Google Farmer: Organizing Farm Events With Google Calendar

I use Google Calendar for so many things it's not even funny. For my farm, for my personal life, and even for Farm Marketing Solutions. I schedule everything through my Google Calendar. Using it is very simple.

There is ONE particular feature that makes this tool very powerful, and that is the ability to share your calendar.

Sharing Google Calendar

...with Family and Friends

With Google Calendar you can easily share your calendar with anyone else through a simple e-mail. I have a separate personal calendar than Kate. I keep Farm Marketing stuff on it, doctor's appointments, .... you know, calendar stuff. She has a calendar of her own two. We have shared them with each other, and that way I can make sure I don't double book anything that might involve the two of us, but at the same time, while I am editing my calendar, I can turn hers off if things get too cluttered.

It is really easy to share calendars, especially if you both have a Google Account. You start by creating a calendar. While viewing your calendar, click on the little gray triangle, and then share calendar. See image below.

sharing google calendar

You can also view other people's calendars with your calendar at the same time like I mentioned Kate and I doing. Everything is easy to organize, change, and it will automatically update everywhere that is linked to Google Calendar. My phone is linked, my desktop is linked, everything is in the "cloud". This makes staying organized really simple.

with Your Farm Customers

I know from experience that my customers always want to know what is happening when, and to be reassured when things are happening, like CSA pick-ups. That is why I created a Google Calendar for FoodCyclist Farm. That way I can update and edit the calendar wherever and whenever, and my website will be automatically updated. CSA members can either check my website, or link to the calendar through their Google Accounts.

You can keep a calendar private, or you can make it public. I have made my farm calendar public because I want everyone to know what is going on. Here's a picture of my farm calendar on my farm website:

farm-calendar-farm-events

To get an embed code for your website, click on that gray triangle again on your Google Calendar page. This time click on "Calendar Settings" and it will bring you to a new screen with the embed code.

Super Simple!

This is a super simple blog post, but I wanted to make sure I highlighted this awesome tool. The simplicity of using Google Calendar and the power of being able to share it with others is what makes this one of my most valuable tools. There's not much to learn, and the pay off is so worth it.

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Other Google Farmer Posts

 

Using Google Analytics To Measure Success With Your Farm Website

Once you have set-up your farm website, you want to keep track of whether or not people are visiting it, and where they are coming from. I mean, wouldn't it be very helpful to know whether your farm marketing efforts are being successful? The best tool that I have found for tracking farm website visitors is Google Analytics. Sure your website hosting company, or your installation of Wordpress will give you some statistics, but I find they are not as accurate, and definitely not as detailed. Just because your hosting company is telling you that you get 12,000 hits a month, that is not necessarily true. One example of how that number is inaccurate is that if it is winter and you are doing a lot of work on your website, your hosting company is counting all the times you click on the pages to check them, skewing your numbers. Google Analytics lets you exclude your IP address so you're not counting your own clicks. (I'll cover excluding your IP address below, it's easy.)

Like all of Google's helpful tools, Analytics is free! I would have a heck of a time trying to run my business without Google. I definitely want to thank them any chance I get for all the free stuff they provide. So if you're listening Google, thank you!

You are going to need a Google account to use this tool. If you do not have one already you can sign up for one here.

I find that the tools I use are best explained with visuals. First I'll cover some the of the recent traffic I have been seeing on my own farm website, and how I am keeping track of the local traffic to my website. Then I'll highlight some of the other things that Google Analytics keeps track of. Then I'll show you how to install it on your Weebly, Wordpress, or other website.

Note: Stats are refreshed every 24 hours. You have to be patient.

My Farm On Analytics

farm website visitors by country

Analytics lets you track your farm website visitors by what country they are visiting your website from. This I always find fun and kind of interesting. My farm website FoodCyclist.com has bee visited from 60 different countries. Not bad for a local farm. The only problem here is that it does not help me with my local sales, that is too big of a map.

All you have to do then is click on the United States, and a more detailed map appears.

farm website visitors in the united states

This next layer of detail breaks down what States have had people who have visited my farm website. Also fun, and if you sell products across the country this is good information for you. Darker States have had more visitors. You can tell at a glance where the majority of your traffic is coming from. When you're on this page you can scroll down and they give you a list of how many people from what States have been to your site. It is organized by the highest number of visitors.

