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September Newsletter
Issued April 15th, 2009

Greetings.

Happy Tax Day -- I hope you remembered to deduct the cost of your web site on your taxes.

It is time I renewed sending out these newsletters. Maybe not monthly, but perhaps quarterly. As many of you know, I spent the last year in Korea and I am glad to be back in the States. I had an extraordinary job to perform over there and the amount I learned was immeasurable.

If you are unable to view this newsletter in color (with pictures), please go to the following link.

http://www.CCFDesign.com/asp/webdesign/newsletters/. I have removed the public link from my web site, because these newsletters have a lot of information that I am only going to make available to my clients. So, save the link as a favorite (or go through your admin area - if your site has that capability).

There are some concepts in here that I mentioned in previous newsletters - that is for the benefits of the new clients who might not have seen them yet.

This month's Agenda:

1.  Inbound Links
2.  Admin Area
3.  Technical Notes / Tips
4.  Recommended Reading
5.  Specials

1. Inbound Links

This list the one I normally recommend to my new clients as places that you should try to get your site listed (as always, I apologize to the owners of non-goat sites for not including you).

  1. SA-BoerGoats.com
  2. Jack Mauldin (a must - this site consistently shows up on search engine results)
  3. BoerGoats.com Breeders Directory (pay - but recommended, see below (or contact me))
  4. Billy Bob's Boers (use the email us link at the bottom right - scroll down a little).
  5. MeatGoatBreeders.com (they actually have a few listing sites, be sure to ask to be listed everywhere it is appropriate).

Those are all reliable and you should be able to get linked within a few days. #3 is a paid link (and the only paid link I recommend -- my clients who list there consistently get more visitors and show up higher in the search engines). I have arranged for all of my clients to get a 20% discount on the listing, so be sure to let Keith Smith know you are one of my clients when you are signing up.

You also get listed on a number of my sites and on my "defunct" sites -- all of which helps.

The ones below are less reliable. On some of them, I tried to get listed last year for one of my sites and that site just never got listed. Others require payment (I don't recommend any of them -- although I need to look through the logs to see if any of my sites are listed on them and if they are actually getting hits from them).

  1. DMOZ (free, but takes a long time - or at least it used to - this is a very respectable link if you can get it)
  2. Breeder's World (appears to be free)
  3. Goat Kingdom ($10 a year - this one might be worth it -- if I were going to recommend a second paid site, this would be it)
  4. GoatFinder.com (one time $15 fee - I guess this would be the 3rd paid site I'd recommend)
  5. Lekker Bokkie (this one is sort of odd, but I see them in a lot of search engine results -- there are 5 Goat Breeder USA links on the left hand side and then links to the State forms part-way down the page. You might need to give them a reciprocal link on your links page)
  6. Ranch Magazine (this might be a paid listing for people who subscribe to their magazine -- plus it says the listing hasn't been updated since October 2008)
  7. Goat Magazine (definitely pay - and definitely not recommended because they don't even link)
  8. NubianBreeders.com (there are also sites out there for other breeds if you have them - plus sites for guardian dogs - this is just one example).
  9. GoatAds.com (pay - but they do allow you to do one free ad for 6 months -- that might be worth it just for the search engine link -- your site will gain more from the link than it will lose when the link is removed).
  10. Dairy Goat Journal (Pay -- they also list meat goats)
  11. GoatLinks.com (I think I tried this awhile back and never got listed, but maybe they have fixed that)

There are some sites that list links of breeders they have done business with. If you ever do business with someone who has a site (and they list their business dealings), try to get a link. Sometimes they want you to provide a reciprocal link. Click here to see my philosophy on reciprocal links (the one sentence philosophy is that you better be getting something out of it if you are giving your visitors a way to leave your site). Below are a few sites that list their business associates (I still don't know if I would want to give someone a link to compare goats with nearly the same lineage and quality):

  1. Able Acres
  2. Loid Farms

I always recommend using the free sites to post sales to link back to your site. In an earlier newsletter, I posted some information about scam artists on these sites. One popular scam has them offering to pay you more than the goat is worth (to cover shipping) and then want you to send them the money that is leftover. The checks are fake (or counterfeit cashier's checks) and you are out the money you sent them and the goat (although I have always wondered where the goats go) -- so just use common sense --- still, I recommend these because they are free advertising and do result in sales and search engine boosts.

