Starting a farm blog is a great way to get noticed, find products, and even gather market information, but pulling it off can be tricky. Here’s what you should know about it.
Plan Your Farm Blog
Planning your blog is a fundamental element of success. There are two important factors here: picking a niche and finding your existing competitors. The ideal farm blog has minimal competition and a sufficiently relevant niche for readers.
It’s also vital to set up a blog that you can update regularly. If you only make a blog post once every six months, then of course you won’t have many readers. Good farm blogs update regularly, have content whose length matches what readers are interested in, and provide a mix of relevance and authority that stands out from the crowd.
Picking a Niche
Your niche is the primary topic of your blog. You can extend out to related subjects occasionally, but overall, blogs do best when they focus on a specific subject. For farming blogs, niches can include things like:
- Irrigation farming
- Dairy farming
- Sustainable farming
- Indoor gardening
- Gardening with kids
A good niche has enough potential audience members to be profitable, enough topics to allow regular updates and enough room for you to demonstrate personal expertise. Ideally, your blog will let you talk about your own experiences, the problems you faced, and how you ultimately overcame them.
Try to avoid making your niche too broad. Indoor gardening works because that has a specific audience, but a general gardening blog may not always be relevant to your readers. If your niche isn’t relevant enough, people will leave.
Make sure to research current cultural interests, too. If people are becoming more interested in beekeeping, you may have a chance to write a blog about bees.
Finally, you don’t have to update your blog forever. It’s okay to decide that you only want to make a year or two of posts, take the profits, and end your blog.
Find Competitors & Examples
Once you have a niche, it’s time to investigate your competitors. At this point on the internet, there’s a good chance that someone already has a blog on literally any topic you can think of. It’s impossible to avoid competition unless you have something genuinely new.
However, in a way, competition is good. It means there’s enough profit that other people think the niche is worth pursuing. Here’s what you can do to find out more about your competitors.
Start by thinking up some keywords, like farm blogs or hydroponics blogs. Put those into Google and collect the results, adding them to a list.
Once you have a list of sites, put them into a service like SEMRush and see what results you get. By doing so, you can see those sites’ keywords, who their competitors are, and so on. It takes a little practice to interpret this data, but once you do, you can have valuable marketing insights.
Your main goal here is to look for gaps in your competitors’ coverage. If you can find valuable keywords that don’t have a lot of competition, you can swoop in and take the attention there. You can also see which keywords are too popular to be worth pursuing.
Also, remember that “competitor” is a broad term, and it’s easy to lose sight of who your real competitors are. If there’s a giant blog run by a multinational corporation with tens of thousands of readers per day, they’re not your competition unless your company is that big.
More likely, all of your competition will be from smaller blogs, including those a little lower down the front page of Google. Few companies can hit the top of the charts overnight. Instead, plan on a slow and steady approach.
Make sure to consider your audience, too. If you’re aiming a blog toward corporate buyers, that’s different from trying to reach out to the general public. A few high-value customers can be just as good of an investment as a bunch of smaller ones.
Starting a Farm Blog in 7 Steps
Starting a farm blog isn’t too difficult. Here are the seven steps to follow so you can get your blog up and running.
1. Pick a Domain Name for Your Farm Blog
The first step in picking a domain name is deciding what to call your blog. Ideally, the domain will match your blog’s name as closely as possible. There are a few principles to keep in mind when selecting this name.
- First, shorter is better. The ideal blog name is no more than three words long, which is the easiest length for many people to remember. Unfortunately, short names are also competitive. You can stretch to four words if you need to, but try to avoid that if at all possible.
- Second, try to include your name. It might be a family name, the name of your farm, or anything else that’s relevant. Names are more unique identifiers, so this helps reduce the chance that someone else already has the domain name you want.
- Third, avoid numbers and symbols. These complicate domain names, and we’re trying to keep them simple.
You also need to consider what domain extension to use. The most popular extension in the world is .com, and that’s almost always the best choice if you can get it. You may be able to get away with something like .co or .us in a pinch, but these are objectively inferior to .com.
The reason .com is better is that it’s by far the most trusted domain extension most people can use. Other domain extensions are often seen as inherently suspicious, even if there’s no good reason for that feeling. The few that aren’t suspicious (like .edu and .gov) are heavily regulated and probably unavailable to you.
Finally, do some research to ensure nobody else has this domain name yet. If it’s open, buy it as soon as possible. You never know when someone else might try to claim the perfect domain name for your blog. If someone does own it already, you may be able to buy it from them. That’s not guaranteed, but many people are willing to sell domain names they aren’t using.
