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Any farm with any marketing goals at all should have a website. Modern customers, when exposed to your business through any other marketing efforts (paid advertisements, press releases, brochures) are far more inclined to look to a website for more information than to make a phone call or stop by your farm. If you are promoting your business through any other medium but do not have a website for the people you attract to visit, you are missing a big opportunity to pull people in.
Using standard layout norms for your site will make it useable and tidy. The standard website has a logo and business name at the top, navigation across the top or down the left side of the page, content in the center, and the footer is often used for contact information. The right side of the site can be used for a search box or a sidebar.
Many small farms will have relatively small websites, so navigation shouldn’t be a major challenge for your users. Make sure that as readers click through your website, there are “breadcrumbs” that make it possible to navigate back through the pages. Redundancy, or giving people multiple ways to access a page, can be a useful tool. Don’t build any “orphaned” pages, or pages that can only be reached by following one hidden path. Pages should be visible on the menus and accessible through a number of paths. For a local business with a small website, there is no reason that customers should have to click more than three times to access any page from your homepage. Search engine optimization is a complex field, but there are simple things you can do to make sure that your site comes up easily when people search for it. Search engines prioritize headers on your site, so don’t use only bold or italics to highlight pages or sections. Page names are prioritized by search engines, so give each page on your site a unique name to provide more keywords that will lead search engines to your site.
Websites cannot, themselves, reach out and grab customers the way that paid advertising or flyering can. If you have the capacity to manage any social media efforts or a newsletter, your website will be a central piece of building an ongoing online relationship with customers. Include the web address on your packaging, business cards, and in all forms of advertising. Let customers know you exist through other forms of communication, and point them towards your website as their initial welcome to the farm.
Polly designed the Robin Hollow website herself with IWeb, saying, “I had some web skills, and I watched a LOT of tutorials on YouTube.” The site is modern, simple, and easy to navigate. It is consistent with Robin Hollow Farm’s other materials in general appearance and color choice, and is consistent in its use of the taglines and the logo.
This material is based upon work supported by USDA/NIFA under Award Number 2010-49200-06201.
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