Create a Gorgeous Farm Website With FarmPress
This is a case study interview with a recently launched Academy member’s FarmPress site. FarmPress is a WordPress theme for agriculture businesses to create a modern farm website. It is included free with a membership in the Small Farm Nation Academy. Below are screenshots of the new website along with an interview with the farm owner.
Location: Virginia, USA
Objectives: A modern farm website with better SEO, an online store, and a fresher design.
Small Farm Nation (SFN): When/how/why did you become a farmer? What’s your story?
Franchesca’s Dawn Farm (FDF): “I/We bought our farm in spring of 2013 for “retirement.” We had no intentions of farming! After a family medical crisis, I quit my job in the summer of 2014 and bought cows, pigs, and chickens while my husband continued to work in another town. The farm has been growing ever since.”
SFN: What are your current farm offerings?
FDF: “We offer: grass fed beef from heritage breed American Milking Devon and Red Devon cattle, free range pork from heritage breed Gloucestershire Old Spots (GOS) pigs and GOS crosses, grass fed lamb and pastured eggs.
Goat will be coming soon – our new herd is currently working hard on clearing brambles. We have an online store where we offer products from other farms such as pastured chicken and honey.”
SFN: How you go to market, or if you’re just starting, what customers do you hope to serve?
FDF: “We have a delivery route which runs northeast from Halifax to Richmond, Williamsburg, and Newport News and then southwest to Roxboro, Raleigh, Reidsville, and Greensboro in North Carolina and on to Danville and Chatham in Virginia. We hope to add more locations in Virginia such as Lynchburg, South Hill, Boydton, and Emporia.
We also sell at farmer’s markets in Halifax and Danville in Virginia and Caswell County at Semora and Yanceyville in North Carolina.
A few customers pick up at the farm or meet me in town.
We are in the processing of putting up a building to store freezers and plan to open part of this as a store.”
SFN: What are your biggest challenges in building a successful farm business?
FDF: “Marketing is definitely the biggest challenge. Ok, and permanent interior fencing to keep all animals where I WANT them!
I didn’t anticipate all the challenges with marketing and the very low profitability of local markets (our area is very rural and low income, plus there are tons of farmers growing their own foods). Marketing really takes a lot of time, not just to do it right, but to do it consistently.”
SFN: What challenges were you facing with your website before switching to FarmPress?
FDF: “My website had very poor SEO and very little traffic was coming to it. I had no idea how to make things better and get more people to find us and buy. I discovered that I had too much information on the website and that my copy writing needed a lot of work, images needed to be properly sized, and that I needed to not only provide more places for visitors to opt-in, but give them a better reason to opt-in.”
What did you hope to accomplish with a new website?
FDF: “I wanted an online store first of all! I hoped people would place orders online for delivery so that at some point we can stop with farmer’s markets, which are a drain on time and not profitable enough to justify the time spent.”
What are the benefits to you of being a member of Small Farm Nation Academy?
FDF: “The best benefit is mentoring by Tim Young. If you take the time to ask questions, Tim takes the time to answer every one of them. There is always new content. The courses are thorough and well done. I do not wait patiently for the next one to be released! Instead, I watch eagerly for each new addition.
After I’ve implemented what I’ve learned in the course, I ask Tim to review it and he never fails to let me know whether I rocked it or to tell me where it needs more work. Usually it needs more work – and that’s ok, because I wouldn’t know how to improve it if I didn’t have Tim there to tell me.”
Why would you recommend FarmPress & Small Farm Nation Academy to others? Or would you?
FDF: “I recommend FarmPress and Small Farm Nation to every farmers who will sit still long enough to listen. For every reason that I listed in the benefits. I can’t say enough good things about the personal mentoring that Tim provides.”