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www = why websites work (Part 3)

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In my last two posts we learned the following about websites:

    •    It’s great having a website but they can cause frustration to get going and maintain.
    •    Most of your customers will find you online first. Since first impressions last, it better be good!
    •    Exposure is the first step in marketing, so being on a big, busy website like Openherd is great for exposure.
    •    The next step in marketing - presentation - is best done on your own farm website where things are more personal and branded.
    •    Your own website will help build direct links in search engines and present a more professional image.

Now that we’ve talked about why having your own website is so important as the hub of your online marketing efforts, the next logical step is figuring out how to get a website - that’s the technical part that makes most people glaze over, procrastinate, or convince themselves they don’t need one.

There are a number of types of website packages. They all involve money, time, energy, and skill but in different proportions. So you’ll need to figure out what resources you have in each of those categories. If you’re on a really tight budget but have some web skills, building and maintaining your own website can be a good way to go. If money’s not too much of an issue, you can get something custom built and then pay a webmaster to make the exact updates that you want. For others, time may be the most limited resource, so you’ll want to go with something that’s easy to update and maintain.

So make a list of these factors and prioritize them to determine what resources you have to throw at your website - not just up-front but also on an ongoing basis. The pieces of a website that you’ll need are: 

  • Domain name (i.e. www.myfarm.com). This is the personal address of your website. It should be as short as possible, easy to verbally communicate, and include keywords that will help with search engines (including the word “alpacas” for example). You shouldn’t have to pay more than $10/year for a domain.
  • Website hosting. This is the server space that you’ll rent to store your website files so they can be displayed for visitors. Typical hosting costs are around $5-20/month, depending on features, disk space, bandwidth or other factors.
  • Website code and graphics. This can be done “in-house” if you have the skills, by a paid professional, an “open source” template system, such as Wordpress or Joomla, or it can be a template system provided by a website company. Costs can be from free (Wordpress) to many thousands for custom work (including every update you have your webmaster make!).
  • Website editing software. If you’re doing your website “in-house” you’ll use your own software, such as Photoshop and Dreamweaver. If a professional is going to custom build a site for you, then you won’t have to worry about getting software. Template systems will come with their own editing software that is web-based, which includes automatic upgrades, so you don’t have to pay to buy or upgrade your own software (Photoshop is a pricey piece of software!)

Openherd started offering websites when we realized that members had already mostly built their own website on Openherd and all they needed to do is get a domain, pick a design, and all their website information would automatically flow to their website from their Openherd account. This has proven to be a very popular system because there are no big up-front costs, a single, affordable membership fee that includes website code, designs, hosting, email, support, and of course the editing system, which is Openherd. So it keeps money, time, energy, and technical skills to a minimum.

If you would like to talk to us about a website package, go to http://www.openherd.com/join/ or get in touch with us at 844-925-7222 or support@openherd.com.

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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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