  1. GoatClassifieds.com
  2. GoatSeeker.com (appears to be free. They don't have many breeder's listed, but inbound links are always good when they are free)
  3. Yahoo E-Groups (this links to an article about e-groups -- the numbers on the page are out of date, but it is a starting place to learn about the groups (most of which post sales on Friday, which gives you a chance to link back to your site at least once a week)

Finally, there are emerging trends with using social networking sites or blog sites -- anywhere you can post a link back to your site is helpful.

  1. Facebook (I posted to a small Boer Goats group on Facebook - and created my own group for web design)
  2. Blogs and Forums - there are a number of blogs and forums out there that you can post comments on. you might need an account, but it can be another way of linking back to your site. These are also good ways to learn more about the business by interacting with other people. I am waiting for someone to Twitter their Boer Goat raising and to see if people follow...

2. Admin Area Version 6

Over the past 4 years, I have put out a new admin area every January, and this year was no exception. I have upgraded around half of the sites with this admin area and will work toward getting all of the sites that can be upgraded to the new version. Here are some of the features:

Help Files
I spent all last year promising to come up with a guide of all of the features, but I kept adding new ones as I developed the next version of the admin area. I still might come up with a help mechanism for the a future version (where you can click on a link that says "What's This" and get help information. In the interim, nearly all of the pages in the admin area now have a section at the bottom (or top) that explains the information on the page and what is editable and how certain things must be formatted.

Add Sections and Pages
You can now add new sections and pages to your site. So if you have a new sale to advertise and want to put a page in your sales section, it is easy as a few clicks to add the page and start adding content. You can also choose which pages show up in the navigation bar and which don't -- this is particularly helpful if you want to create a section of articles (more below).

Better Animal Filtering in the Admin Area
The admin area now has smart filters which allow you to easily select from the animals that are listed on the site based on breed and sex. Also, the new filter displays the animals in alphabetical order (the old one just did by priority, which was good for the site, but was more difficult to manage in the admin area).

Change Content Types
It is now easy to change from a single picture content type to a picture with text content type. So if you add a picture and then decide you want to put a paragraph under it, you can easily do this. This makes it so you can move blocks of data from one part of the page to another by changing the priority (as opposed to moving the picture and then the text). There are also more Text / Image content types to choose from, with a picture example to help you choose.


Click for a larger image

Add a Slideshow
There are a number of changes to the content portion, the neatest of which is the ability to add one slideshow to every page on the site. You can add as many pictures as you want and can put captions under the pictures. As a note, it is best to use pictures that are the exact same height and width (in pixels) - but not mandatory.

Update Owner Info
Many site owners have changed phone numbers and/or email address. Now, most of the sites can go in and just make a change to the owner info and that will change it on the site.

Search Engine Optimization
Now you can go in on each page and change the keywords and page description to make the page more readable on the search engine results (and make it show up higher)

Animal as Content
The animal module was the basis of the admin area from the beginning. Now I have made a way to put an animal record into the content, so you can list an animal with all of its attributes and can put additional text and pictures around that record.

Change Animal View Sitewide
On my test site, I have a page that shows all of the animal views. Now, from your admin area, you can click on that link and see the 11 ways that the database can display the records and you can change that site-wide. In the next version of the admin area, I will make it so that each page can be managed (although right now, if you have one page that you want one view and one page that you want a different view, let me know and I can set it up for you pretty easily). You can also change how many animal records display on a page and how many content records dispay on the pages (both sitewide changes only).

