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July Newsletter
Issued July 7th, 2006

Welcome back.

I would like to start by recognizing the newest sites to the CCFDesign Community

Amarugia Boer Goats

Amarugia Boer Goats in Missouri

Amarugia Boer Goats

Ward Ranch Meat Goats in Texas

VFW Post 5077

VFW Post 5077

This month's Agenda:

1.  Marked as Sold
2.  Advertising
3.  Content
4.  Updatable Content
5.  Too Much Information
6.  Vacation

1. Marked as Sold

Some people like keeping the price next to the sold because it adds credibility to the other prices on the website.  For instance, the fact that you sold one for $1200, makes the one of your other goats with a price of $1000 more attractive.  The psychology of it is, "Well, someone else evaluated one of her goats and though that it was worth a similar amount of money, so I guess I can buy it at the similar price."  I think it makes people think that the market price has been established and your prices are somehow trustworthy.

Also, it is easier to get the information back online quickly if the transaction falls through (instead of having to resend the information that accompanied the picture - or for me to have to go through and find the old email and join the text and images again).

On the other hand, some people do not mark their animals as sold, instead, they leave them posted in order to draw continued interest. Perhaps you don't keep your website as updated as you want, but you don't want to turn away a potential client because you are not currently listing any goats online. If someone calls and asks about one that is listed, I suppose you can say that the goat was recently sold, but I have another you might be interested in (or, I can take your contact information and get back with you when we do have one available).

Either way, I wanted to give you some things to consider as you are looking at your sales pages.

2. Advertising

Places to advertise for Goat sites.

http://www.GoatClassifieds.com This is an extension of BoerGoats.com and is a free classified ad posting site. One of my clients has received nearly 1000 visits from the GoatClassifieds.com ads in the past 2 months. I went in and did an ad for web design, and it is super easy to do. You don't have to register, you don't have to pay -- you just have to enter the ad. Personally, I would put all (or most) of the goats and dogs I have on the sales pages goatclassifieds.com to give extra exposure to your site. It can be as easy as copying and pasting the text from your website - you can even include a picture. This is a great free service and worth every penny.

http://www.DomesticSale.com A little bit harder to get started than the GoatClassifieds.com (because, you have to scroll through and find your category), but it is another free classified advertisement site. To view the goat listings, lick on Classifieds on the left hand side of the site and then in the Livestock category of Other. That will get you the general category (or just search for goats). To place an ad, you need to register as a member (which is curiously not easy to find - go to the bottom of the page and click on Member login, then register). Once you successfully register, you can use the "Ad Manager" to place your ads. You even have a page that lists your ads. Here is my page: http://www.domesticsale.com/user_55037_Gregory-Motes.html I think there is a maximum number of free ads you can put there (but I don't know what it is). I just think that because there is a place to buy an annual membership for $39.99 for unlimited ads (which infers that there is a limit otherwise).

http://www.Agriseek.com I ran across Agriseek.com when I was looking up placement in the search engines. I noticed that Agriseek.com periodically shows up in the top 10 of some of the search engines for the "Boer Goats for Sale in [State]" search phrase. Frankly, I am trying to dominate the search engines for those phrases for my sites, and that is really noticeable when you do a search like "Boer Goats for Sale North Carolina " on Yahoo. Of the top 10 (last time I checked), 8 of sites I designed. The other 2 are Agriseek.com (DomesticSale.com has one right outside the top 10). Using Agriseek.com is fairly easy. You do have to put more information in your description (you have to have a 80 - 255 character short description and a 100 - 2000 character detailed description). That is not a problem, but just something of note. Advertising was pretty easy. You do have to register, and all ads are reviewed before they go live (causing a delay), but that should be suitable.

http://www.ruralads.com/ I am not sure how I found this site, but it is another place where you can place free ads. The free ads are only free for your state only. To get a national ad, you have to pay for it. Also, you can only run one free state ad before you have to pay. That ad could be as simple as "Boer Goats for Sale in Texas " and then to generalize the price in your writeup.

http://www.activefarming.com/ I have only investigated this one at a glance, but it is another place that you can place goats for sale and they have a classifieds section. Maybe next time, I will spend more time looking at this site and give it a better evaluation.

3. Content

I have mentioned before that content for your website is important (in fact, the search engine world often says that "Content is King"). Once again, I hope you will take some time to look at your site and find something new to add (text) and send it to me to get your site updated.

