Boer Goats in the Field
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Boer Goat Farm

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the FAQs we get. Click on one of the links to jump down the page, or just scroll down.

What are the basic web design plans?
Can I customize my page?
OK, let's do it. I want a site, what do you need from me?
What else do you need?
How do I pay?
How much do I have to pay up front?
What is a domain name? How can I choose one?
How long will it take for my site to be online?
How long will it take for you to design my site?
How do I get to my site?
Can I make changes to my site?
What are my maintenance options?
Will the maintenance fees ever rise?
How do I get my web page to show up in search engines?
Why do I need a "Links" page?
Why do I need a "Contact" page?
Why do I need a "Guestbook"?
Do I need an e-mail address with my domain name?
How do I check my e-mail?
Can you do any drawings of my goats for logos?

What are the basic web design plans?

Our primary customers are small farm owners, so our basic plans are designed for them. As a side note, we can customize prices and plans for other users as well.

Essentially, you will get the design that you want and the number of pages that you need. Most sites start off with somewhere between 5 and 15 pages, depending on the owner's needs. These

Typically, clients start with the following pages:

Home
Does
Bucks
For Sale
(with breakdowns for Bucks for sale, Does for Sale , Wethers for Sale and All goats for Sale )
Contact
(a form that will send you an email when filled out)  

Most add the following pages:

Links
Map
Dogs
About Us

We can add extra sections (like wethers or show performance - or in your case, if you want a page for ducks, chickens and poodles, we can add them) at no extra cost.  One of the good things with this plan is that you don't really have to worry about whether or not extra pages will cost too much to justify - because we will normally add whatever you want. 

I have examined some other web designers' plans, and find it appalling that some charge as much as $50 per extra page.  I would rather have sites that have more detail, because those sites do well on the search engines.  One site I recently did started out with 20 pages -- because that is what he needed to best display his business. It turned out that his site is listed fairly high on the search engines for his keyphrases.

Can I customize my page, or do you use non-changable templates?

Yes, you can customize your page based on your preferences.

If you look at my sites, they all have unique colors and images and are not "stock" web designs that are common. The sites contain your pictures, your colo selection and your text.

When a client contacts me, I ask them to choose from a wide range of web colors and to send me pictures. I incorporate their picutres into the design, looking for a signature picture for the template, and I am willing to change as necessary.

The sites are very vibrant, very colorful and are customized to the point that you are satisfied.

Additionally, I have added a component to most of my web sites (and all of my new web sites) that allows you to make changes to key text areas yourself.

OK, let's do it. I want a site, what do you need from me? (Probably the most frequently asked question).

Words. Think of the text you want on your main page. Check out other sites like yours and see what they put. Generally speaking, in the first couple of sentences we want them to know who you are, where you are and what you are selling. After that, pedigree stuff is good, brief history of your farm is good, more details about what you are selling is good and so forth.

Then, accompanying each picture we will need words. We said send a bunch of pictures, but don't worry about having to describe each picture. Think more along the lines of the pages. Let's say you want a page to show off your Livestock Guardian Dogs. Write and introductory paragraph, and a sentence or two about each of the dogs you are going to display. For animals for sale, again, the more information, the better. Name and sale price are a must. Percentage and breed are good. Birth date and availability date (if not immediate) are good. Dam and Sire (and pedigree if from good names) are good. Remember, this is not a store like in the mall where you can walk around and ask people if they need any help. You have to give them as much information as possible so they can make up their minds.

The words on your site are more important than the pictures (at least inasmuch as most of your visitors will come from search engines, and the search engines crave your text).


What else do you need?

Pictures, pictures and more pictures.

Hopefully you have a good digital camera. If not, go get one. See my Digital Camera Recommendation article. We can scan pictures, but if you want to be on the internet, you should really have a digital camera -- it will save a whole bunch of time, and you can make changes at a much quicker pace. If you still don't get it, let's do the math. You have an animal you want to sell. You take a picture of him. You will need to finish a roll of film (and assume you get the shot you want). Let's say it is the best case scenario and you get that award winning picture. So, you take the pictures to get them developed at one of those one hour places. After you get the pictures back you put then right in the mail. Three days later (maybe), the pictures arrive at our house, and we scan them, then put them online. At the best case, you just paid almost $10 (with film / developing / shipping) to get the picture, plus our scanning fees. Worse case -- the pictures didn't come out well, the mail delivery is delayed, it takes too much time, costs too much money...

So buy a camera and get new batteries for it (or charge it fully before taking the pictures to prevent blurred pictures).

