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April Newsletter
Issued April 7th, 2006

I am going to try to make this a monthly endeavor (although, I have enough information to do one every 2 weeks or so).  Again, essentially, this is normally a synthesis of emails that I would send to individuals, but it makes more sense to send it out to all of my clients (because some of the tips will benefit a majority of the sites). 

These newsletters are also online (obviously). I might password protect this online folder at some point (if I feel that I am giving away "trade" secrets to my competitors), but for now, it is open.

I would like to recognize the following new sites (new in the past month):

Bell Goat Farm

Bell Goat Farm in Ohio

 

Bear Creek Boers

Bear Creek Boers in Missouri

Sacred Heart Boer Goats

Sacred Heart Boer Goats in Missouri

W3 Ranch

W3Ranch in Oklahoma

This month's Agenda

1.  Logos
2.  Advertising
3.  Goat Sales / Contact Forms
4.  Specials

1.  Logos / Design Theme on custom products

If you would like your logo to be produced for extra things to showcase your business, let me know.  Some of the things I can set up for you are below:

a.  Cafepress.  CafePress is a store that lets you set up a store to sell their merchandise with your logo on it.  It is sort of like going to the mall and getting your picture on a coffee mug at one of the kiosks, except this has a lot more customization.  Essentially, they have 40 or so different products that you can add your logo to and sell them.  A more practical use is to set up a store at CafePress.com and create items that you buy yourself.  I used CafePress to create personalized calendars and lunch boxes of each of my kids.  Of course, no one is going to buy those - except me.

The beauty of Cafepress is that you can have a single item created without a penalty.  So, if you want one coffee cup, you can get it.  Similarly, if you want one "Polo" shirt with your company's logo on it to wear to a show, you can easily get it made.  I especially like the postcards, mousepad, baby bib and calendar (although the tote bag is probably the best bargain and you can put two pictures on it).

If you are interested in getting one of those stores set up, let me know.

b.  Business Cards.  I know there are a lot of business card web sites out there.  If you find one that you can customize the card and you want me to help put your logo into a template, let me know.  I have done a couple through www.VistaPrint.com .  You can see the ones I did on my Goat Farm Logos page.  I haven't done any price comparisons between VistaPrint and other services.  Currently, to get 250 custom made cards (where you can upload your own image and are not using one of their template images) costs $14.99 for the cards, $4.99 to create the cards (that is a one-time fee, so if you reordered, you wouldn't have to pay it again) and $5.25 for shipping.  So, that comes out to 25.23 for 250 cards (or 10 cents a card).  If you find a better price or would like me to set this up for you, let me know.

c.  Personalized Stamps:  I guess this is a relatively new product, but you can also get authentic US postage stamps created through a number of places.  I just saw that CafePress.com has custom postage, but I haven't looked into the details.  I have looked at Photo.Stamps.com ( http://photo.stamps.com/PhotoStamps/learn-more/ ).  There, you can put your logo on stamps for around $18 for a sheet of 20 stamps (plus shipping).  That price is for 39 cent stamps (there are other prices for different denominations of stamps as well as discounts for bulk orders).  So, essentially, you are paying 80 cents for a 39 cent stamp, but it is customized.  I don't imagine you would use the stamp to pay your bills, but you might have a need for it.

d.  Other stuff.  If you can think of anything else that you want your logo on, let me know.  These examples are for things through the internet that you would be able to manage (and I could set up online).  If you are interested in custom screen printing (like for a banner), let me know and I can look at having one created locally and then send it to you.  I also have an associate who can do print advertising (like tri-folds) at a discount rate.  If you let me know what you need, I can help you get your logo and design theme on it.

Fees for these services will be hourly, at $20 an hour. Tell me what you want and I will send you an estimate.

2. Advertising - Inbound Links (mainly for the goat sites, but the principles are good for all):

I sent out the special message to the goat breeders about BoerGoats.com advertising, and I hope you have considered it. You can either pay by paypal or by check, by going to this page and fill in the information. If you want to pay by check, you will receive an invoice from BoerGoats.com in the mail:

http://boergoats.com/CCFdesignBreedersDirectory/

As you can see, the form and discount are only available for my clients (and all of the form information is already filled in for you.