Hyperlinks
You can now add a hyperlink to just about every picture you upload. This is great for linking to other sites with their logos. Additionally, you can upload files and hyperlink a picture to that file. So, if there is an upcoming sale, you can upload the flyer PDF and upload a picture of the sale logo and then have it so that someone can click the picture to open the PDF.

Index Content Type
The index content type is a way to hyperlink to a set of pages on your site. This feature probably still needs more work (and I am anxious for feedback on it), but the basic premise is for an "Articles" section. If you write a bunch of articles (or newsletters), you can create an index content group that allows you to organize those links into a single area.

Forgot Password
I now have a way to email your password to the primary address I have on record in case you forget it.

And More
There are a bunch more things that were upgraded to make them easier or better -- including the way that I do upgrades (so that next time I can do upgrades quicker - perhaps even doing partial upgrades throughout the year instead of all at once).

If your site doesn't have the new admin area, let me know. I am working through my list to get all of the sites upgraded.

3. Technical Notes / Tips

If you have downloaded Internet Explorer version 8, the text editor does not display properly. So, you have to run the site in compatibility mode. To do that, there should be a button to the right of the URL and to the left of the refresh button that will allow you to run the site in compatibility mode. You can also press alt T to get into internet explorer Tools and check the Compatibility view.

If you are inactive in your admin area for more than 20 minutes, you will automatically get logged out (I am trying to extend that or fix it with a cookie). I did add it so that when you log back in it should take you back to where you were trying to go. I have noticed, though, that there are some times this will cause an error (particularly if you are submitting a request to the database to make an update). Even with the error (which isn't that often), it is still better than it was before, when you would just get logged out and not be able to remember exactly what it was you were in the middle of doing.

The add a link module has been removed - it was very clumsy and very few people used it. If you have links on your links page that you added with this feature, let me know and I will set it so the links are editable. In the future, to add hyperlinks, use the instructions below.

Adding Hyperlinks
A number of people have asked me how to add hyperlinks (not related to the image hyperlink addition in the new admin area). There are a number of ways, but I will walk you through the way I do it.

Step 1. Find the full URL (the page you want the link to go to) and copy it (highlight it and press control C or right click and choose Copy). An example of a full URL is http://www.CCFDesign.com/default.asp. If you want to get the URL from one of the pages on your navigation bar, hover over the link, right click and choose Copy Shortcut (see below).

That will add the link to your clipboard.

Step 2. Go to add the content in your admin area using a text content type. Press Next

Step 3. Type in the text you want in the text area. Then Highlight the words you want to hyperlink. In this case, I chose CCFDesign (although it is almost always better to highlight keywords like Web Design would be a better choice). Be careful to not select the spaces to the right or left of the word or else your hyperlink might overhang -- although in 99% of my sites, since there is no "text decoration" the links are not underlined, they are just colored, so you won't even notice the overhang except in the text editor.

Step 4. On the toolbar, there is an icon on the top row, slightly to the right of center that looks like a chain line (it is to the right of the anchor and to the left of the <> icon). It is circled above. Click that icon to open up the Hyperlink Dialog box.

Step 5. Paste in your URL into the box to the right of the dropdown box on the source row (either press Control V, or right click and press Paste).

If you want the URL to open in a new window, choose the target Blank. If you just want it to open a new page on your site without opening a new window, you don't have to choose anything (it is recommended that any link to an external site should open in a new window). Frankly, I don't know what the Bookmark option is for - I have never researched it or used it. If you put something in the title, when it shows up on the page, it will show as a tool tip (or alt text).

Press Insert.

Step 6. You will notice that the http:// moved from the top row box on the right to the dropdown on the left. Also, the buttons at the bottom changed from "cancel" and "insert" to "cancel", "apply" and "ok". If you press ok, that is the same as pressing apply, so there is no need to press apply and then OK. In this case, I added the optional Title "Small Farm Web Design" - this is something I should use more because it is another one of those html things you can do to help your search engine "score (the captions for your pictures become their alt text).

