsworth appreciates this contribution to a One University feel.

"I don't have to worry about the design because it's already identifiable," Ellsworth said. "There's no fuss so I can focus on what content to feature."

ODEE Learning Technology manager, Steve Lieb, echoed Ellsworth's sentiment. "Our users shouldn’t have to spend hours trying to find the correct Block O for a logo or specific scarlet for their site header and the templates help streamline the process," he said.

Pages enhance navigation

Another feature that The Bee Lab site utilizes well is the ability to add multiple pages.

“It’s great that I can have tabs related to all of the different programs,” Ellsworth said.

Their Courses tab is a page that includes related programs, course handouts, PDFs, embedded presentations and lectures. Viewers can access everything they need from one convenient starting point.

Beyond research information, webinars, and helpful resources, The Bee Lab showcases how U.OSU can function as both a static website and a chronological blog. The Buzz@OSU is Ellsworth’s spot for stories and updates in the pollination world.

“I like the ability to toggle back and forth between more traditional website format and the blog. Adding News as a tab allows the blog to be more of an accessory, that way the first thing you see on the site isn’t a post from a month ago,” Ellsworth said.

Ahead of the curve

In just one month’s time (June 23-July 23) the site has garnered more than 600 unique views.

“The analytics available on U.OSU allow site owners to see not only what content is popular, but where the traffic is coming from,” Lieb said. 

With analytics, Ellsworth can see how many people view the webinars and determine which topics resonate most with viewers. Insight into page views can help call out popular programs like The Chemistry of Honey or 10 Rules for Modern Beekeeping.

A helping hand

ODEE is committed to offering workshops for faculty, staff, and students who are interested in hands-on training to help them create and publish their own site.

“I like having the concentrated time to work solely on U.OSU," Ellsworth said of the workshops she has attended.

To get started with your own site, visit u.osu.edu. Check out the ODEE calendar to register for upcoming workshops.