Of all of the paid advertisements in this industry, I think BoerGoats.com is the only one currently worthwhile.  One of my newest sites registered for it within the first week of the site's creation, and in the first 4 days had 129 people come from the link on the BoerGoats.com page and 250 in the first 2 weeks.

I alluded to the importance of BoerGoats.com 's Google PageRank, and that the reason I recommended them is that their main page has a high Google PageRank (which is one of the main factors in Google's search engine algorithm).  Their Page Rank is 5 out of 10 (and that is one of the highest of any goat sites I have seen).  Google's simple definition of PageRank is "Google's measure of importance of this page".  Most sites that are less than a year old have a Page Rank of 0.  The vast majority of the average goat sites have a Page Rank of 2.  One a site gets a Page Rank of 3, I am satisfied.  A 4 or higher is real good in this industry.

Here is how Google defines PageRank :

PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important."

Important, high-quality sites receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. Of course, important pages mean nothing to you if they don't match your query. So, Google combines PageRank with sophisticated text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. Google goes far beyond the number of times a term appears on a page and examines all aspects of the page's content (and the content of the pages linking to it) to determine if it's a good match for your query.

Here is another definition from Google :

PageRank performs an objective measurement of the importance of web pages by solving an equation of more than 500 million variables and 2 billion terms. Instead of counting direct links, PageRank interprets a link from Page A to Page B as a vote for Page B by Page A. PageRank then assesses a page's importance by the number of votes it receives.

PageRank also considers the importance of each page that casts a vote, as votes from some pages are considered to have greater value, thus giving the linked page greater value. Important pages receive a higher PageRank and appear at the top of the search results. Google's technology uses the collective intelligence of the web to determine a page's importance. There is no human involvement or manipulation of results, which is why users have come to trust Google as a source of objective information untainted by paid placement

If you want to know your page's Google PageRank, do one of the following:

Download and install Google's Toolbar (that is what I did).
Email me and ask me
Or use one of the hundreds of sites that will find it for you.  Here is one that seems easy to use:
http://www.freelance-help.com/google-ranking-report/pagerank-checker.php/
      Make sure you put your URL with the www (like http://www.CCFDesign.com )

The two best ways to get a higher page rank is to have a lot of relevant content and to have sites with high Page Rank link to you.

Additionally, since I started to get the discount for my clients, Keith Smith and I worked out an arrangement where he would refer clients to me. A benefit to you is that all of my sites are now being listed on his design page:

http://www.boergoats.com...webdesign.phtml . That page has a PageRank of 4 (which is good for your site).

Where to get listed:

No charge (free listings):

There are other places that you can get listed for free, and I recommend pursuing each of them. (Current Page Rank in parenthesis -- note, page ranks are subject to change based on from where and when you access the data and these are the page ranks I found during multiple visits to the pages.)

http://www.sa-boergoats.com/asp/Breeders/Breeders.asp (PR 2)
http://www.jackmauldin.com/Breeders.htm (PR 2)
http://home.att.net/~billybobsboers/links.html (PR 3)

http://www.tctc.com/~amfuture/breeders.html (PR 3)
http://www.boergoat.bz/page10.html (PR 3) (Link may not work -- it was down last time I checked)
http://www.boergoatbreeders.com/ (PR 3)
http://www.jcranch.net/texasboergoats/state.html (PR 3)

http://www.cybergoat.com/links/meat_goat.shtml (PR 2)
http://www.loidfarms.com/boer/goat/boar/goat/breeder/links.html (PR 2)

http://coloredboers.home.att.net/breeders.html (PR 1)

Details about the links.

The SA-BoerGoats.com site lists boer goat farms and ranches for free, but charges for hyperlinks (which is the real value).  Most of you (goat sites) are already listed and linked. Getting a site hyperlinked on that site costs $30 a year, so in effect, you are getting a $30 a year value for being in my design network.  I have added a reciprocal link to that site in exchange.

