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www = why websites work (Part 2)

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In my last post we got the discussion going about websites and learned the following:

  • We love them when they work but they can make us pull our hair out!
  • Most people do their initial research about your farm online first. So first impressions last is a true statement!
  • If  your web presence is a poor one, that is negative marketing and will turn people off to your farm.
  • Large community/marketplace websites like this one and Openherd are great places to get started with a web presence.

While large community/marketplace websites are a good starting point for your farm's presence, they shouldn't be your only presence. Websites like Camelid Central or Openherd.com are great for generating traffic because they draw a large crowd - like a traditional outdoor market. So they're great places to connect with potential customers, advertise, and use the industry tools they offer.

However, a large site with a lot of farms on it means that potential customers can easily click away to another farm where there are lots of distractions. In addition, you're not able to customize your own brand or unique personality on such a site.

So the next step is to have your own website. The benefits of having your own website are:

  • Unique destination to direct customers to where they won't be drawn away by competitors.
  • Your own website address (i.e. www.myfarm.com).
  • A branded experience that gives them a much better feel for your farm.
  • Build search engine links directly to your own website, rather than someone else's.
  • Perception of professionalism, experience, and being well-established.

Clearly the benefits of having your own website are many but with that comes some common challenges that we hear about all the time:

  • Too expensive to either build and/or maintain.
  • Too technical to work with.
  • Slow, unresponsive website people.
  • Time-consuming updates.
  • Frustration and hassle trying to get things working.

If you have money but not much time, you'll probably want to get a website solution where they do the work for you, or program a content management system (CMS) for you to make your own edits. If money is tight, then that's going to put more of the work on you to create your site and make things look nice. If you're not intimidated with the techy stuff, then you're not going to have as much frustration but may still have to put in a good amount of time. So money, time, energy, hassle, are the pieces of the pie you'll have to deal with.

They key is to find a solution that you can sustain on an ongoing basis. It's better to start simple and have good content that's appealing than have a flashy site with "Under Construction" pages or outdated information. At Openherd we've developed website solutions that are low on cost, time, and hassle, so if you're in need of a website or just want some objective advice about what would work best for you, get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help.

Watch for my next post where we'll talk about some other websites you can utilize for your online marketing!

 

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Openherd.com is north america's leading alpaca marketplace, offering buyers the widest selection of alpacas and alpaca products, and sellers the industry’s best online marketing tools, including personal farm websites, herd health software, online auctions, and sales list management.

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