2. Select Your Farm Blog Hosting
Once you have your domain name, it’s time to get a hosting service. Hosting is what allows your blog to exist on the internet. It covers things like how much data storage you have, how many websites you can run, what loading speeds people can expect, and more.
Put simply, you can’t have a website without hosting.
At this point, it’s tempting to go for a free host because that will save money. If you’re serious about success, though, it’s always better to get a paid plan. Paid services offer significantly higher speeds for your visitors, improve search engine performance, and make it easier to monetize your blog.
Make sure to consider the performance of your competition and how much traffic you can realistically expect. Practically any hosting provider has more than enough power to handle even a high-traffic blog, so you don’t need to worry about that.
It takes time for blogs to pick up and get going, so you probably won’t reach the level of your competitors a week or two after you start. You will get there as long as you keep publishing high-quality content, though, so it pays to prepare.
Free hosting services are never as good as paid options. They might work for the smallest blogs, but if you’re serious about success, there’s no substitute for a high-speed paid plan. You probably don’t need a high-tier plan, though.
3. Install WordPress
WordPress is a content management system, which is a fancy way of saying that it helps you create websites without having to code them individually. WordPress works well for blogs, letting you pick a site design and install it with minimal trouble.
WordPress also provides access to apps that you can install on your blog to enhance its performance. These range from simple security upgrades to entire store systems that you can use to sell your farm’s products.
It takes time to go through existing apps and find the best choices. If you don’t mind spending a little more money, consider hiring a WordPress expert and asking them to put together a list of good add-ons for your farm blog.
Services like Bluerock, from Bluehost, provide easy one-click WordPress installation. This is a great way to go if you want to minimize the risk of something going wrong and get started on your website as soon as possible.
4. Find a Farm Blog Theme
Once you install WordPress, the next step is to select a theme. Themes are the backbone of any website, defining things like the colors, shapes, and position of different elements on the screen. Selecting a good theme will help represent your content and distinguish you from other websites on the internet.
WordPress has several thousand free themes available, which is an outstanding variety all by itself. Most of these aren’t specifically farm-related, but you can look for related terms to find more potential options. Generally, a theme should match your niche as closely as possible.
Beyond free themes, WordPress has many paid themes built and maintained by programming experts. Paid themes typically have far more features than free themes, making them better for creating complex websites. However, paid themes are not a good choice if this is your first time making a blog.
The reason they’re not a good choice, despite their quality, is that all the features in the world mean nothing if you don’t have the experience to use them. If you pay for a theme but only use a fraction of its potential, you’re wasting money. A better option is to use a different theme and change later.
Remember, you aren’t limited to one theme forever. You can change the theme on a WordPress site once you have more experience with it. That said, if you already know how to run a blog, paid themes are worth considering.
The final option is hiring someone to create a unique blog theme for you. Like paid themes, this isn’t a good idea if it’s your first time making a blog. However, if you find that you want to add features to your website and standard themes can’t help with that, custom programming can be a good future goal.
5. Personalize Your Farm Blog
Once you install your theme, it’s time to start modifying it. The Customizer panel in WordPress gives you access to a wide selection of features and options for your theme, ranging from using different fonts to changing images and other settings.
As a general rule, personalizing a blog goes a long way toward improving it. Most people can sense when something is too off-the-shelf – it feels like you don’t care enough to put time into making the blog your own. Customizing things ultimately helps your blog’s performance.
Pay particularly close attention to any customization options involving pictures. All blogs benefit from images, but farm blogs do especially well when mixing in things like images of freshly-grown produce or step-by-step instructions for specific tasks.
If possible, try to add high-quality images of your farm. Generic images are fundamentally less trustworthy than high-quality photographs of your property. If you publicly announce yourself, people are more apt to listen to what you have to say.
6. Carry Out Keyword Research
At this point, it’s time to go back to your list of other farm blogs and the keywords you gathered from them. Using a service like SEMRush’s Keyword Magic Tool, you can find some relatively low-competition words to use when creating your content.
If you’re not familiar with keywords yet, they’re elements you can include in content to help search engines understand what your material is about. They’re not as important as they used to be, but they still have a real impact on your overall performance.
Search engines want to provide content that’s relevant to the person using them. The more you clarify what your content is, the more likely search engines are to show it to people. For many farm blogs, you’re going to end up focusing on middle-length and long keywords, which tend to have less competition.
Your goal here is to target keywords with a decent amount of relevant traffic, but minimal competition. Trying to perform well with a short, top keyword is too difficult for most new blogs, but once you grow your website, you can start competing for even more valuable positions. Crops grow in their own time, and so do blogs, so be patient.
