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Starting Your Own Farm Website

In 2011, Indiana farmer Brian Scott decided he was tired of reading about what other people thought of agriculture. 

“If there are no farmers talking about how food is grown, somebody else is telling that story,” says the corn, soybean, wheat, and popcorn grower. 

So Scott started a blog, even though he says he didn’t really know what he was doing. While that may have been true initially, Scott has grown to be a powerful agvocator who uses multiple social media platforms to share the work that’s done on his farm. In fact, he is now on the AgChat Foundation board, giving advice to other farmers interested in agvocating. His technology skills have grown, and he now shares videos he shoots with a GoPro and a drone, which he swears to his wife is also for crop scouting. He is no longer a tech novice, but his blog is still on WordPress. He selected WordPress originally because the platform makes it easy to set up a website. Scott (no relation to the editor) continues to use it because it makes updates painless. 

If you’re considering launching a blog or website, WordPress may be the best content-management system for you. WordPress is free, user-friendly, and responsive, so your website will automatically change sizes to fit the device users are viewing it on. This is why half of the websites on the internet are on WordPress. You, too, can be online in just four easy steps.

1. Pick a domain name.

This will be your website name. Scott chose thefarmerslife.com. Other farm websites incorporate their farm name or their last name, such as yostfarm.com or hildfamilyfarms.com.

2. Register the domain name and set up a hosting service.

You can do both of these steps through a web-hosting platform, such as ehost.com, bluehost.com, or hostclear.com. Select a hosting company that has one-click installation for WordPress. (That will make Step 3 much easier.)

Prices vary for these services. Some will allow you to register the domain name for free and will then have a low monthly rate in the $2 to $6 range. 

3. Install WordPress.

There are two options for getting WordPress installed to your domain name. The first is to use the one-click installation process available through your hosting company. You will see this after you’ve logged in to your account on your hosting company’s website.

If necessary, you can manually install WordPress. Be warned that this will require more steps and time. You can find a more detailed overview of this process at codex.wordpress.org/installing_wordpress.

4. Log in to the dashboard.

Go to yourdomain.com/wp-admin. This is the dashboard you will use to customize your site, add pages, new posts, etc. 

There are a lot of options at this point. In the beginning, make sure you update the following three areas.

Themes. WordPress has a variety of premium and free themes available. To only see the free ones, select this from the drop-down menu on the Themes page. After you’ve selected a theme, you will need to install and activate it.

Pages. You can add pages by pushing the “add” button next to Pages in the left-hand rail. The format is similar to Microsoft Word, making it easy to add a page with text and images. (Blog posts are added in the same way by pushing “add” next to Blog Posts.)

Menus. After you have created pages, you can add these to the website menu by clicking on the Menu tab. This screen will let you add new pages to the menu as well as rearrange the menu. 

For more information on getting WordPress up and running, visit wordpress.org

Have a question about websites, blogs, or social media? Email it to Jessie.Scott@meredith.com.

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