Then take as many pictures as you can. Try to think about how many pictures you want on each page and triple the number you take and send! You can send the minimum, but if we have a lot to work with, I can guarantee you will get a better result. On the initial site build, we will not charge you extra for sending us a bunch of pictures -- in fact, you will often get pictures added for free. Just decide who you want featured on your pages (well bred goats, goats for sale, dogs), make a checklist, and start clicking away.

So, what kinds of pictures do you need?

Let's say this is for a goat farm. Get lots of pictures of the animals. We like pictures that are close-ups and of the goats' faces. Get right in there and take some pictures. Oblique angles work well (not head on, and not at the side, but in the middle). Pictures taken at their level work well, too. We know you also normally want to show the full body of the goats (especially for sale), so get some of those also.

Then get pictures of the landscape. When we design your site, we might fabricate some pictures to showcase the beauty of your animals and of your land. So get pictures of the trees, fields, grassy areas, water features (ponds, streams, lakes) and structures (houses, barns). Get those pictures at a variety of distances (the farther the better, normally). You can also get a few pictures of your herd of goats all together. ("Now Enhancer, we need you to move a little to the left...Venus, how about if you move to the front row?....")

Be conscious of the sun lighting. Pictures on a sunny day are often better than on a cloudy day, but too much sun, may mean too many shadows. Keep the sun at your back if you can, and try to stay out of shadows that partially cover your subject (fully covering is not too bad). Try different times of day and try different days (sometimes you get decent pictures on days with less sun). I use the flash on all pictures (indoors or out). The best distance for using the flash is 6-10 feet (too much closer may wash out the subject, too far will not show up). If you are not sure, take some with the flash and some without. The beauty of digital is that you can take 100 pictures, trying to find a couple of good ones.

We will fix your pictures up, so don't worry about them. Here are some examples of fixes we did. The ones to key in on are at the bottom. We took a generic picture of a pond, and enhanced a generic picture of a goat to produce a very good picture for the home page. To get a general idea of other things we can do look at the humorous page which shows our goats all over the world. Or, if you are worried that your pictures are not going to be good enough, we have some more fixes on our image correction page. I also recently added a new "desired pictures" page and an example of the landscape pictures I like for the template.

So get out and take as many pictures as you can. The animals may not cooperate, so be patient. If you have a list of a couple of animals that you need pictures of, you can work you way around the pasture until you get what you want. Remember, even if the background is not good, I can erase it and put in a different landscape. If you can, try to get them to look at you (or near you) or move around to them (remembering your lighting). Don't use too much zoom (optical zoom is OK, digital zoom takes away from the quality of the picture). Don't crop the pictures -- send them full size. Use a higher quality setting. The better the quality, the better your pictures will look. Most likely you will send these to use by e-mail, but don't worry about the pictures being too big for that. Generally speaking, your pictures should be 800 KB (give or take 200 KB).

So, let's review the rules:

1. As close as you can get to the animal – particularly for pictures we are going to manipulate for the default page and the template.

2. Oblique angles make for good / different pictures. I understand that you want to show as much of the animals as possible for sales purposes, but we are also looking for variety to make the site stand out.

3. If the sun is out, try to position yourself with the sun at the photographer’s back. If at all possible, try not to have shadows partially covering your subjects.

4. Just be patient. You may get 1 in 20 pictures good, but the 1 will make a difference. Look at it this way, you currently have 21 pictures on your site. We want those to be the best they can be.

After you take the pictures, download them to your computer and try to give them descriptive names -- it will save time later on and make it easier for communication between us.

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How do I pay?

You can either pay via check or through Paypal. If you prefer to pay viaPayPal, (where you can pay with your credit card), you will receive an e-mail that has a link to a page on this site and from there you can click a link to go to Paypal. PayPal is a reputable and secure financial transaction company. If you would prefer to send us a check or cash, we can receive payments that way as well.

 

How much do I have to pay up front?

Typically, $80, which will get you a domain and allocate the space required for the web. This fee is non-refundable, but will ultimately go toward the cost of your site. Click here to pay the up front fee.

 

What is a domain name? How can I choose one?

A domain name is your web site's address on the internet. Our domain name is ccfdesign.com. No two web sites throughout the world have the same domain name. So, what you want may already be taken. To choose one, you can go to any of a number of services out there that can tell you what domain names are available. We normally use www.whois.com. We will recommend a name to you based on the information you give us. For more information on domain names, read my article on Domain name selection.

 

How long will it take for my site to be online?