Finally, don’t forget to understand why people are likely searching for a particular term. Keyword research can help you figure out what potential readers want, and the more you address that, the better.
Remember, people visit blogs to get something. If they get what they want, they’re more likely to come back and ultimately help make your blog a success.
7. Publish Your First Farm Blog Post
Once you complete your research, it’s time to write and publish your first farm blog post.
Start by focusing on a low-competition keyword that still has a decent amount of interest to it. This drastically increases how many people will see your blog. They may not visit right away, but once you’ve been going for a few weeks, you should start to see real traffic pick up.
Next, take more time to think about why people use that keyword. Are they trying to find product recommendations? Looking to solve a problem on their farms? Conducting academic research? Whatever their reason, it’s your job to help them by addressing the topic.
Think about the best ways to answer their topic. Consider it from different angles, and decide what someone might need to know about the subject. Once you have an outline of what you want to talk about, you can start writing.
People write at different speeds, so there’s no universal estimate for how long writing a blog post will take you. HubSpot, another content management system, suggests 2,100 to 2,400 words. If that sounds like a little too much right now, try aiming for 1,000 words instead.
An experienced writer can probably write 1000 words in about an hour. If you don’t have a lot of experience writing, expect to take more time. However, as you practice, you’ll find that it gets significantly easier. This is particularly true when you can draw on your expertise, rather than having to research everything.
Beyond all of that, remember these tips:
- Brevity is good. Paragraphs should be no more than a few sentences. If in doubt, split the paragraph up.
- Try reading it aloud. Blogs that sound like speech are easier to read. If it sounds too rough or choppy, readers will look down on your intelligence.
- Use spelling and grammar checkers. Services like Grammarly can help you find and fix common errors.
Marketing Your Farm Blog
Marketing your blog is a major part of getting noticed. Put simply, it doesn’t matter how good your content is if nobody knows it’s there. There are five major types of marketing you can do for your blog, which we’ll discuss in more detail below. These methods include SEO, social media, content marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.
It’s hard to avoid some expenses here, but the ultimate goal is to make the blog successful enough that it can pay for your time and its marketing and hosting expenses, making it a self-sustaining project. If your blog grows enough, you may even be able to stop marketing it altogether.
Here are some general tips for marketing your farm blog:
- Figure out what your audience is
- Make sure your content is sharable
- Network with other bloggers
- Use a good layout
- Bring in guest bloggers occasionally
- Produce high-quality content
SEO For Your Farm Blog
Search Engine Optimization is the process of structuring your website to maximize its performance in search engines. SEO involves many different improvements on your site, ranging from including enough links to providing header information on each page.
The good news is that most blogs don’t need to do too much SEO. Blogs are comparatively simple websites, and most themes you can get on a service like WordPress already work well with SEO principles. Even better, add-ons for WordPress can make it easier to see where you might be lacking.
The most important thing to remember about Search Engine Optimization is that it’s ultimately about providing a better experience for your visitors. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re actively trying to make things better for people who visit your site.
The SEO you should focus on the most is your content. This includes things like the length of paragraphs, the number of links, the number and spacing of headers, and how many images you use for each article.
As a general rule, consider putting in a header every 200-400 words. For context, a typical paragraph is usually 50-100 words, so a header every 4-8 paragraphs is usually about right.
Headers help with SEO because they break up content and make it much easier for readers to scan your content.
Finally, it’s important to be sure you have links to every new page you create. Most blogs do this by having a main page that updates with links to new blogs. If you create a new page for a blog post but nothing links to it, search engines may never realize it exists. As long as you have a link, though, it’ll show up in search results.
For other elements of SEO, remember:
- Design your site and content in ways people will trust
- Don’t cluster links too densely
- Add meta descriptions to each page
- Format things so it’s easily readable
- Don’t make any advertisements too distracting
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
- Provide alt-text for all images
- Focus on promoting the most important content, not everything you create
Social Media Marketing For Your Farm Blog
Social media marketing is a great way to promote your blog and its content, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you want to post regularly so that people can find you. At least once per day is ideal, and around the time readers are likely to look at your content. Social media content is inherently sharable, and you can get a lot of viewers all at once if you can figure out how to go viral.
The first step in social media marketing is figuring out where your audience is. Today, Facebook focuses on older users, while LinkedIn emphasizes professionals and business networking. Younger users are more interested in media-based services like Instagram and TikTok. Twitter remains functional, but still has a short limit on post lengths.
