There’s no doubt we’ve entered the Digital Age. Websites are becoming increasingly important as a way for both loyal and potential customers to learn about your business. Oftentimes, your website is the first impression customers get of your operation, so making sure the content on it is relevant and useful is paramount.
So, how do you determine what to put on your farm’s website? Lonnie Kauffman, website manager for Kauffman’s Fruit Farm and Market (www.kauffmansfruitfarm.com) in Bird-in-Hand, PA, says brainstorming to come up with a sitemap before you start is critical. “It was a joint discussion along with many of the managers here,” Kauffman says. “The main five or six pages were part of a sitemap we made early on.”
Now the website changes with additional pages in response to feedback from customers. “We add a page whenever it makes sense,” Kauffman says. “Our business has a number of different departments, but our core business is fresh fruits and apple cider, so some pages came from questions that customers had for us in our retail store. Because the public was going to see this, we wanted to try to be proactive in answering those questions.”
Kauffman says the must-haves for a farm website are a page dedicated to the produce you grow and sell, as well as a page dedicated to your farm market if you have one. Photos are good to include, too. “We’ve gotten quite a few comments from people who like to see the photos,” he says. He also notes that providing dynamic content that changes often is necessary, because it gives visitors something new to look at each time they come.
Keywords Are Key
When creating a website, Kauffman says it’s important to consider keywords that will help your operation’s site show up in search engines. “I think working with a tech programming expert who knows how to work with keywords is fairly important, because there are people out there who are looking for farm market sites, so the better you are with keywords and getting yourself into search engines, the more you’re going to benefit,” he says.
On top of that, making sure it’s easy for your website’s visitors to contact you is critical. Kauffman Farms’ website has a specific “contact us” page where visitors can fill out a form with their comments or questions.
“If you look at marketing in the U.S., having an online presence is becoming more and more important,” Kauffman says. “Customers are beginning to expect that.”