How to Create a Website
Why do I need a website?
When you’re attending multiple farmer’s markets a week, you’re reaching hundreds, if not thousands, of potential customers. These potential customers have tons of other options, and might not come back to you next week. Having a website gives them the opportunity to learn more about what makes you unique. Do you use sustainable farming practices or hand-spin your own wool? That’s something that will draw customers to you over and over again. When they’re familiar with the “who” behind the product, they’ll be more likely to buy your product. It also gives customers somewhere to go when they buy your product on a whim and end up really liking it. If they can look up your website, they’ll remember that you were the vendor with the really good tomatoes and they’ll be more likely to come back.
It’s similar for small businesses. If people know where to find you online, they’ll be more likely to come back.
How do I create my own website?
There are a lot of services out there, and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out which one is best for you.
The first you’ll need is a domain name and hosting. If you don’t purchase your own domain name, your business will have be something like www.farmerjimsproduce.websitename.com, which looks unprofessional. Hosting is what makes your website accessible to others on the Internet. There are many different places that offer domain name and hosting services, such as Bluehost, GoDaddy, and HostGator, to name a few. Your best bet is to shop around and figure out which site will be the most affordable option for you. A lot of bloggers also have promotional codes for web hosting services, so do your homework. Finding a local web hosting company can make this an easy process and offer you real time support!
Now it’s time to set up your website, and again there are many options for this as well. With a custom domain name, you are most likely going to have to pay a small monthly fee to connect it to the website building service.
Wix is super easy for beginners to use. After making an account, they will ask you questions about the kind of website you are building and your experience level. Then, you can either choose a template and start building yourself, or answer a few more questions about your business and features you want and Wix’s Artificial Design Intelligence will create something for you. From there, it will walk you through customizing your site. When you’re ready to publish, you can connect your custom domain name. They offer both free and paid plans. I would recommend Wix to those who are completely new to building a website.
Wordpress is another great option. They offer two services, Wordpress.com and Wordpress.org. Wordpress.com offers both free and paid plans, depending on your needs. Wordpress.com is better for beginners, and allows you to connect your custom domain name before you even begin building your website. The interface is not as easy to use as Wix, but offers more flexibility and customization. I would recommend Wordpress to those who have some experience in building and maintaining a website, and who know what they need when it comes to customization. Wordpress.org is a lot more advanced
No matter which service you decide to use, make sure your website has your own unique stamp on it! It should be easily recognizable as yours.
Framework for a good website
About page- An about page should include information about who you are and where you’re from. Give customers an inside look at how and why you decided to start your business. Are you family owned and operated? Do you use sustainable practices? Are your products all organic? These are things your customers want to know! It’s also important to at least have a general area listed, like a city or even just Southeastern Wisconsin. That way people know in what area they can find you, and it also gives local markets the information they need to reach out to you. If you don’t have your location listed, markets like the Whitewater City Market won’t know that you could be a potential vendor for them.
Schedule- By having a schedule on your website, customers will be able to see which markets you are attending and when. This makes it super easy for them to find (and buy from) you.
Photos- Show off your products so your customers what they’ll be getting.
Examples of good vendor websites