There comes a time in every homesteader’s journey when they realize there’s a profit to be made, but… to make a profit, you have to get your farm website up and running.
And I say this all the time, so excuse me if I’m a broken record, but farms are businesses and whether you started your journey dreaming of a profitable farm, or it just kinda happened that way, it’s time to get serious about your marketing.
And in 2020, that means you need a farm website.
It may sound like quite the undertaking, and believe-you-me, I know you’re plenty busy around the farm. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, if you put your mind to it, you could have your farm website launched in a weekend.
Ok, let’s just dive in:
Why Your Farm Needs a Website
There are only three reasons homesteaders and small farmers decide to create a farm website, and each reason is worthwhile, depending on your goals.
Here’s the gist of it:
1. Farm Websites Bring More Customers
Most small farms create their own website because they know that if they want to make more money, they need more customers. And to expand their reach, they need an online presence.
You see, websites drive traffic, new customers, to your farm (and the products you sell).
2. A Hobby Farm Website
If you just love your farm and want to shoutout your successes and epic fails to the universe, a farm website and blog is perfect for you. Think of it as a way to journal about your homestead, and in the process, you may even gain some raving fans!
3. Passive Income For Your Farm
It’s amazing how a small project can turn into an income-producing machine. Often small farms set out to record their journey, bring in a few new customers, and all of a sudden they become the experts on farming.
You know, the person or farm everyone thinks of when they have barn questions or concerns.
And the next thing you know, you’re offering courses, making an income through affiliate links, and writing sponsored posts.
And to be honest, one of the best ways to make your farming “hobby” into a full-time job is to utilize the power of the internet, and your farm website.
The Technical Details for Setting Up A Farm Website
First things first, before you go any further, you need to choose a domain name (that the www. part of the whole deal).
I recommend purchasing domain names through Namecheap as the price seems to always be right and the customer service is fantastic.
When locking-in your website’s domain name, make sure to do the following:
- Choose a name that reflects your farm (ideally your farm’s name)
- Make it easy to remember
- Try to find .com, .co, or .farm domain names
- If your farm sells more than one product, or may in the future, avoid narrowing the name to beef, or poultry, for example. Sometimes using your family name is the safest way to go, especially if you plan to go from roadside egg stands to hatchery status someday.
Next, you’ll need to decide on a host for your farm website (a host is where your website lives on the internet.)
The best hosts have killer customer service…and I’ve tried a ton before I settled on which was the most helpful for a beginner, and hands-down, Siteground is where your farm website should live.
They have walked me through some of the easiest problems (that I made way more difficult than they had to be)…and were always nice about it.
Now, if you aren’t website savvy, you’ll discover that I’m directing you to use WordPress.org rather than Squarespace, WordPress.com, or Wixx, that’s because when you set your website up on WordPress.org, you own your website, and can call all the shots.
While this may not seem like a big deal now, nor is it the most user-friendly of the bunch, later on down the line, it will serve you well.
Especially if you’ve got big #FarmGoals.
I really want you to be successful and dream big here, because not only will it serve you well, but it will serve the rest of the world…because we all need small farms to take on the big dogs.
Branding Your Farm Website
If you’ve never thought about your logo or farm colors before, now is the time to do it. Think about what your farm represents…is it a family farm? Are you a one-woman show? Do you raise meat or dairy? Do you raise horses, goats, or sell honey? Are you floral or a nursery business?
Depending on what you do, your logo may represent exactly what you’re putting out into the world. Or, if you do all the things, then your logo should be a bit more broad, with a lot of wiggle room.
Your logo and brand colors are the internet-face of your farm…so put your best foot forward.
With that being said, don’t get too hung up on the branding…if something feels right, go with it.
Too many websites never launch due to analysis paralysis. This is the inability to move forward because you can’t make decisions.
Don’t do this!
I promose, action creates motivation and confidence. So Keep 👏🏻 Moving👏🏻Forward👏🏻
If you need inspiration, create a mood board on Pinterest! Add colors, quotes, pictures of things your farm represents, and take a step back…you’ll see your farm in there!
Here’s a few of my favorites (a little whimsy a little rustic).
You can also search for mood
Reflect on what you’re farm is all about, and what it stands for, when deciding how to brand.
The 5 Pages Your Farm Website Needs
You’ve got your WordPress site ready to go, and now you need to add the pages that are most important to your business.
For most businesses, these five pages will set you up for success, but for farms, depending on what you’re selling, you may want to add an extra page…I’ll fill you in, so keep reading to get the deets.
Your Homepage can be short and simple. It’s sole purpose is to be the welcome mat to your farmhouse door. It should invite visitors into your world, and your farm biz.
Homepages should also include a Call To Action (CTA) which shows visitors exactly what they should do when they get to your doormat. It could be to follow you on social media, fill out a form and get a guide, or buy your products.
The blog is where the magic happens. It’s the place you curate content that will attract your ideal readers…ie the people who will give you money for your products, advice, etc.
On your farm store page, you can sell products, take orders or reservations, or sell courses. Usually, you’ll lead customers to your store page through a landing page, or more typically a blog post.
Your about page should be a friendly handshake for your potential customers. This is where you introduce your farm, talk about how you’re unique, and introduce yourself. It should be friendly and explain the purpose of your website (in a conversational manner).
The contact page is the catch-all.
If someone wants to ask a question, buy something, or hire you for something, they need a way to get in touch with you…and it should be crystal clear how they can.
Honorable Mention: Events Page
An events page might be essential if you plan to host tours, sales, or seasonal events at your farm.
If you’re hosting goat yoga after kidding season you can use an events page to let fans know when, where, and how much it will cost. They can even pay in advance for their ticket to your event!
The Importance of Social Media for Farming Businesses
As an introvert, this portion of the guide makes me cringe a bit…but here’s the honest truth:
If you want your content, your website, and your blog post to do its job and get traffic, you’ve got to share it…A LOT.
Because if you don’t, no one is going to know it exists, especially in the beginning. Organic traffic that arrives at your blog post through a google search is doable, but until your farm blog is up and running (and firing on all cylinders) you’ve got to do some of the heavy lifting.
For example, If you look at Meyer Hatchery or Tractor Supply Co.’s websites and social media presence, you’ll see they are active and have a huge following.
And I’ll tell you right now, Meyer Hatchery worked hard to build their online presence…and a few years ago, it barely existed. (I know because I’ve been a diehard fan for many many years).
So, with that being said, you also have to be consistent. Once your pages are set up, it will be tempting to sit back and have a glass of wine and celebrate. And while you should reward yourself for your hard work, know that the work has just begun.
Nurturing an audience through social media and email is the easiest and most cost-effective way to grow your website traffic, and get new customers…thus, more dolla bills in the bank.
I hope this guide has been helpful to you, and lit a bit of a fire in your belly. Because, as I always say, farms are businesses, and they can bring profit…or at least cover feed costs, right?