Warning: getimagesize(image): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /homepages/12/d502827397/htdocs/wp-content/plugins/wp-open-graph/output.class.php on line 308

Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: do it yourself

Seven Steps On How To Build A Farm Website Yourself

death star website

Your website is the only thing you truly own.

Recently I’ve been asked a lot of questions about building your own website. Farmers have been asking me if they can do it.

The answer is, of course, you can.

Is it hard? Nope, not compared to back in the day (mid 90’s) when you had to handcode everything. Websites are much easier to build and there’s several companies that would love to do it for you like Wix or Square Space.

But if you want to DIY it. Here’s how I would go about it.

1. Get your content together first!

  • Get photos
  • Write the text
  • Make some videos

Honestly you would not believe how many people want to jump right into the website build without any content prepared. How do you know what you want to say?

When it comes to a print brochure, you never start the design without having the content. The content is crucial to the design. Websites are no different. Start with the content first!

What content is normal? I would see these as navigational items on a dairy farm website followed by what question it answers for the customer.

  • Milk Production – How is milk made?
  • Animal Care – How do cows live?
  • Our Community – What is it like where you live?
  • About Our Farm – What else is on your farm? How does it run?
  • Contact Us – How do I ask another question?
  • Journal/blog – How can I see what it is really like to live on a farm 24/7?

 

fair-oaks-website

Fair Oaks Call To Action – VISIT THE FARM

2. Think about what you want people to do or know about your farm.

This is your CALL TO ACTION. Make this the most important call out on the website. Think about these questions when you are putting it together.

  • Do you want people to reach out to you if they have questions?
  • Do you want people to visit the farm? Maybe take a tour?
  • Do you want people to sign up for an email list – you can give them updates on the farm, share recipes, tell them when BLANK is going on…
wordpress-logo

WordPress.com or WordPress.org are both good choices for small sites

3. Should you setup with wordpress.com vs. wordpress.org? Well, that depends.

First you need to ask yourself “why” you want to self host. Here’s a general list of pros and cons.

Pros
– you have almost full control
– you can add content pretty easily
– lots of people use wordpress so there’s a ton of help online
– lots of design templates to choose from

Cons
– can be complicated to set up
– there are monthly costs (domain and hosting)
– can be limiting down the road if you need more features
– there are always updates that you need to be installing

Why I initially went with wordpress.com?

  1. No cost
  2. No worries on set up
  3. Search engines love WP.com

Why I switched:

  1. I wanted more control over the plugins I could use.
  2. The costs are very small.
  3. I wanted to capture email addresses and have more control over the design.

Personally, if you are new to blogging or websites, I recommend wordpress.com. It’s a lot easier to set up and get going.

If you are looking for something even easier than wordpress – I recommend blogger or tumblr.

But if you really want to use wordpress.org and control your own website then I recommend using WP Beginner or WP Learner. Read through the beginning steps before starting.

If you select, wordpress.org you can buy your domain through them or buy it through another company like 1and1.com. These are not affiliate links – I just happen to use them.

You’ll also need hosting. You can buy that through several companies. The guides will explain all of this. There are many companies out there and I’ve used GoDaddy, Hostgator and Rackspace to name a few.

4. Selecting a good design template
Both wordpress.com and .org have great templates. There are several things that I’m looking for in a template.

  1. Mobile friendly/optimized. More people are reading with their portable devices and you don’t want to be a pain for them.
  2. Clean design focused on large photos/graphics. Don’t get something to clutter – the user’s eye won’t focus on the content you want them to.
  3. The ability to add right or left side widgets but not both. I like sharing widgets how to connect with me and capture email as well as show them what posts are popular.

5. Make time to write once a month or more.
Putting time on the calendar is the most important thing. Block the time it takes and spend the time it takes. Don’t underestimate the time because then you’ll blow it off. You are going to need a few hours for your first posts. After that it gets easier.

What topics should you write about? Well, that depends.
Everyone is going to tell you to write about your passion which I assume is your farm. I write about marketing and how to do it better. That keeps me going.

But if you want to attract an audience, which I’m pretty sure you want to do then you should be writing about what your customers want to know about farming.

Most farmers I know are awesome storytellers and you should incorporate that into your writing. If the topic is animal care, then don’t just bullet point the checklist you follow for cow health.