Once you know who your audience is and what social media networks they use, spend some time to figure out what type of content performs well. Generally, posts on social media are more likely to succeed if they are topical, address a problem, or have some element of humor to them.
Also, actively seek out other people in your industry. Try to interact with their posts, follow them, and participate in discussions. People are more likely to check you out if you visit them, and anyone else visiting their posts may see your comments and decide to check you out.
- Each social media network has its own culture. Matching that culture helps.
- You can do paid advertising on social media.
- Quality and expertise get attention, so demonstrate both.
- Images tend to work better than plain text.
Content Marketing For Your Farm Blog
Content marketing is the process of building an audience by making and spreading high-quality, relevant content. One of the major goals for any farm blog is producing content that people want to share with others.
This content can come in many forms, from podcasts (long audio recordings of people talking) to infographics (pictures that visually display relevant information on a topic). The key thing here is that people may share your content off of your platform.
Unfortunately, that can make its performance hard to track. However, it also increases your reach. Even if just 1% of people decide to check out your website, increasing your reach by 100,000 people through sharable content means you have a thousand more people visiting your site. That’s a big change!
Quality is everything for content marketing. Try to have sources for any claims you make, present the information in a way that’s easy for people to consume, and make the content easy to share elsewhere. Content marketing can also break things up in your blog a little, ensuring you have more than just basic text posts.
Remember the following:
- Variety is good in content marketing because different people will share different things.
- Content marketing may require some expertise in graphic design. Look at samples and hire an expert.
- Provide new content regularly.
Email Marketing For Your Farm Blog
Email marketing is the process of reaching out to people once you have their email addresses and sending them regular content. For farming blogs, a good place for email marketing is creating and sending an email every week or two, ideally summarizing the content you just added to your blog.
Newsletters are a good format for this. The main goal here is to convince readers that your regular messages contain timely, relevant, and helpful information that they can use. How this takes shape depends on the exact form of your blog.
For example, if you focus on indoor gardening, you can create blog posts about specific elements throughout the year. With email marketing, you can then link to recent content that tells people how to plant things, when to add fertilizer, and so on. You’re not just making content, you’re following a planned timeline for releasing material to stay relevant.
For better performance in email marketing:
- Use an email design service like Stripo to make emails faster and easier
- Actively build your list by encouraging people to sign up for your newsletters
- Don’t spam people by trying to promote every piece of content you make
Paid Advertising For Your Farm Blog
Paid advertising is a great way to get views quickly, but it’s also relatively expensive. If you have spare cash, jump into this right away. Otherwise, wait until your other strategies start earning money, then reinvest some of that into paid advertising to further boost your blog.
Paid advertising comes in many forms, including ads that can appear on other websites, in search engine results, or on social media. Most ad networks offer extraordinarily precise targeting, so you can send ads to the people who are most likely to be interested in your content.
When possible, try to use pay-per-click ads. These mean you only have to pay out when someone clicks a link and visits your blog.
Finally, many blog owners focus on overall growth with paid advertising, but this is a mistake.
Paid ads are a more expensive way of promoting your content, so it’s always better to try and earn that money back quickly. That’s why you should focus your paid ads on your highest-performing content, preferably encouraging the visitor to buy something.
If you can’t sell something with a blog post, don’t use paid advertising for it. In general:
- Budget what you can afford for paid advertising
- Only promote your best content
- Stop paid ads when you aren’t making money
- Use demographic targeting
Monetizing Your Farm Blog
Monetizing your farm blog is the main reason you’re going through all this work. In your niche, monetizing usually means selling your farm products, or possibly other content that you create.
The first thing to understand is you shouldn’t try to monetize every post. It’s tempting to try and slap on some products at the end of every article, but that can make you look greedy and lose the trust of your audience.
Similarly, only monetize when it makes sense. If you’re making a new salad dressing from your crops, you could publish a blog detailing a salad recipe that brings out the flavor of your dressing. However, trying to sell that dressing in a post about tractor attachments doesn’t make sense.
When possible, try to present monetization as a solution. People are more likely to buy something when they feel like it will solve a problem they have.
Finally, try to apply the principles of reciprocity. People are much more likely to buy anything you’re selling if you give something to them first. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different methods of helping your readers.
When monetizing, consider the following options:
- Hosting live seminars through the internet
- Offering sample cases of different products
- Letting readers sponsor food donations
- Subscriptions of some kind
- Accepting guest posts on your blog
There are plenty of ways to monetize a blog, so get creative, find what works for you, and do more of that in the future.