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November Newsletter
Issued November 7th, 2006

Greetings.

If you are unable to view this newsletter correctly, please go to:
http://www.CCFDesign.com/asp/webdesign/newsletters/. There is also a link at the bottom of my home page (almost hidden), so you can find it there. I might remove that link and just put links in your admin areas -- because in some ways, I want to keep this section hidden, because it does give away a lot of trade secrets.

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

Skyland Farm Boer Goats

Boer Goats in New York

Alaminos Goat Farm

Boer Goats in the Philippines

Skyland Farm Boer Goats

Hunting in Missouri

This month's Agenda:

1.  Digital Camera Recommendations
2.  Keys to Success
3.  Second Site
4.  Slick Run - Free Computer Download
5.  Sales Pages
6.  Goat Scams
7.  Special

1. Digital Camera Recommendations

Periodically, I have customers who either do not have a digital camera or want to upgrade theirs. I have reviewed the cameras in an article on my site: http://www.CCFDesign.com/ASP/WebDesign/Articles/Digital-Camera-Recommendations.asp

On that page, I have made links to cameras that meet or exceed the minimum requirements needed. They also have at least 4 out of 5 star recommendations by Amazon.com customers.

My recommendation for digital cameras is normally to pick out a name brand camera (one you have heard of) first, and then look at those. If you really don't know what you want, the price of digital cameras can often be a good indicator of how long you can expect the camera to last. I typically take the price of the camera, divide by 100 and multiply by 2 to determine how long it is going to be before that camera is outdated. That is not a scientific formula, just something I have noticed over the years. So, a $100 camera will last for 2 years. $200 will get you 4 years and so forth. I could probably come up with a real curve to get a better idea (because I don't think an $800 camera will last 16 years, so my numbers are more at the lower end of the market.

For the most part, you should get a camera that is between 3 and 5 megapixels. I would get something with at least a 3 times optical zoom (digital zoom is unimportant). Other than that, the rest of the features normally don't really matter for the types of pictures that you need for your web site).

I have picked out 3 cameras from each of the major brands, with a few different prices (depending on your budget). If your budget is over $300, let me know and I can provide you with a different recommendation.

 

2. Keys to Success

The success of your site is going to stem from the following factors:

1. Do you have quality goats for sale at a good price?
2. Is the text on your site appealing to the search engines?
3. Are you marketing your site effectively on the web?
4. How good are you at closing the sale (and adding extras)?

For #1, it comes down to having a price that you see as profitable, but it is also somewhat of a bargain. In any business, pricing is the most difficult aspect (because you want to price at the point where the buyer pays his maximum acceptable price). Over time, I am sure you will adjust your pricing strategy based on what works and what doesn't.

#2 is partly up to you and partly up to me. You will need to supply the background information text (info on your business model, history and strategy), and I will make sure it is tuned up for the search engines. For some examples, browse the following sites and you might get a feel for what you want to convey. Don't be afraid to repeat the similar ideas as expressed on those sites. Even though the text might not stand out, not having the text will stand out.

http://www.prideboergoats.com/
http://www.stovallsredcreekfarm.com/
http://www.wardranchmeatgoats.com/
http://www.amarugiaboergoats.com/
http://www.estepfarms.com/
http://www.bellgoatfarm.com/
http://www.ringwoodacres.com/
http://www.sacredheartboergoats.com/
http://www.w3ranch.com/

For #3, I can give you a list of places to get your site listed (many of which are in my newsletters). I am consolidating my recommendations and I am going to make it a little easier. This is not something I can do for you (for the most part), because some of the sites that you will want to get listed on are also my design competitors (who might be reluctant to list a site when the only the designer requests it - although they don't have a problem listing for the farm owner).

I really can't help you on #4 - that is the art of selling.

3. Second Site

Once you get a taste of success on the internet, you might decide that you have another business dealing you want on the Internet. For that reason, I wanted to discuss some options and tell you about my multi-site discount.

Here are some things to consider. First, if your second business is not in the same theme as the first, you should get a completely different domain name. Conversely, if you are going to add something similar (like selling guard dogs on a goat site), adding them to your main site is appropriate. The reason for this is twofold. First is your visitors. If you have a visitor who is expecting to visit a site about guitar strings and they see links to Boer Goats, they might get confused (or doubt the professionalism of the site). Second is for the search engines. Search engines are getting more and more capable of identifying themes in web sites, and they reward sites that have a common theme (and conversely they penalize sites that do not have a common theme).

A benefit to having two separate sites is that you can link them to each other in your links page (and use key phrase linking that search engines like). As they grow in importance, those links will be even more valuable.

In one recent case, I recommended to a customer to split his boer goats from his dorper sheep and have a different site for each one. The two sites are somewhat seamlessly interwoven (using the same graphical styles), and I am betting that they increase their ratings in the search engines at a more rapid rate than single sites (the sites are new, so I can't report those results yet, but stay tuned).

As far as a discount goes, if you want a second site, I will give you a 10% discount on the second site. If you want to split off a similar theme (like the goats from the sheep), contact me and I can give you a rate.

4. Slick Run

Speaking of themes, it is really outside of my core theme to give advanced computer advice (while selling small farm web design), but since I do have a technology background, I would like to share some computer tips occasionally.

For the first one, I want to mention the best freeware program I have ever downloaded. Thus far, everyone who has downloaded this and installed it and used it has raved about it (even recommending it to their friends and telling people how it changed the way they used the computer). OK, if that sounds revolutionary, and sounds like something that will be too hard for you to learn, I assure you, this program is easy, and indeed, intuitive.