Press OK.

Step 7. Review the text and make sure the word got hyperlinked (it will show up as underlined). If you want to change the link, click anywhere in the phrase they you hyperlinked and click the link icon again. Then just remove the link from the top right box (you don't have to clear out the http:// because the editor will recognize that you want to remove the link.

Press the Add (or Update) Button below the Text Content

Here you can see the link as it appears on the page with the mouse rolled over it. That shows the alt text: Small Farm Web Design and changes the link to red (the default on most of the pages.

All done!

4. Recommended Reading

Several months ago, I published a recommended reading list for Boer Goat breeders. This is based off my years as a member of Amazon.com Associates, and can see which books in this genre sell the most. So, please take a look at the top 12 list below.

Meat Goats : Their History, Management and Diseases (Paperback)
by Stephanie Mitcham (Author), Allison Mitcham (Author) "Goats are considered to be the hardiest and most ubiquitous of animals..." 
Raising Meat Goats for Profit (Paperback)
by Gail B. Bowman (Author) "Much of the population of the United States and Canada manages to get through their entire lives without ever thinking very hard, if at all,..." 
Border Collies (Complete Pet Owner's Manuals) (Paperback)
by Michael DeVine (Author) "Border collies are a relatively new breed, although shepherds have been using "collies" for centuries..." 
How to Build Animal Housing: 60 Plans for Coops, Hutches, Barns, Sheds, Pens, Nestboxes, Feeders, Stanchions, and Much More (Paperback)
by Carol Ekarius (Author) "Some people are simply driven to have animals in their lives..."
Making Your Small Farm Profitable: Apply 25 Guiding Principles/Develop New Crops & New Markets/Maximize Net Profits Per Acre (Paperback)
by Ron Macher (Author) "Why do people farm?..."
Natural Goat Care (Paperback)
by Pat Coleby (Author) "Goats, the "poor man's cow", were possibly the first animal to be domesticated for man's use..."
Storey's Guide to Raising Meat Goats (Paperback)
by Maggie Sayer (Author) "Raising meat goats is an excellent proposition for today's livestock farmer. Niche or artisanal farmers looking for a profitable specialty should search no further than the simple goat."
Storey's Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance (Paperback)
by John Storey (Author), Martha Storey (Author) "Living in a Brooklyn apartment, we dreamed of owning a few acres, an old farmhouse, a garden, a stream, and a pond..."
Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats: Breeds, Care, Dairying (Paperback)
by Jerry Belanger (Author) "Female goats are called does, or if they're less than a year old, sometimes doelings..."
Five Acres and Independence (Paperback)
by Maurice G. Kains (Author) "This classic of the back-to-the-land movement is packed with solid, timeless information. Written by a renowned horticulturist, it has taught generations how to make their land self-sufficient..."
New Goat Handbook, The (Barron's Pet Handbooks) (Paperback)
by Ulrich Jaudas (Author)
The Goatkeeper's Veterinary Book (Hardcover)
by Peter Dunn (Author) "This book is a must for any goatkeeper. It is an invaluable commodity on the farm. I have turned to its pages countless times, both as a refresher and during emergenices..."

5.  Special

From now through the end of July, I will run a special that will give you $25 off your next year's bill if you refer a client to me and that client signs up for a web site. I will also give the referrer $25 off of their first year. So, if you run across someone who needs a site, please have them contact me and let me know you told them about it. If you refer a second person, I will give you an extra $50 off your next bill (so $75 total).

This offer is not good with any other specials I may run.

 

That's all for now. I do appreciate feedback on the newsletters -- if you think there is something you would like addressed, I'd be more than happy to consider it. I am going to add at least one How To tip to each of the newsletters from here on out because I know they can be useful.

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