Check it out! It's only taken me about 2 hours....now to pot up that kale!
Here is a link that might be useful: Briarwoods Farm blog
Can you get rid of the ads? they are distracting. I use a free web site service but for $5 a month they get rid of the ads and when i did that my site became a lot more user friendly and much much better looking.
It has been worth the price, which is a tax write off
I just caught your first post. I look forward to reading more! I've had friends and family tell me I should start a blog but I'm hesitant because I can't even keep my facebook page current! I think there is a need out there for more information from people who are actually farming versus those who have farm dreams but haven't any real experience. Thanks for putting yourself out there!
Thanks for looking. No, I can't get rid of the "ads" (I think you're referring to the "boards" on the right-hand side of the page? If there are ads my AdBlock is not allowing them to show). This is a daily online local "newspaper" so I figured I'd start a blog to get the word out in town that we're open for business. I'm still waiting to hear if I got a spot at market - once I do, I'll post that too.
I know people who use weebly to host their websites, I don't know how the ads are on that, I can start doing that and link to it from the town's Ag Commission page (they're also adding me to the farm map for $25), but since so many people get this newspaper delivered to their Inbox each day, I figured it would give me more exposure to be "pushed" to their Inbox rather than passively waiting for someone to click on a link from Ag Business page.
Any suggestions for blog topics, how often to update, etc.?
I love it! I'm a first year market grower, and have been dabbling with the idea of starting a blog (as if i have time). But it really does look fantastic!
Take lots of pictures of your farm and post them daily. The key to getting blog traffic is a lot of posts and people far prefer photos to text. Also do not write to a local audience. You mention you are from Granby-where is that? This is the WORLD wide web and you will get readers from all over the world so always be clear about place names and never assume your audience is local (it won't be for the most part). Plus doing so will make your writing much clearer.
I would get away from the host you are using as the Ads will kill your traffic. get a blog on wordpress, blogger or another free service. I have had a blog on blogger (Google)for about 7 years and I like it fine, though I know several farmers who left blogger for wordpress and claim it is better (they are all also publish writers/authors).
I use my blog to educate-I will post articles, pix of my farm, stories of what I am doing as well as the occasional politics of food rant.
Though since I got a Facebook page for the farm I do not post much to the blog as FB is simply a much much better platform to market the farm and for FB I try and post a minimum of 6 times a day to keep that page in front of the peoples' eyes
Thanks Lucy. I will have to get another host, then I will start writing for a larger audience. Since this is a local online pub, I started writing for local audience (and since it's local, I figured I could pick up more customers instead of casual browsers - no one in WI is going to buy from me no matter how much they like my blog!). But I do want to expand beyond this town, the market I had been selling at the past 2 years is in a different town (and as far as I know they don't have a Patch, though the town I wanted to get into Sunday market does). Not sure how to get more exposure in other towns' Patch publictations.
I'm still thinking of localharvest like Jay does.
I want to have a platform where I can post links to articles, and more pictures would be good though I don't have anything really picturesque since I just grow in a few raised beds here and there, I don't have a hoophouse full of greens, or fields with rows and rows of anything. At least I can take closeups of the harvests once I have them, and tables at market.
I'm still waiting to hear if I got a spot at the Wed night market in town, I think that if I do, and post every Wed AM in the Patch, I might be able to increase traffic to my stall.
Wow, 6 times a day - where do you find the time?
Def get a local harvest page. I have had one since the first week they were live, though without doing a lot of work you don't tend to get a lot of business (and they take a steep cut if you sell through them so I generally use their site to steer people to my web sites and by pass them when it comes to the exchange of money). But the site gets around a million hits a day and even my neglected page still gets several hundred hits a month and usually a couple of email inquiries. I know some people personally who do around $50K worth of sales through LH. It's all what you put into it.
And know it takes time and a lot of posts to get your blog read. Mine probably had 4 regular readers and around 10 hits a day for years. Now i am up to around 100 regulars and maybe 150 hits a day (some days are much better than others). And blogs suck for targeting local traffic because the more local your blog becomes the fewer readers it will have.
With the posting on FB, it take about 10 seconds to put up a post, as they are rarely something along the lines of a blog entry which is basically a 100 to 200 word or so essay. I do this when I am taking a break through out the day. And on my FB page which just past the 1000 like mark, about 50% of the people are not in my area and I have no idea why they liked the page. But that other 50% is in my area and are potential customers. And that is the nature of blogs, at least half the people who read your farm blog will never become customers but you still write to them.
Sorry, I should have said Locallygrown not Local Harvest. I do have a LH listing, but have never gotten any leads from it. Another woman farmer in NY just posted on our Yahoo group how she is having problems with shipping orders through LH, both she and her customers are getting frustrated. And they do take a much larger cut than LG.