Web Registrars advertise that it will take between 24-72 hours for the Domain Registrars to update their Domain Name Server settings, but I have actually seen it work in minutes in some cases (though 24 hours seems a safe bet). If a domain name is available, theoretically, you could have customers at your site within hours. I had a site online for my newborn in less than 30 minutes - just to give you an example.

 

How long will it take for you to design my site?

Assuming you send all of the pictures needed, it should take about a week. Some sites can be done quicker, and if you need more time, it can be done slower. It is at your pace.

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How do I get to my site?

Several ways. The most common is to type the full URL (Uniform Resource Locator) into the address bar of your browser. You can type it in four different ways. Here are the examples using our domain name:

http://www.boergoatwebdesign.com
http://boergoatwebdesign.com
www.boergoatwebdesign.com
boergoatwebdesign.com
HTTP://WWW.BOERGOATWEBDESIGN.COM

Note that URLs are not case sensitive, so boergoatwebdesign.com and BoerGoatWebDesign.com are the same thing. This is useful in advertising for longer domain names like, www.BoerGoatWebDesign.com, where capitalization can signal the different words in the domain name.

 

Can I make changes to my site?

With the maintenance plan, we work through e-mail. Often, changes can be made the same day. For simple changes or changes to the sales pages, I will try to get them done as soon as possible. For more complex changes, I might will schedule them at a point that I can spend some time to make sure I get them right.

Additionally, most of my sites have an option where my clients can log into a secure administration area and make instant changes to their sales pages, as well as a few select text areas on their site.

The knowledge that I have gained in my studies has helped me build a system whereby clients have an administrative control panel where they can add, change or archive their goats for sale.  This valuable feature is one of my clients' favorites, because it gives them a great deal of control over the content on their sites.  I have already started to add some additional components to the database area, and I am going to continue to add them throughout the fall.  The components will give you additional areas on your site where you can add and modify special text areas on your site, making changes and updates whenever you want.  Additionally, I am looking at adding a HTML editor so you can further customize the appearance of these sections.  I can provide you with a link to a demo of that system, if you would like.

My clients really like the added benefit of having real-time control over the data on their sales pages so they can add, delete or update the goats there without having to wait for me.  Those who want to wait for me usually don't have to wait very long, because I typically get updates done in 48 hours (or quicker for sales pages).

Fill out my contact form if you want more information about that.

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What are my maintenance options?

My maintenance plan is not a one hour a month plan, but is much more comprehensive than that.  I do not charge hourly fees (which would jack the price of some of my competitors even higher if you needed additional updates), but essentially, I will make whatever updates, as soon as you send them (often within 24 hours). If you need pictures or pages added, you do not have to worry about getting another bill for labor - it is all included.  There are no hidden costs.

 

Will the maintenance fees ever rise?

Potentially. We will inform our customers at least a month out if we have to raise our rates. We would raise them depending on the cost of our doing business and the level of work we are providing. Thus far, in the 5 years of doing web sites, I have only raised the price of maintenance once, and that corresponded with the expansion of the maintenance plan and the database system.

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How do I get my web page to show up in search engines?

The best way is to get visitors. We get well over 1500 unique visitors a month to the CCFDesign site, and every month, our "status" in the search engines seems to rise. The more visitors you have, the more you will be recognized on the internet. I know that sounds like the age old question about how do I get job experience if I cannot get a job (because they all require experience). Well, this is a bit different.

First, there are some services you could pay hundreds of dollars to register your name on search engines. Most search engines have those services. We don't use any pay services, and our name comes up with a fairly good frequency. Each of our pages have some code written into them called "Meta Data". That is a line of code that lists keywords and has a description of the page. So, when you type in "Boer goats for sale in Tennessee" in a search engine, or page should be near the top, because we have the keywords "Boer" "goats" "for sale" and "Tennessee" in the meta data. Over time, all of the search engines will register those keywords into their databases (the pay services may get rid of the "over time" part). The best way we have found to get our sites higher on search engines is that, first, they are written well (using error free code and having the keywords match the content of our pages). If you look at some of the text on our pages, we use the words people would use to search for our pages. If someone wanted information on raising boer goats or general boer goat care, they would go to Yahoo (or another major search engine) and type in "Raising Boer Goats" or "Boer Goat Care". Therefore, on our articles page, we have the words "raising boer goats and boer goat care" right at the top of the page. It is written within the context of the page -- because it is relevant to the page. We also have keywords for "Raising Boer Goats" and "Boer Goat Care" in our meta data. We also have the key words and phrases sprinkled throughout our index page -- which adds to the searchability.

