Saturday, February 21, 2015

New Website

I'm trying to be more proactive with my preparations for the farm. Ultimately the farm is a business and like all modern businesses requires an on-line presence. That's what I've been starting to set up with 500yearfarm.com. I've been working on the logo for a while now and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. It's my take on a Celtic tree of life and I think has some deeper meanings in it relating to the vision of the farm that I won't go into right now but suffice to say I do think it reflects on my personality and long term goals.

I guess people who actually know what they are doing would call all this branding, but I like to call it putting a personal touch on my life's dream. I want everything relating to the farm to show my personality as much as I can without clobbering people over the head with it.

I'm trying to strike a balance with being open and honest about the process so others get a clear idea of what is going on and not overwhelming future clients and customers with too much boring facts and figures. In that effort you will notice on the about page a graphic at the bottom showing the current level of funding for the farm. That should be enough to keep people up to date on where I'm at for funding without constant updates here on the blog. I'll try and think of other creative ways of keeping everyone up to date without throwing out too many facts and figures. Hopefully others can use this info as a path to follow or, perish the thought, avoid.

The rest of the post is really only for the dedicated few or the tragically curious so if that isn't you, feel free to skip the rest but it would be nice to get some feedback on the website. So please, click around and see what you think. Sign up for the mailing list if you are so inclined and if not, I hope eventually I'm able to get something on the page that garners your interest. There is much more planned so check back from time to time and you might be surprised.

<begin nerd talk>
On the technical side, I've decided I want as little to maintain as possible with respect to the website while not giving up any of the functionality I think I will need in the long term. What I've decided to do is keep my work focused on integrating the site with other services that do a better job than I ever could at providing a usable site on the front end or the back end. The web has reached a state where the services available for free that don't require self host are really amazing. So I'd rather leverage their large development teams rather than rely on my constantly dwindling free time. I want the website to be clean, functional and most of all maintainable. I think it's a very permaculture design approach. The services are like very well adapted plants that can do the work so I can find other things to soak up my time and attention.

The services currently on the site are Google's Blogger, obviously for the blog,  and Mail Chimp for the mailing list.

I also have an on-line store at the ready to sell hand carved spoons and anything else I can think of to help fund the farm. I'm just waiting to finish a run of spoons I've been working on. This is using Square, I'm sure you've seen their stuff at farmers markets, and they have some very simple integration that looks nice and makes things very easy for me to manage and people to buy things, on the website itself or in person.

I'm also working on a Google Calendar powered events calendar but I'm not totally happy with the integration and I don't currently have anything to add to it. So, I won't be rushing that out any time soon. I found a javascript API that look hopeful but will require more research before I can say for sure that's the way I'll be going.

Eventually I plan on adding an audio podcast and Youtube video channel.

I also need to set up some social media accounts specific to the farm and get links added to the site.

</end nerd talk>