Write a story about how you accomplished the checklist or what went wrong and how you fixed it. Nobody wants talking points – they want to laugh, cry or think about what happened on the farm. And some days a picture can be all that is necessary to convey this.

What topics would I focus on?
Animal Care, dairy farming activities, struggles and successes, how the community plays a role in the farm, how you play a role in the community, what you feed your family, what you do for fun with the family, how you are improving your farm, your opinion on just about anything, what hobbies you have…remember most people are pretty far removed from the farm and they are intrigued with the lifestyle.

6. Set up Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.
After you get the website up and running, it’s time to add some tools that will make your life easier.

Add Google Analytics – this will let you know what people are doing on the website. Where they are going, what they like, what they are sharing, where they are coming from.

Add Google Webmaster Tools – this will tell you how the website is performing in Google’s search engine eyes. Can they search it effectively? What keywords are people searching on and finding your website? What pages are broken? All sorts of great stuff and it’s free.

7. Getting exposure.
The final step is probably the toughest when it comes to having a website. How are people going to find it? While I have a few steps you can do, I’m definitely going to be writing a larger post about getting your website out there but in the meantime here’s a few tips.

  • Share your posts on social media as much as you can. I hate to bust your bubble but most people don’t see everything you post – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. So I would be oversharing as opposed to undersharing. And by social media, there is more than just Facebook out there. Use Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Reddit, etc… If you are serious about blogging, then you need to be serious about using social media for the exposure and interaction.
  • Share with the search engines. You can use pingomatic.com to post and it will ping the search engines to come check out your content. BTW, Google normally visits a site once a month until you get popular then they could visit a few times a day.
  • Share via email. When you are first starting out, it’s ok to spam the family until they get tired. Make sure to ask them to share as well. You never know who they are all connected with.

OK, well that’s basically it for the beginner level. If you have questions along the way, feel free to hit me up and I’ll try and answer them. You can leave a comment below or just email me using the links on the right hand side.

Good luck. Can’t wait to see your site!

How do you set up a YouTube Channel for your farm or business?

YouTube-Transparent-Logo-3

YouTube is the 2nd Largest Search Engine

While I go into the benefits of setting up a channel and posting videos in “What can YouTube do for your Farm or Business?”, I’ll repeat the main topics here.

Videos can:

  • bring people closer to the real thing.
  • see how the farm runs.
  • help you get found in a sea of information out there
  • make a big impact without costing you a lot of money

But now we have to see how this YouTube thing works. Let’s get to it.

1. Creating an Account on Google

S1_google_sign_in_S1-3

Let’s get started by creating an account. Google owns YouTube so you will need to set up a Google account first at google.com. If you already have a Google account, you’re ahead of the game.

S2_Existing_gmail_account_sign_in_S2

S4 filling out account info S4

2. Uploading a Photo

S5_upload_a_photo_S5

Once all your account information is filled out, it’s time to upload your photo or take it with a webcam.

S6_save_and_crop_photo_S6

Choose a picture where people will be able to identify your face clearly. This picture will be used for all of your Google accounts.

 

3. Sign into Youtube.com

S8_all_done_now_to_youtube_S8-12

Now that your account is set up you need to switch over to YouTube and sign in.

S9_sign_into_youtube_point_out_search_barS9-17

You will be asked to re-enter your password to the account you just created on Google.

 

4. Select your Topics

S11_what_r_your_interests_S11-3

What do you like? A list of topic and subtopics will pop to help get you started with videos you might enjoy watching. These topics will not make or break your suggested videos so you can skip this step if you like.

S12_drop_down_and_click_my_channel_S12-5

Once you start searching for videos YouTube will suggest similar videos for you on its own.

 

5. Select My Channel and Create Your Channel Name

In the upper right hand corner click the drop down menu and click My Channel.

You will be asked if you would like to use your Google account name or if you would like to create a name for your YouTube Channel.

S13_My_channel_okay_S13-7

If you have a blog or brand name, it would be helpful to keep your channel name the same instead of your personal name. Once you have decided what to name your channel you will want to fill in some useful information for your future viewers.

S15_your_channel_W_checklist_S15-3

YouTube provides a helpful checklist to get you started.