Another way that you can add content and get exposure to your site is through a blog. Now, I realize that I am probably only talking to less than 5% of my clients here, but I know that one of you really likes what you are doing (raising goats and / or dogs) and you want to share your experiences with the rest of the world in an open diary format. This is what a blog is. Blog is short for web log and is essentially a modern day diary in which you can write whatever you want.

How does this relate to content for your site? The simple answer is that it will give you a chance to write a lot about what you do. Inevitably, the text you write will be full of keywords. When those keywords are found by search engines, people will find your blog and then they should find multiple links to your site.

There are blogs that you can download and actually put on your site, but those actually become labor intensive (for me, anyway), and are not part of your service agreement (and would therefore incur an additional fee -- that would likely be pretty steep - based on my past work with blogs). Instead, I am suggesting that you go to a site like www.Blogspot.com or www.Blogger.com or even www.MySpace.com and set up a profile and blog. You can start blogging within minutes.

I don't think the blog would be a suitable means to replace the website, because the blogs aren't as populous on regular search engines, and by their nature, they flow differently from a "static" web page. But, I do think that a blog would be a great augmentation to your website. Ultimately, you can also use it to write articles about the things you have to do to raise your animals -- and we can post those articles on your website.

I think that if I didn't know how to publish to a website to the degree that I do, I would definitely be a blogger. For me, it is just as easy to take my thoughts and create web pages out of them, so I do that. Still, I know there has to be one of you out there that wants to blog. E-mail me and I can help get you setup.

4. Updatable Content Areas.

For the sites that have databases, I am looking at adding the capability to add a few areas on the site where you can add and modify text in the database administration area. If you want this added to your site (or you want more information), please let me know. An example of this is an area on your main page where you can add a line or two that says that you have just added new animals for sale on your sales page.

5.  Too Much Information?

Someone asked me about whether or not I thought it was safe to have your address online. I know that some people are a little unsure about the internet (and are scared about having too much information online). I normally recommend that people put however much information they are comfortable with.

I do think that if you have expensive animals, you should probably have some physical security measures on your farm. For instance, if you have a $10,000 goat and you tell the world about it online, and have your address posted, I suppose someone could track down your farm, and in the middle of the night steal your goat. It is probably highly unlikely (because the value of the goat is more than the genetics, it is also the papers), but still something to consider.

The other side of it is that even if you don't have your address, if someone wants to visit your farm to buy some goats, you are going to give them directions. Eventually, they could use that information to get to the goat. Ultimately, your choice of going online means that you are making your business public and have to deal with issues associated with it.

Now, for the really scary information. Most of your information is already online. I keep a secured database on my personal computer with all of your contact information, and I actually got a lot of it online. Some of my clients have never given me their personal addresses and phone numbers (I didn't ask in those cases), but as I was filling in the empty fields in my database, I looked online. Using Google and online white pages, I was able to find every piece of data I was missing.

And now for the extremely scary information. I found this site:

https://find.intelius.com/people-search.html

I searched for my name (no state), my wife's name (maiden and married) and my kids names. Detailed information about me and my wife (both names) were there (but the kids weren't). It has a listing of all of the places I have lived in my adult life, and I am pretty sure that if I wanted to pay the fee they have, I could get my addresses and phone numbers. This site really shows that if your name is in the public domain, it is available. Sure, the likelihood of someone paying to get the information is extremely small, but is shows that someone could. Does this mean, you should freely display your information online?

I will say that the volume of information available at that and other sites should not be in the equation when you make your decision. If you think there is a reason to not put specific info, follow your gut and minimize the data. If you want to rationalize putting the information online, just know that it is probably already there.

Also, since I originally wrote this, I found out that someone was impersonating the owners of one of my web sites and trying to scam other web sites by purchase livestock online with cashier's checks. So, certainly, there is some need for caution.

6.  Vacation

I am going on a vacation to from July 23rd through July 30th. I should have internet access, but it is possible that I will not be able to upload changes (the last vacation I went on the internet service did not allow upload via ftp - so I am planning on that for this time). I urge you to get me any of your sales updates prior to July 22nd. Also, my current special ($80 off web design) is running through the middle of the month, stopping so I can go on Vacation. August will have another special.

That's all for now.

 
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