For me, I want still more detail, so I am going to click my mouse on the tiny state of Connecticut and see what I get.

farm website visitors in connecticut

That's more like it. From here I can see that my marketing efforts are reaching my town of New Milford, CT and the towns surrounding me. Sure, I'd love to see more traffic to my website from these areas, but it's a start. You always have to start somewhere. This map shows me that the guerrilla marketing I have been doing on the streets is starting to pay off with website visitors.

Google search results are becoming more localized for certain keywords. Now, if you search "farm" you will get results pages of farms in your area, usually with a map. This is called Google Local. You can make sure you add your farm to Google Local Maps through this link www.google.com/business/placesforbusiness/

More Information From Google Analytics For Your Farm Website

farm website analytics sidebar

You can glean a lot more information from Google Analytics than just the location of your website visitors.

Installing the Analytics code on your website will allow you to see what pages people are visiting. This will give you insights into what people are looking for on your website. Perhaps which pages are more visible and easier to get to. If you have a sales page that you wish had more traffic and a non-sales page that is seeing me page visits, you can analyze what makes the  two different and change things up to convert more customers.

Time

Analytics also lets you see how long people are spending on your website. Sometimes this is measured in nano-seconds.

Flow

Analytics tracks the visitor flow. What pages are they clicking and how did they get there? What pages are your dead ends, where people hit and then leave your website? What can you do to keep them on our site longer and perhaps buy something?

Easy Navigation

Right from the sidebar here (which is on every page) you can see all of this. You can even get to traffic sources, which tells you how people are find your website. This breaks down into three categories.

  • Search Traffic
  • Referral Traffic
  • Direct Traffic

Search Traffic counts people finding your website through search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Referral Traffic tells you if there are any other websites that link to your website, and are sending traffic through those links.

Direct Traffic tells you how many people are getting to your website simple by typing your exact website address. This gives you an idea of how many people might be searching for you based on the fact that you put your farm website URL on all of your marketing materials.

Farm Website Keywords in Google

keywords for your farm website

Google Analytics lets you see what people are searching for in Google when they find your website. I have had my site for a couple of years so my keywords vary. People search "FoodCyclist" all the time for me. I also have hits from "chicken for sale", "chicken tractor", and my name "john suscovich". I am starting to see more traffic from my local area for keywords related directly to what I grow on my farm, chicken.

Referral Traffic

referral traffic for your farm website

I can see what pages are linking to me to send people my way. I love that this shows how powerful my Social Media has been. The list of top 9 pages linking to me:

  1. Twitter
  2. Google
  3. Farm Marketing Solutions
  4. Facebook
  5. Facebook
  6. Local Harvest
  7. Pinterest
  8. Go Bicycling Touring
  9. Real Time Farms

Installing Google Analytics on Weebly

I showed you in this tutorial how to create a professional looking farm website with Weebly quickly and inexpensively.

  1. Create website with Weebly editor
  2. Create Google Analytics Account
  3. Add website URL to Analytics Account (it will ask you what website you are creating a code for, super easy)
  4. Copy the code that Analytics give you
  5. Paste the Code into the "Header Info" section of the "Edit Site Settings" dialogue box in Weebly
  6. Sit back and watch the stats come in!

Installing Google Analytics on Wordpress

  1. Install "Google Analytics" plugin
  2. Click Settings->Google Analytics
  3. Copy and paste Analytics code into the only box on the page (UA-xxxxxxxxx-x)
  4. Click on "Save Changes"

Note: You cannot use plugins for the free version of Wordpress. You get what you pay for. When you pay for nothing, you get...

Google Analytics on Blogger

  1. Log in to your Blogger account.
  2. Navigate to your blog's Settings > Other tab.
  3. If you already have a Google Analytics account, simply enter your blog's Google Analytics Web Property ID.
  4. Click Save to finish.

Other Web Properties

No matter what program you are using to edit and/host your website, there is usually a way to install Google Analytics. Just find where to put your Analytics "Web Property ID" and you're good to go. There are tutorials you can find online very easily that will explain what you need to do if I have not answered it here.