S18_show_your_links_over_cover_photo_S18-13

Fill in the about section with a description of your channel, links (blog, website, etc.) and other channels you would like to feature. When you choose a picture for your channel art pick something that represents the theme of your channel.

 

6. Select your Account Settings

S20_Checking_your_settings_S20-9

After you go through your checklist you will want to read through your settings.

S21 Go thru Settings

 

You want viewers to find your videos and channel with ease, so set your YouTube settings accordingly.

S22_Dashboard_S22-15

 

When you are done with your account settings take a look through the features on your Dashboard.

S24_settings__defaults__allow_comments_all_or_approved_S24

 

Channel settings are as important as your account settings.

The video manager and analytics will come into play once you upload a video.

 

7. Upload a Video

S26_Multiple_Places_to_upload_S26-7

There are multiple places to upload your first video from your main page, but they all work the same way.

After your initial upload, you will only have the main option next to your search bar.

S27_Uploading_Options_S27-2

 

Once you are at the uploading screen, you will have the option to upload, use a webcam, create a slideshow video using photos on your computer, record a Google + Hangout (a topic for another day) and make edits to the video you are uploading.

Select a file or record your video.

S28_When_uploaded_it_will_share_with

If you selected a file, you will need to wait for it to upload, but while you wait fill in all your video information.

S29_Uploading_progress-4

After your video uploads choose your thumbnail and if your video needs stabilization. You will only receive this option if your video is shaky.

 

8. View Your Video

S32_Happy_w_Video-8

You can now view your video, but if you opted for stabilization this is not the final video. You will have an orange banner across your screen with the remaining time on stabilization. If the stabilization distorts your video you can delete it and upload it again.

Below your video you will find all of your videos information displayed, info and settings tab, and postproduction tabs (captions, enhancements, annotations, etc.). If you are happy with the way everything looks, let’s take a look at your analytics.

9. Analytics

Right now you won’t have any analytics, but this is where you will be able to view how well your videos are doing.

S34_Checking_analytics

You can view anything from your most current metrics from last week to a lifetime (every video you posted) of videos. It is important to see how well your content is performing in order to find out what content your audience likes or does not like.

You can even see how long someone watched your video. If your posting 5-minute videos but your audience only tunes in for 2 minutes, you now know to make shorter videos. Well that’s the basics.

Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or need something explained in more detail.

Internet Marketing 101: How to read Google Analytics?

When I first started this series on Internet Marketing 101, I told you how to set up Google Analytics on your site.  Now let’s see what Google Analytics can really tell you about your site?

Google Analytics Dashboard

Google Analytics Dashboard

I don’t have a whole month’s worth of data on my friend’s site, www.veinskincareinstitute.com, but I do have enough to teach you guys how to read the data and what I would consider important.

Let’s log into our account and see what the site is up to.

First, we see the Dashboard.

Here we can find several things quickly. We see our mountain range of user activity. Looks like on average we get about 30 users a day visiting the site with 579 Visits.

Continue reading

Internet Marketing 101: Figuring Out Your Business Goals

Back on Feburary 20th, I began a series on Internet Marketing 101:  How Do I Start Marketing on the Web?

vein-skincare-institute-webI’m using a friend’s business as an example.  It’s a vein treatment center located in St. Louis called Vein Skincare Institute.  She is answering the first of my four questions.  This is not how many questions we ask during an investigation of a company.  It’s just used for her as an example.

With her four answers, we’ll start working a strategy online that can help transform her business.  Instead of surviving, she’ll thrive and grow and, eventually, change the world.  Or at least, the world of vein treatment.

1. What are your business goals? This can be a lot of different answers but to me I really try and get them to tell me the obvious. It’s funny how many people talk about branding and awareness and all of that – which is important but more important is “I want to sell my product or service this many times.” You should know that number. It will drive everything that you do. Write it down in big letters.

Here’s her answer.

We are a full service vein treatment facility (phlebology) for problematic veins on the legs primarily; but we treat had, face and truncal veins as well.

We have a rather large tool box of treatment options, including injections, laser, intense pulsed light, and surgery.

While we have many other skin deep beautification services (laser hair removal, fotofacial rejuvenation, skin peels, permanent cosmetics, laser removal of tattoos, brown spots, birthmarks, etc), our main focus and that which drives our business is the treatment of problematic and unwanted veins.