Finally, you are listed on the main page of CCFDesign.com (which has a PR of 3) and my Portfolio page (as well as a number of pages throughout the site - including the favicons page (PR 2) and randomly distributed in my articles).

As far as getting listed on the sites linked above, you will have to contact the site owners and request to be listed.  There is no guarantee that they will list you, so please write them a nice email requesting a listing. Some may request that you put a reciprocal link on your web site, if this is the case, let me know and I will set that up on your links page. 

Paid Advertisements

Associations

http://www.usbgaboers.org/breeders.htm (PR 3)
http://www.meatgoats.com/ (PR 3 on breeders page -- 100.00 Per Year - includes subscription to meat goat monthly news magazine)

Other Sites

BoerGoats.com (PR 5 - details listed above)
http://duhgoatman.tripod.com/STATE.htm ($15 a year) - PR of 2 on most of the States pages.
http://www.goatfinder.com/main_goat_directory.htm (also $15 a year, but a PR of 0 on the Boers page)
http://www.PurpleCircle.com (Free with paid ads in magazine - otherwise $50 a year - PR of 4)

I haven't yet done the research on how to get listed in intlboergoat.org (IBGA) or ABGA (but I suspect that you might have to get a membership).  I can't speak for any of these associations - as to which is best.  Perhaps someone can tell me that.

At this point, other than the BoerGoats.com listing, I would not recommend any of the paid listings, but I wanted to give the option for people who want a little more exposure:

As far as giving out links to people, I personally, don't like giving out links to people. If someone writes and wants me to link to their page, I am normally not inclined to do so, unless I see a benefit from it. In some cases, getting a link from the pages listed in the PR 3 and above category would probably be worth the space on your web site to link back to them.

3.  Goat Sales / Contact Forms // CCFDesign Community

The CCFDesign community (which is all of the sites I have designed) has grown to 22 sites.  Of those sites, 18 are predominantly Boer Goats, 2 are Beagles sites, 1 is Kiko and Savanna goats, and one is a goat meat store.  And of the 21, 4 are from Tennessee, 3 from South Carolina, 3 from North Carolina, 2 from Texas, 2 from Missouri, and one each from California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota .  For all intents and purposes, there is little to no relationship between the sites (although some were recommended by others), except that I designed them.  But, as the community grows, I would like to somehow be able to connect buyers and sellers through each of you, and I am tossing around a couple of ideas.

First, I want to remind everyone that I get a copy of all of the contact forms from the web sites.  The purpose behind my receiving one is that if the form gets spammed (like I mentioned in last month's newsletter), I can go about to prevent that from being a recurring problem.  A secondary reason is for backup purposes - so if you computer crashes and you lose contact information from an earlier form, you can let me know and I can send you the message.  If you would like for me to not receive them, let me know and I can remove my address from the "blind courtesy copy" line of the email.

I do want to be clear that, at no time do I ever contact any of the people filling out your forms, nor do I pass the information in the form onto other people, although that is one of the reasons that I am writing this section.  There have been times when I have seen one site get a request to buy a goat or get information about goats.  If you have nothing to offer, I would not mind if you gave them my name and email address and requested that they contact me (because I might be able to put them in contact with someone who does have goats for sale).

Finally, I am also looking at developing a system that shows all of the goats for sale on any of the sites in the community and putting it on a special site.  That is in the very early development phase and requires a level of cross-database connectivity that I am not quite sure how I am going to achieve - but that is one of my goals.  

4.  Specials

I just want to remind you about the referral bonus.

Through the end of September, if any client recommends multiple clients, I will give $25 off the first one and $50 off the second one and $100 off the third one.  If anyone can give me four leads (again, that turn into sales), I will give you an entire year of hosting and maintenance for free.  All of those bonuses are applied to your next annual bill.

I am not currently running any advertised specials (my next one will probably be late April or early May), but I will extend a special offer of $40 off to anyone you recommend.

That's all for now.  I hope that there isn't too much to digest.  Please let me know if this information is useful to you. If you think this was too much information, you must realize that I am almost complete with the May newsletter.

Thanks for your time,
Greg

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