OK, I know FB is very popular (and I had to miss the AgCommission's "Social Networking for Farmers" series since it was on DS's Scout night and I didn't have babysitter for DD). But just wondering (not with FB in particular, but "non-local" blog), why wouldn't you want to target local market when you're selling perishables? I would think time and $ would be better spent on local advertising since that's where the customers are? I'd rather have 1000 local readers who may buy from me (on farm or at market) than 100 times that non-local who will never buy. Of course, that's assuming the locals are not using FB as their only source of info, they are either not FB users or read the local online newspaper as well.
I can see eventually having a local blog on Patch and a "non-local" blog (for people say in my old market town who don't get the Patch, I still can't see really writing for people in another state/across the globe), pretty much same info, doesn't take too much to edit one to post on the other and I like the fact that the Patch is "pushed" to Inboxes.
But what is the benefit of FB vs a blog? Frankly, I've stayed away from FB, Twitter, etc. b/c of privacy/security issues, and I can see that my Spam folder is going to get full if I do post. I don't even do LinkedIn, and I get "invitations" from people I don't even know. I can only see it getting worse if I do set up account(s) with these services.
With FB, one person that might be miles and miles away can refer you to someone just around the corner. Plus you can search within FB. I don't have an business account, but my kids have found some of the classmates from 20-25 years ago by being on FB. My DIL found her mother (separated in early childhood, when parents divorced) on MySpace.
You will need to accept more 'invitations' when we are doing business. Linkedin is basically for business people to connect with other business people.
DH is on LI and got message from a guy I used to work with 9 years ago. But I get invitations from not only chef who worked with us in BWF class and the nursery where I buy my potting soil, but someone I had emailed asking about something they had listed on CL (don't know how they got my email, should have all been through CL) and worse people I have never heard of.
I just posted again, and noticed the FB symbol in between my "intro" and the box to write a new post (if you can see that, maybe it's just displayed to me). I have 3 "likes"? Can someone with a FB account check it out to see if this blog is visible on FB (and if anybody really likes it? Maybe it's you guys?).
Wow, I wasn't going to ask you to set up accounts with Patch, but if anybody can "like" my blog either accessing it through link in my first post, or FB, I'd appreciate it! I don't think you can comment unless you have a Patch account though. Thanks
The reason you want thousands of non local hits on any blog is so it goes up in the search engines so that when someone Googles your farm name that is what comes up at the top of the first page of the search and not things unrelated to your blog. if your blog doesn't show up in the first 10 entries few to no people will ever find it through a search 9and that is how 95% of the readers will find your blog).
So if you go only for local readers your blog may get 3 to 5 hits a week and over a year's time have maybe 10 regular readers-not effective marketing.
the locally grown thing works only if there are several others in your area using it. There is no one around me using that software so it is useless to me unless i want to do all the marketing work getting people to use the software to buy from and than i have to deliver the goods to them, etc. Where this is established it works but it is a lot of work to set up a system in a new area.
Facebook is a lot more flexible than a blog. they are two very different things-blogs allow you to tell your story in depth. FB allows you to do rapid updates that people will see as people are on FB for hours on end. But it is not easy to get real in depth and write say 500+ word updates on FB and have people read them. Facebook allows me to do actual business-I sell CSA shares over FB. I have never actually sold anything because of the blog. the blog is what gets people interested in the farm, though.
Thanks for the explanation Lucy. I didn't notice that there was a requirement to buy software to market over LG - maybe Jay can comment. But I have held off since he first mentioned it just b/c I would have sto set up a new market and manage it myself.
My sister said she couldn't find me in a FB search but went to the blog link I sent her and "liked" it, also posted it on her pages so her friends can see it. I guess that's the advantage - it's like that old shampoo commercial where one person tells a friend, who tells another friend and so on.
How do you get started and "introduce" your farm on FB, if you can't write lengthy posts? Do you write a blog and post links to it?
I still think that I would get more than 10 readers per week with the Patch - today they put my latest entry in "News" as well as "Blogs" and that gets delivered to all the Patch readers subscribed to this town's Patch (and may show up on other towns' as well if the editor(s) decide to pick a story up).
Please give me advice on something else to use besides Facebook. I want to quit that and do a real blog.
I know a lot of people use Wordpress or Blogspot. Sorry I don't know more since I haven't started it, still with the local Patch.
Blogs are different from Facebook in what they do. They are great for putting forth your story but they are not so great for communicating with your clients/fans/likers (whatever you want to call them). Like Facebook in order to get the blog read by people you have to post nearly daily (actually posting a couple of times a day seems to be what works to get your blog high up in search engines. I have found Facebook has been a great way to get people to read my blog but my blog is not a good way to get more Facebook likes for my farm page.
little_minnie, Here is a link I've had bookmarked. It really explains the blog starting process.
Here is a link that might be useful: how to start a blog
I've been trying to get a blog started, but being a first year market grower I haven't had the time... That being said, my Facebook page has taken off! It's gotten me loads of business... And I can't complain about that :)