July 23 2020 01:00 PM

Finding a website builder is an important step in creating an online presence for your farm or small business.

After you've selected your website’s domain, you will need to put content (pictures, videos, and text) on the internet via a website builder. Many modern website builders are "drag and drop" and can be highly customized to your needs.

Which is the right website builder for your farm?
The problem that most business owners run into is they select the website builder platform before they put the content together. This is a mistake. How will you know what functionality you will need if you don't know what you are putting on the website in the first place? It’s like building barns without knowing how many cows you hope to have in the future.

1. Create the content first.
If you are wondering what should go on your farm's website, please check out this Hoard's Dairyman blog, "What should be included on your farm's website. This will give you an idea of what you need to create. I suggest using a text editing software or notes on your phone to create the pages and content you would like for each page. It is highly recommended that every page have photos or a video to accompany the text.

2. Select a website builder with your budget in mind.
While there are website builders such as wordpress.com and Weebly that don’t require a budget, you need to understand the downside of doing it for free. Free means you don't have much control over how the content is displayed, and you will most likely never be able to sell directly to consumers via the website. You can link to other e-commerce platforms such as PayPal or Amazon, but you wouldn't be able to control the buying experience for your consumers.

Check out this website builder article on the pros and cons as well as pricing for available website builders.

3. Use a local website agency.
Many nearby cities have agencies that specialize in building websites. If this is too much to handle, consider using a local business to build your website. If you follow the steps above, especially about creating your content for the website first, then an agency should have no problem building a website for your farm. Problems almost always come from not understanding what content needs to be on the website in the first place.

Still unsure of how to build a website?
Your local checkoff has many resources that can help you get your website up and running. Contact information for your local checkoff can be found at usdairy.com. Or, feel free to reach out to me at Don.Schindler@Dairy.org.

To learn more about your national dairy checkoff, visit www.USDairy.com or send a request to join our Dairy Checkoff Facebook group.

Don Schindler

The author is a Senior Vice President of Digital Initiatives at Dairy Management Inc.