In other words, if we grow our vein business, then the other services will grow thru cross-sales after confidence is gained after vein treatment, or patients see and hear about other services while in our building or webspace.

Our business works by attracting patients to our expertise, where they will receive a no charge consultation from a medical expert, followed by a summary meeting with a sales/marketing specialist, hopefully an appointment made, treatment to follow usually in multiple visits over several months, then after successfully addressing the initial concern, maintenance future regular visits…with multiple opportunities at various points to market to this population for cross-sales and referrals.

We mostly run with one full time physician and a very part-time physician, a nurse and an ultrasonographer.  The business was designed to be a 2.5 fte physician, and 2.5 nurse/laser tech facility, ie lots of room for growth.

Optimally I would like to see 3-5 new consults for veins a day, and “close” about 70% of them for treatment.  I would like to generate about 25 surgeries per month (some patients need injections only, and some need surgery and then injections).

So this is a long winded answer to your question:  basically we would like to average about 4 new consults a day.

This number would generate a cascade that with consult/sales/treatment and follow-up  including marketing, would give us very successful numbers!
I’m glad that she followed my advice about a specific number in mind.  So I immediately wanted to know what they averaged in the past.  Sometimes you’ll find a client that wants to jump from zero to max right away.  So I wanted to know what the reality is compared to the expectations.

She got back to me with this answer.  246 consults last year.

So let’s guess that there are 260 work days in a year and minus out vacation and holidays so that would probably take out 30-40 days.

On the low side 220 work days at 246 consults.  That’s a little more than 1 a day.

She wants me to quadruple that?  Wow, that’s ambitious.  I asked her how that breaks down and she replied with this.

We have our peak periods we call it “vein christmas” (that’s kinda creepy) that runs from Feb thru May so we tend to get the greatest # of consults around that time.

Here is the brk down since 1/2/08 to 2/26/09

jan 16 consults, Feb – 10, March – 36, April – 36, May – 27, June – 27, July – 12, August – 12, Sept – 15, Oct – 2, Nov – 13, Dec – 11, Jan – 12, Feb – 17.  Yes pls quadruple the number!

If we go on the basis of last year, we need to move quickly right now because “vein christmas” is just starting.

Next we’ll go over Question 2. What is your current marketing strategy and how is it doing? What are your tactics to complete that strategy. You should have a record of what you are spending and how you are spending it and what it is bringing in. ROI is very important for each individual piece but don’t kill something just because it’s not performing as an individual (you should know how it is integrated with all of your marketing efforts).
I love strategy and tactics – so this will be a fun one.

How do I make a Google Map for my company?

After our last seminar, Social Media Mania, I received an email from an attendee about how to make a Google Map specific to their business. You know the kind where you have the little blue icon instead of a red one.

Here’s what I wrote her.

If you don’t have an account with Google, then sign up. It’s easy and free. I would recommend you make the gmail account for your company name like yourcompany@gmail.com. This way it can be easily transferred to another marketer down the road.

Once you have an account, go to Google Maps.

There will be a tab call My Maps. Click on it.

Google My Maps

Click Create A Map.

Make a name for your map.

Make sure it’s set to Public.

Google Map for MediaSauce

Search for your location.

When it gives the red location spot, click on the it on the map.

Google Map for MediaSauce

It will say “Save to My Maps”

Click that link.

It will say “Which map would you like to save to?”

Select the “named” map.

You’ll have your map.

Google Map for MediaSauce

Then to add it to your website.

Click on “Link to this page” on the far right corner of the map.

There you can get the link or the HTML code to add to your site.

Google Map for MediaSauce

Now here’s something cool. Google lets you edit your business information and I totally recommend this.

To do this, get out of your Maps and then do a search for your business. Hopefully, it pops up.

Then click on the red dot on the map that shows your business location. There will be an “edit” button.

Click that link and set up your business.

At the end, they will call your business to verify you are the owner. They will give you a four-digit code. Put that in and your business will be on the map with more information than just a location.

Google Map for MediaSauce

Now you know how to do it yourself.

Google Maps makes it easier on people to find your location and anything that makes it easier on your customers is worth putting on your website.

Here’s an example.

And here’s one with an actual path from location to location.

If your locations are moving or you want people to enter their information and then it just show up on a map, MediaSauce has done this for customers as well.

© 2018 Don Schindler

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