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Finding the Right Partner to Build Your Farm Website
To become a successful farmer, you must become an expert in many areas: agronomy, mechanics, and marketing, to name a few.
If you’re a tech-savvy farmer, it may make sense to add website building to that list. (If so, check out our guide at Agriculture.com/wordpress.)
If not and you’d like to launch a website for your farm, your best bet is to find a partner who can assist you with the process.
“I wanted somebody I could go visit and say, ‘This is what I want.’ I knew I couldn’t put the website together on my own and make it look professional,” says Jim Hild about why he decided to have Kestrel Website Design build his farm’s website.
Kestrel specializes in web design and development for family farming operations, grain elevators, and crop-protection companies. Farmers and companies who use Kestrel work with Virginia Dahms, the founder and CEO who has been building websites since 1996.
“We have taken over websites where farmers got frustrated with a developer who didn’t get how agribusiness worked or how to market the farm in a way that was appropriate for Midwest farmers,” she says. “The terminology used in agribusiness is a whole language, and you need a web developer who can speak the language. If not, make sure that person is willing to learn it.”
Prepping for Launch
If you don’t have a farm logo, use the website design process as a chance to get one. Many website developers can also design logos and assist with brand development.
This is the first step that Becca Paro, owner and designer at Jumping Jax Designs, completes with each client. Paro has designed and built sites for Illinois Farm Girl, Nurse Loves Farmer, and The Farmer’s Wifee. After the brand and logo are established, the client fills out a web-design questionnaire that will guide the rest of the site development.
Dahms starts out by putting together the About Us or History section, because this gets farmers thinking about who they are, what they do, and what they want to include on the site. She learns who is involved in the operation, if there are any custom businesses, and what the farm is comfortable sharing on the website.
From there, a draft site is put together that the client can review and approve.
The time line from that first meeting to launch will depend on how ready the client is and the review process. This can take as little as a week; normally, it’s closer to one month.
What’s the cost? Paro prices her services by packages. The most popular one is $500 and includes a complete Wordpress design and branding package.
For as little as $375, Dahms can design a splash page. For a full-fledge website, most farmers will pay in the ballpark of $1,200 to $1,900. “We also charge $30 and up per month for hosting (depending on the size, complexity, and traffic of the website), securing the site, monitoring the domain name, running email, and doing some monthly updates,” she adds.
Some developers, like Paro, don’t offer hosting services, but they will help purchase domain names and set clients up with a host.
How do you get started? Start taking pictures and photographs of the farm throughout the seasons. That will ensure, when you go to build a website, you’ll have plenty of content.
Keep a list of other farm websites you like. Look at the sites to see who designed them (normally found at the bottom of the home page) or reach out to the farmer directly to see who helped build the site.
How often should you update your website? This is really up to you. Dahms recommends posting at least monthly new photos, videos, or a farm report, which she can do for clients for $55 an hour.
If you want to update the site yourself, Dahms includes a content-management system for an extra $575.
If you have questions about building websites, using social media, or more, email Jessie.Scott@meredith.com.