Website on a Shoestring

Website on a Shoestring

The Agriculture Collaborate hosted a meeting on February 13, 2013 called Website on a Shoestring.  Local farmers and growers learned how to use free tools to market their products to customers.  Below are links and helpful resources for participants.


Site creation:  Google Sites

Image editing and photo organization:  Google Picasa

Product sales:  Etsy or Local Harvest

News:  Facebook, Twitter

Calendar:  Google Calendar

Metrics:  Google Analytics

Other options, if you're feeling ambitious:

Blogging:  Wordpress (Offer RSS on your blog?  Burn your feed to Feedburner for metrics and email sign-up)

Electronic newsletter:  MailChimp


Keep the design very simple! (think minimalist)

Content (writing and photos) is the most important and where you should spend your time.

Content tips:

  • Include a photo!
  • emphasize uniqueness: can't buy this variety in the grocery store
  • tell a story about the product, how raised
  • describe the flavor in detail, descriptive language
  • don't be afraid to be casual: "these eggplant would be amazing with roasted with garlic"
  • emphasize health value and educate the buyer in a friendly way (not condescending)
  • get personal, talk about your personal experiences growing the product

Next Steps:

Look at the site in a couple different devices or browsers, if possible (Opera, IE, Chrome, Firefox, mobile device)
Email all your friends and tell them about your site, post to Twitter or FB
Print your own business cards and make sure your website address is on it
Edit your "signature" on your email to include your website address
Monitor your analytics, make changes
Set up publishing of photos/updates from your phone.  Check out Twitpic for images to Twitter.

Helpful Links and Resources:

Google Sites:

Google Sites Beginner's Guide

Printable guide on creating a Google Site

Google Sites Help

Configuring Google analytics

Mapping your site to your own URL

How to set up a Google calendar for public use

Sell Product Online:


Etsy FAQ

Where to get the Etsy badge 

Example of a bread and jam seller on Etsy  

Local Harvest vendor registration

Where to get the Local Harvest banner, if you're accepted as a vendor

Articles and More:

10 Tips for Good Web Writing | 20 Tips for Writing for the Web

How to Write Good Status Updates for Facebook

How to Write on TwitterTwitter Manners:  How to Write Good Tweets and be a Good Twittizen

Why Farmers are Embracing Social Media

Social Media for Farmers

Farmers on Facebook, Twitter, Defending Way of Life

YouTube videos of farmers telling their stories

Social Media Tips from the AgChat Foundation

Tamale Loco on Facebook

Great email newsletter example:  New Mexico Tea

Great writing: Monty's Farmer's Journal

Want to blog?  Here's some inspiration:

Farmgirl Fare

Skippy's Vegetable Garden

Tiny Farm Blog

Posie Gets Cozy (natural living)

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