Excluding Your IP Address (IMPORTANT!!!)

Your IP address is the address of your computer that your Internet Service Provider gives you automatically when you sing online. You want to make sure your Google Analytics account does not keep track of every time you click on your own website, otherwise you information is not going to be accurate.

To do this:

  1. Go to IP Chicken to get you IP address, looks like 123.12.23.123
  2. Log in to your Analytics account
  3. Click Admin at the top right of the screen
  4. Click on the name of your website (if you have more than one do it for each, one at a time)
  5. Click on "Filters" then click "Add New"
  6. Give the filter a name
  7. With the drop down boxes click, "Exclude, traffic from the IP addresses, that are equal to"
  8. Enter your IP from IP Chicken
  9. Make sure to click on the profile and hit add to make it go from the left box to the right
  10. Click Save

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I hope that this gets you started using Google Analytics. It is a very powerful tool. The longer you have it, the more info you will collect, and the easier it will be to make decisions regarding your website.

Google Farmer: GMail for Farmers

This is a very basic post. I mean, we're talking about e-mail, almost everyone is using e-mail now-a-days. However, there are some things that you can do to better organize your e-mail, keep it more secure, more accessible, and have it link to other useful tools. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Google. April is "Google Month" on Farm Marketing Solutions. On my Facebook page as well as the blog I will be highlighting some of the free tools that I use to run my farm and keep everything organized. I'm not alone in my love for Google, many other farmers are already using many of the free tools, but I will talk about my experiences.

google farmer gmail

A Gateway Drug... I Mean Tool

I think of GMail as the gateway tool to all the other services Google has to offer. Not only because it is addicting, but it is hugely useful. To use most of the free tools offered you need to have a Google Account. It is really simple to set up and start using, and opens up a realm of possibilities.

To sign up for a Google Account Click Here

I think of my GMail account as my hub. From there I can access just about anything else, as well as keep on top of incoming e-mails. When I am working on the computer it always gives me a place to go back to when I open too many windows. From there I can get to:

  • My Youtube Channel
  • My Google+ Account
  • My Google Drive (for documents)
  • My Google Calendar
  • Google Voice for Farm Phone Calls and Podcast Interviews
  • GChat for being distracted by my sister-in-law (love you Erin)

I always have my GMail account up on my computer.  I also get notifications on my phone. As I am writing this post at the beginning of the year, I am taking new CSA sign-ups. It is important to me to know when a new or potential customer writes to me with a question. I shoot back a response, and usually they sign up. It's great!

Faster Browsing

google farmer chromeTime = Money. In addition to being a farmer, I am a huge geek. (proudly so). I use Google Chrome as my web browser because it is faster, more secure, and very simple to use. Google Chrome let's you sign in from any computer. So, if you are working from another computer you still have access to your bookmarks and settings. I'll have a separate post on Google Chrome this month, but I wanted to at least touch on it in this post.

When you are in Chrome, in the top right corner there is this icon google chrome settings button how to start a farm. When you click on Settings, you can set what webpage(s) show every time you sign into your browser. I like this feature a lot. There are always a few things I check right off the bat. My GMail, Facebook, and whatever I was working on last. I used to have it set up where the same pages came up every time I started the browser. Now I have it set (and I love this option) to open the tabs that were open last time I was online. That means all the tabs that I dug up while I was working are temporarily saved for me so I can close the browser and come back to it. That means time saved when working on a project. (like researching where to buy feeder pigs)

Time for a Google Farmer Visualization

Talking about this is only going to get us so far. It really is a visual topic. I like visuals more anyways. That's why I created this video showing you my own GMail inbox, and I highlight some of the features.

Things covered in the video:

  • Spam Filters (powerful and I have never adjusted them, they do it all for you)
  • Importing contacts from another e-mail account
  • Filtering e-mails to keep them organized
  • Reasons why you should be using GMail
  • How GMail strings e-mails together so you don't have a cluttered inbox
  • Google Chat
  • Google Voice

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I hope this post was helpful for you, and showed you some of the great things achieved through Google. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them in the comments section below so we can all learn from each other.

Cheers!