Once you have determined your farm’s name, you are now ready to begin to market your farm and the most critical way to market your farm is with a website. A strong website provides a way to reach both customers and prospective customers. Although there is a popular misconception that Facebook can replace your small business website, there are several key drawbacks. One is you cannot control your brand on Facebook and your visitors will never have a complete brand experience there as they could have on your own website. A website works as your main resource on all things about your farm providing much more detailed information that is not able to be shared on the social media platform. On Facebook, the world sees your statistics based on your likes and comments. With a website, you own the statistics on your site, and they are not pubic for the world to see. The number one thing you can do to market your farm business is to have it named on the world wide web. This name is called your domain name and thus your site can serve as your hub for all your marketing needs online.
Every site on the internet has a domain name that serves as an address, which is used to access the website. The domain name shows up in the address box of the web browser you are using. All domain names have a domain suffix, such as .com, .net, or .org. The domain suffix helps identify the type of website the domain name represents. For example, ".com" domain names are typically used by business and commercial sites and “.org” is attached to nonprofit organizations.
Domain names are relatively cheap to register, though they must be renewed every year or every few years. Anyone can register a domain name, so you can purchase a unique domain name for your farm website. Once you decide on a domain name and register it, the name is yours until you stop renewing it. When the renewal period expires, the domain name becomes available for purchase by others.
To register a domain name for your farm, there are several places online where you can look up various names to see if they are available. Godaddy.com, Domain.com, Siteground.com and Namecheap.com are a few of the leading ones. Names can begin as low as $3.99/year and goes up depending on the name chosen. Typically, you will pay about $10-12 per year. And once your domain name is secured, you are ready to begin a web site design. Generally, the domain name companies also offer basic website design services that you can do yourself and host it on their platform for a small annual fee. Of course, there are various designers that can provide this service for you as well and their charges can range greatly.
Determining what your web site will say is important and sharing your farm story as reviewed in previously published, Step One can be the basis of your site content. Locate several farm sites you like and use them as a model to determine your site’s direction. Less really is more and including lots of photos and minimal text is a great way to brand your farm. For example, on your ‘About’ page, make it a snapshot quick and to the point about your farm. Keeping the navigation simple and consistent on each page is also important as it make the site easier to use and quick for visitors to find what they need. Remember that most people access the internet via their phones and thus you do not want to have large amounts of copy on your site as that is hard to read via a phone.
Don’t let setting up a website be a daunting task. There are great tools and resources available to assist and provide you ways to truly grow your farm business if that is your goal. The Caswell County Chamber of Commerce is able to assist with basic web page development at no cost.
The Caswell Ag Chat is a weekly snap-shot regarding various aspects of agriculture in Caswell County. We’d like to have different perspectives, highlight different farmers in Caswell as well as fold in those farm owners involved in agritourism in order to highlight ‘all things agriculture’ in our beautiful county. Our number one economic driver here is agriculture and as we transition from the larger row crops of tobacco, that are still critical to our county, we would like to keep the citizens of the county aware of how much we have to offer to those who make all types of farming their career choice.
As published by The Caswell Messenger - Ag Chat October 9, 2019
Written by AC Hodges