The program is called Slick Run. It is a small program that sits on your desktop, waiting for you to use it. Essentially, it is a way for you to create shortcuts for any program or web site you want. When I want to open a program, instead of going to my start menu and navigating to the program, I just go to slickrun and type in a shortcut word to open the program. So, when I want to open PowerPoint, I just type in PowerPoint (normally, just typing in Po will autofill PowerPoint), and press enter and PowerPoint opens up. It makes it so easy to open programs.

Similarly, I have keywords for a lot of the websites I visit, and use SlickRun to type in shortcuts.

Setting up the shortcuts is pretty easy. You just right click on SlickRun, add a "Magic Word" (SlickRun's term for a shortcut), Type in the letters or word you want, and then use an eyedropper tool to set the file location. To set a new Magic Word takes me less than 10 seconds -- and saves me a lot of time as I need to open the programs I want.

To download Slickrun or learn more, go to http://www.bayden.com/SlickRun

5.  Sales Pages

A few months back, one of my clients received this in a contact form:

"I am in the market for a full blood red boer buck. I see on your web site you have had a red buck for sale but is sold. I thought I would check and see if you have another one or know someone who does.

Thanks"

This shows that keeping your site updated is important, but also keeping a good showing of the typical goats that you have for sale could also turn into a sale. If nothing else, it becomes a contact that you can use when you do get goats for sale.

6.  Goat Scams

Last month, I warned about phishing. This month, I want to mention a more relevant scam, which is a scam directed at livestock breeders. Please see the notice below (which can be read in full at http://www.goatfinder.com/goatscams.htm)

Protecting Yourself From Goat Scams:

By Rick McCoy

It never ceases to amaze us at the great lengths that people will go to in order to cheat someone out of their hard earned money. Unfortunately, putting your farm information into any kind of advertising media can make you prone to scammers trying to take your money.

Below you will find actual messages which goat sellers have received from these scammers. Reading through them you will notice that most of them have a common theme.

Useful Tips:

BUYER BEWARE!

Banks Will Often Cash Fake Checks and then Hold You Responsible!

* Never accept Postal money orders, Cashiers Checks or use Western Union or Money Gram.

* Use caution when someone says they are an animal broker acting on behalf of their client.

* Never send money or a product (including goats) to anyone until their check or money order has cleared the bank.

* Be cautious from anyone outside the USA wanting to buy goats.

Scenario Of A Common Goat Scam

The major goat scam that we keep seeing and hearing about is someone from Europe sending a check or money order for more than the amount agreed upon. Although there seems to be a few different versions of this, basically the scams have the same tone to them and are easily identified once you are aware of it.

How it works is the scammer (goat broker) tells you that a customer is ready to buy one of your goats. You contact the scammer telling them what you have available and the cost. The scammer then responds to you by saying his customer is sending a postal money order that includes his fee or that the client actually overpaid. The scammer wants you to deposit his customers check and then wire them a check for their fee.

Hence, you wire money to the scammer only to find out that the check or postal money order you deposited was no good. What can make this even worse is that they may even grossly over pay you and suggest that you keep a portion of the overpaid amount for the inconvenience.

Here's Some Actual Emails From GoatFinder.com Users About Goat Scams:

Dear goatfinders: We think you need to know that we have received several responses to our ad. Unfortunately all of the responses have been from scam artists trying to get us to take phony money orders from England . One wanted us to take a money order for more than the purchase price and send him the balance. They claim to want us to send our goats to England . We could see they were scams right away but there may be other of your advertisers that fall for the scams. Why they have zeroed in on goat sellers I can't imagine. Beware!

I have recently been contacted by someone posing as a buyer from London . They contacted me first thru a operator for the hearing impaired. Then they wanted to send a cashiers check that turned into a check to print and it was for $3000 more than the sell price of my goat. I was to wire the balance to a shipping company.

I have recently found out that all this was a scam. It is a take off of the Nigerian Internet scam. You can find it all over the internet. I hope there is some way to let all the people at goat finder about this. I am sure I am not the only one. We have alerted the proper authorities. Luckily we figured it out before we got scammed out of the $3000.

This Goat Scam was actually sent to GoatFinder.com

Hello,

i am mailing you to let you know that one of my customers is very much interested in purchasing your goat which is posted for £50.00. Please get back to me with the name and contact address which payments can be sent to, my customer would gladly issue out a postal check as soon as i hear from you.

You would also be forwarding any excess funds on the money order to me via western union money transfer, the excess funds on the payment would be fees for other purchases and also my profit on this transaction. If you have the item in stock and also want to do business with me please reply my email with the name and contact address for payments and a phone number to reach you so we can proceed. thank you

Protect Yourself. Always Question Things That Seem Out Of the Norm

I have also seen a lot of requests from overseas asking if people ship their goats to countries outside the United States . While I can't verify if these are scams, I would be very leery before engaging in a business transaction overseas. To me, you should simply just avoid shipping goats (as a practice). If limit your sales to people you have to meet, your chances of getting scammed should go down dramatically.


7.  Special

I do not have any current specials offered, but I will probably offer something in December.

That's all for now. As always, let me know if you have any updates

Oh - and here is my newest billboard ad (not sure where I am going to put this, but I will figure something out):

Next Month:

Amazon.com
Inbound Links
Event Advertising
Dating your Site

Favicons

and more...

Finally, if this email went into your junk mail folder, please let me know so I can look at how to address that.

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Gregory Motes
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