June 30, 2014
With a more mobile-friendly design and social media integration, the new AlfaFarmers.org website allows visitors to connect to the state’s largest farm organization anytime, anywhere.
“We feel the new website is much more inviting and easier to navigate,” said Alabama Farmers Federation New Media Director Mike Moody. “Plus, the responsive design means the website will conform in size and content to mobile devices.”
The year-long website improvement project, however, is much more than new graphics and navigation, said Federation Communications Director Jeff Helms.
“We didn’t simply redesign the website; we rebuilt it on a stronger, more flexible foundation,” Helms said.
In the late ‘90s, the Federation was among the first organizations in Alabama to build a website using a database-driven, content-management system. This allowed writers and support staff to quickly and easily update news stories and other content.
“Over time, we added new features to that system, but the core technology did not change for at least a decade,” Helms said. “The new AlfaFarmers.org operates on a robust platform, which allows our communications team to customize pages without expensive and complex coding.”
One of the more noticeable additions to the website is “The Farmers’ Feeds,” which integrates the Federation’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Flickr channels into the home page.
“Embedding the Federation’s social media channels into the website helps visitors become aware of our outreach efforts,” Moody said.
The website automatically shares news and publication stories to other pages, such as commodity sections or the Young Farmers page.
“For instance, if a Neighbors magazine article features a young farmer from Perry County, tags allow the story to appear not only in the publications section, but also on the Perry County page and the Young Farmers page,” Helms said.
In addition to sharing information, AlfaFarmers.org is becoming a primary tool to recruit and engage members.
“For the first time, visitors can join the Alabama Farmers Federation using our website and a secure online payment method,” Moody said. “For current members, we’ve provided a direct link to the Alfa Insurance website, where they can use a credit card to renew their membership without fees.”
Members also can connect to their member benefits through AlfaFarmers.org/benefits. By logging onto the website using their membership number and ZIP code, members will gain access to discount codes, phone numbers and special websites.
Visitors can register separately for email news alerts and the new “My Recipe Box” feature.
“Historically, recipes have been the most popular section of the website,” Moody said. “We’ve enhanced that feature by allowing visitors to save favorite recipes or share them via email, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.”
Other popular sections preserved and updated in the new website include the DTN news and commodity market page and the CapWiz legislative action center. The site also supports the Federation’s public policy and political efforts by allowing online donations to FarmPAC.
While refinements and improvements to the 10,000-page website continue, Moody said the foundation has been laid for the Federation’s technological future.
“Many hours of effort have gone into this project, and we feel it will be a great leap forward for our communications efforts,” he said.