In today’s connected world, a web site is an essential marketing tool for any business and even more so for anyone growing for market. Whether you’re growing apples or zinnias, selling herbal salves or food products made from your crops, a simple web site can help you find new customers and keep in touch with existing customers.
The three primary goals for your web site are:
- Direct market your products to new and existing customers.
- Educate consumers about what you produce.
- Help new and existing customers find you.
If you’re new to creating a web site, it is important to make a list of what you hope to accomplish before building your site. For example, do you want to make it easy for new customers to find your U-pick orchard or Christmas tree lot? Or do you grow heirloom tomatoes and want to educate consumers about the superior flavor of heirlooms and display the tasty varieties you grow?
If you’re like most new growers, your marketing budget ranges from zero to tiny. Why not harness the power of the internet without spending a lot for your web site, with one of the many companies that offers not only free site hosting, but free help to create your site.
I’m a big fan of WordPress to build a web site. Although it started as blogging software, WordPress has now evolved into a sophisticate, yet user-friendly site builder that can be tailored to meet the needs of almost anyone. With free designs, called themes, free hosting, and free help from a huge forum of other users and pros, it may be the best way to build a free web site. In addition, there are thousands of ‘widgets’ that can be added to your web site to provide features like videos. To learn more, visit http://wordpress.com
Another free web site builder used by millions is blogger.com, owned by Google. Blogger offers most of the popular features found on WordPress.com, such as free designs, free hosting and free help via an online forum. Two more choices for free web sites are Weebly.com and Yola.com. Based on personal experience, Weebly is easier to learn and use, with it’s simple drag and drop site builder.
As your profitable plant business expands, you can easily upgrade your web site, or move to a ‘dedicated’ web site with your own domain name, such as www.cheeriofarm.com, and even an e-commerce storefront. WordPress is still my first choice for a more complex site, as it offers enough flexibility, with plug-ins and design elements, to satisfy even the most demanding user. Even if you’re not a tech-savvy person, maintaining and adding to your site is easy for most users to do themselves. I use Bluehost to host this website, because it’s so easy to use, with 1-click automatic WordPress installation and great customer service by phone or chat 24/7. I highly recommend using Bluehost for your first website. Click this link to get a special discount off the regular price.
This article is one of 50 free and low-cost ways to market your crops found in our new book, Sell Your Harvest, available free with the purchase of any of our growing guides.