Friday, March 27, 2015

Hiring the Right Web Developer for Your Business's Website, Part 2

My last post focused on some of the terminology used to describe different types of web developers including website designer, website programmer, graphic designer, and internet marketing consultant.  It is important to know what each of these people does and how they can help you build a great site for your business.  (Hopefully you can find a web developer who has skills in more than one of these job descriptions.)

As I discussed before, the article "How to Choose a Web Designer" by Karyn Greenstreet has some great tips on hiring the right web developer for your agricultural business website.  Below, I've highlighted some of these great pointers.

  • Pay attention to how much they ask you about your business. They should want to get to know you and your business intimately. How else can they design a site that reflects you, your brand, and your business, unless they spend time to get to know you?

  • Look at sites they've designed to see if you like their style. Is there a certain feel to ALL their sites, or are they flexible in their designs?

  • Ask them if they did the actual graphic and layout design of the site, or if they just did the programming. If they don't do the graphic work themselves, can they recommend a graphic artist?

  • Ask them what they know about internet marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). Be sure that they're creating a site for you that meets your larger marketing and business goals. (A pretty site is no good to you unless it generates revenue and prospects.)

  • Ask the designer for their fees and what is the estimated cost for the site you want. They may not be able to give you a good estimate until you discuss content and features of the site. Expect to pay between $60 - $125 an hour, depending on their skill and their location. A quality website with good graphic design and layout will cost around $2,500 - $5,000 for a simple business website. If you add a blog, newsletter, shopping cart, autoresponders, email address setup, SEO, membership site, or logo design (or if you have many page on your site), expect the price to be higher.
More tips to follow in Part 3!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Determining the profitable areas of your business.

Traditional financial reporting describes the whole business. But the average can hide a lot of details – both good and bad! Learn how to tell which segments of your business are pulling their own weight and which ones are dragging down the average. Then, learn to tackle each segment’s strengths and weaknesses to improve your bottom line.

Diversified farms present particular financial management challenges. Let’s use, as our example, a farm with a farm market and a bakery, as well as pick-your-own and wholesale fruit sales. The farm products are sold through three different channels. Which of these channels earns the best return for the fruit produced? Which should the farm do more of? Is the growing enterprise cost-efficient, or could the market and bakery buy in fruit from a less expensive source?

Have you ever wanted to learn about analyzing the true profitability of each of your enterprises? The complexity diversification brings means that we’re often managing by the average. But averages can hide a lot. If the farm boasts an 8% profit, it’s likely that the combination of enterprises includes at least one very profitable segment and one that’s losing money (or barely breaking even).

Focusing on the individual enterprises means business owners can put their efforts in the areas that need it the most in order to improve profitability.
  • What is an enterprise analysis?
  • Practical tips for completing an enterprise analysis
  • Pricing considerations for homegrown produce (when selling from the farm enterprise to the market enterprise)
  • Which enterprise should get the capital investment?
Can you tell which of your enterprises is the most, and least, profitable?
During a farm-market visit this past winter; farmer Jim, Rudy, Greg and I were discussing consumer behavior, promotional activities, and market management. As you have probably experienced yourself there were many twists and turns to this talk as we looked at the many enterprises and how they did, or could, fit together. Recognizing many other marketers might also have these same concerns Jim said “yes” when I asked if we could use his market as the demonstration site for a full day exploration of intensive study.

If the market / farm you mange has some of the above concerns, perhaps you may want to consider actively participating in an upcoming Intensive Study Day. Check the details of this March 31st event and register today.

The idea for this event is for you to come with your knowledge and your questions. We have confirmed a distinguished farm-marketer panel ready to share their perspectives and practices. We also have an industry professional with years of experience consulting with marketers and agritourism operators to help us understand concepts of profitability.

This is an open event to get your concerns addressed. Country Barn is the laboratory in which we will explore the topics and resolve the problems. Farmer Jim is being gracious by allowing us to use his businesses as our living examples. He hopes to get concrete answers to his questions. Perhaps you will also?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hiring the Right Web Developer for Your Business's Website, Part 1

In my previous post titled "Building a Website for Your Small Business", I posed some questions to ask yourself before starting your website design.  From that post, you can see that you personally don't have to be a web designer to create a website; there are do-it-yourself site builders to help you through the process.  

If you aren't satisfied with the DIY site builders or you want complete customization, you will need to hire a web developer.  To begin your search, it's important to know some terminology.  Here are some definitions from the article "How to Choose a Web Designer" by Karyn Greenstreet. 

  • Website Designer - helps you to determine the page layout, graphics, text location and colors of your site, as well as the navigation and how pages will cross-link to one another. He may also do the actual computer programming and graphic art work for the site, or may hire out that work to a programming specialist. A Website Designer is the project manager for your site design.
  • Website Programmer - takes the design from the Designer and creates the code to make the site run. She is also responsible for all the technical stuff that happens behind-the-scenes to make sure the site works properly for your visitors.
  • Graphic Designer/Artist - creates or choose the graphics for the site, including page layout, colors, logo, photos, illustrations, etc. Think of this person as the "visual artist" who creates the brand image for your site.
  • Internet Marketing Consultant - helps you to determine how your website fits into your overall marketing strategy, and how to get more traffic and sales from your website.
Person developing a website. (photo credit:
For the sake of simplicity, I will use the term "web developer" to describe anyone you hire to build and design your site, but it is important to know the skill sets and types of deliverables each of these web technologists creates. stresses the importance of hiring the right web developer.  A web developer "will create the online face of your company and enable you to interact virtually with your customers.  So, it's especially important that you hire the right talent the first time out.  Otherwise, you risk hurting your business, as well as wasting time and money seeking a replacement."

More posts to follow on tips for selecting the right web developer!