The second way is that we invite people to our site. The more people who visit us, the more likely the search engines will direct future people our way. We are members of a number of goat related e-groups, and when we ask people to come to our site (or one of our clients), it typically draws over 100 visits to the site.

The bottom line: Without spending any additional money, there are ways to code the page (through meta data, titles and keywords) to make your page more likely to come up (and we will do that for you to a certain degree), but you have to have visitors to the site to get it to the top and keep it there.

It does take time, though. For example, after we designed a page for the Bluebird Ranch (www.thebluebirdranch.com), we added a link on our index page mentioning the site to anyone who came to our page. We used some of the free sites which submit your site to search engines, and submitted directly to Google and Yahoo. It took 7 days before a search for the phrase "Bluebird Ranch" came up on Google with a reference to his page -- but it came up as a link from our page, not from its own domain. It took 3 weeks for Bluebird Ranch to come up on its own. After 6 weeks, when we typed "Goats For Sale in Tennessee" into the Google search engine, Bluebird Ranch came up in the top 10.

With that said, we did advertise his site on a number of mailing lists we belong to, and within 36 hours he had offers to purchase 5 of his goats, selling them for $1225. He had 147 people visit his site in the first week. Like I said, we have over 1000 people visit each month and have a hard time keeping goats and dogs on our sales pages. The more people who visit, the higher your presence on search engines.

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Why do I need a "Links" page?

This ties in with the earlier comment that you need visitors. You also need other domains to link to your site. Every link you have from a domain pointing to your site is registered within the search engines. Most sites have links pages, and demand a "quid pro quo" relationship with their links page. I will link you yours if you link to mine. Most of our visitors come from search engines, but there are a few sites out there that link to us which regularly provide traffic to our site. Now, if we didn't link to them, that equates to potential customers lost. Every time you click on a link going to a different domain, it will get categorized in the search engine. So, if you click on Boer Goats for Sale or Anatolian Shepherds for Sale, it will be good (in terms of search engine values) for those sites - particularly since it will categorize the words in the link with the page on which they refer. (They were a couple of our customers, so click away).

Now, with all of that said, I wrote an article where I discourage people from actually putting links on their links page. Ultimately, the decision is yours, and I just give you all of the facts.

 

Why do I need a "Contact" page?

You would like to think that people who want to contact you just could send you an e-mail or call you. For the first 10 months of our web business, we just had our e-mail address and phone number. We were able to generate business this way. But, then we added a contact page with a form -- really not asking for much more information than people already provided with an e-mail. Since it was automated, I guess people are more at ease filling it out, than they would be about opening their e-mail program and sending an e-mail. Our clientele nearly quadrupled after we inserted a contact form.

On your page, we will design a simple contact form. We can make minor modifications to it at no charge (great modifications will incur an additional fee). Whenever someone fills out the contact form, you will receive an e-mail to whichever addresses you want to receive it. We currently have our contact forms sent to three separate addresses, which gives each of us the opportunity to see what information is being requested. Click here to see our contact form.

 

Why do I need a "Guestbook"?

I used to encourage getting a guestbook, but have since stopped making that recommendation because guestbooks are rife with spam and are time-consuming to manage. I am working on systems to make it easier, but until I get them fully deployed, I do not recommend a guestbook.

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Do I need an e-mail address with my domain name?

Again, this is an area that I have sort of bounced back and forth on. I used to recommend them because they come with the hosting, but in the past I have soured a bit on the reliability of domain email accounts. I still use my webmaster@ccfdesign.com address for most of my business correspondence, but oftentimes, I would prefer to use my gmail or yahoo (if I want to be sure to receive a message without having to go through spam filters or attachment size restrictions.

Recently, I have recommended getting a Yahoo account with your domain name as the user name. This is helpful

How do I check my e-mail?

Depending on what hosting solution I set you up on, there are different webmail and outlook (or outlook express) options for you. You will have to contact me after we get started. Needless to say, every option includes the option to check webmail or mail through a mail program like outlook.

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Can you do any drawings of my goats for logos?

OK, I confess, not really a frequently asked question, but I wanted to get it in somewhere. Yes, we can draw your goats. We have two pages that have some of the things we can do.

This first page is pure tracing -- really fairly easy when you know what you are doing.
Transparent-Goat-Drawings

This next one is much more difficult, but the results are very professional.
Goat-Paintings

Ultimately, these will make decent logos if you were so inclined. Just let us know and we will work out a price ($10-$30 depending on level of difficulty).

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OK, so you made it to the bottom and still have a question. No problem. Just click here for our contact form.
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Phone: (813) 391-6793

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