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THE DOT COM APPROACH
to Selling Goats
by Keith Smith

Internet advertising resources and who to contact to tap into those resources.

OK... so you finally have a kid crop and some extra nannies to sell. Your original idea was to raise these goats to sell but just how do you start?

The Internet is undoubtedly the most active and most cost effective tool for advertising everything from Mother's Day flowers to market goats.

First things first - a shameless self serving testimonial...
Virtually every animal sold from our KLS Boer Goats operation from 1998 until we retired at the end of 2002 went to either a previous buyer or to a contact made through the Internet. That's every goat; from slaughter kids to high dollar show and breeding bucks.

Web sites
the most effective Internet advertising tool you can use.

Cost
A typical goat related web site designed by a professional requires an up front investment of about $400.00. That includes the design of the site and an advance payment for storage space and Internet connection (hosting) on the hosting web server. Actual design costs can run from $0, if you do it yourself, to $1000 or more depending on the complexity of the design. Monthly hosting and updates are sometimes included in an annual payment, a periodic billing or are payable as the charges are incurred.

Comparison with print advertising

The major meat goat related print media; Ranch And Rural Living, Meat Goat Monthly, Homesteader Connection, and The Goat Rancher, are effective advertising tools. A quarter page black and white ad in these publications provides enough space for you tell folks that you have goats for sale and to display a black and white photo of one of your best goats. There is also room enough to include your phone number and address.

You can also use those print ads to drive traffic to your web site by adding the sentence "For more information, color photos, and complete descriptions & pedigrees of our sale offerings visit (www.myboergoats.com or whatever) on the Internet."
The average cost is $125 per month.

Things you can display on your web site that won't fit on a 1/4 page ad;
  • full color photos of your goats
  • A list of goats for sale with prices and pedigrees
  • the history of your operation
  • your health and immunization program
  • driving directions and maps
  • The health benefits of goat meat
  • Show records of animals that you produced (if you're selling show goats)
  • Your shipping policy

    How much of that information could you include in the 1/4 page printed ad? None! But you've used that black and white ad to bring folks to the expanded information on your web page.
    The average cost is $25 per month

  • Contact Information
    Your new web page is almost useless if interested buyers can't contact you. I recommend that your contact information include

  • your name
  • mailing address
  • physical address
  • phone number and
    most importantly,
  • your e-mail address. E-mail is the best invention since pockets on shirts. It fits right in with our 21st century instant gratification society. Folks can write a "letter" to you asking about your animals then click on the send button and expect a quick reply. They don't have the expense of a long distance phone call, either. The only delay is related to how often you check for new messages and how long it takes you to get around to answering them. WARNING - Use email address encryption on your pages. There are folks that make a very good living just collecting email addresses and selling them to spammers.

    Spread the word
    Once you have an Internet presence, be it e-mail alone or a full-blown web site, you need to let your prospects know that you exist.

  • Internet advertising - List your site on other private and commercial web sites.
  • Include your web site address in all of your other advertising; business cards, magazine ads, sale flyers, even on the side of your truck.
  • Talk it up - tell friends about your web site. If their visit to your site is enjoyable then they'll tell two friends who'll tell two friends who'll tell...
  • Search Engines - Many people find Web sites through search engines. Good positioning in the search results of a major search engine can mean an increased number of targeted visitors to your site. A typical search might be for "meat goats in texas" which will return a list of links to web sites containing that phrase.

    Keywords: A keyword list is hidden in the code of a web page and contains words or phrases that tell what information is available on a web page. This list is used by some search engines to index web pages. Some useful keywords for meat goats

  • meat goats
  • goats
  • boer goats
  • goat
  • boer
  • meat
  • breeding
  • meat goat
  • livestock
  • cabrito
  • animal
  • kids
  • boer goat
  • chevon
  • You should also include your name and location, city, area, state.

    Submitting your site to search engines
    Submitting a web site to individual major search engines is time consuming and can be frustrating. Each company has it's own set of requirements for how submissions must be formatted. This method of submission is best left to professionals. A good place to submit your personal site to several important search engines at once is the open directory project at

    [DMOZ]
    (Select "suggest URL" when you get there.)
    The service is free and effective. And, you can do it yourself.

    There are several services that will "submit your site to thousands of search engines for only $29.95". Don't waste your money - most of those 1000 search engines are operated by and for individual companies, associations, and governments. The top eight search engines represent 96.71% of the total search engine queries per day, or approximately 308 million of 319 million.
    1. Google
    2. Yahoo
    3. MSN
    4. AOL
    5. Go Network
    6. Excite
    7. Altavista
    8. Lycos

    Use Other Peoples' Web Sites
    Links between web sites can generate significant extra traffic. If a visitor doesn't find what they want on site A, they just click on the link to site B and check there. This is a real advantage if site B is yours. Many of your friends and fellow breeders who have web sites will be perfectly willing to include a link from their site to yours in exchange for you returning the favor.

    Get listed on commercial sites.
    Several individuals in the goat industry offer paid advertising on their web sites. These ads can be a breeders' directory listing, classified ads, or even full color display ads. Select a service that has high traffic through their web site so that your ad will be seen by more prospects. Some commercial sites that offer paid ads are:

  • www.boergoats.com - The Boer & Meat Goat Information Center
  • www.jackmauldin.com - Entertaining commentary
  • www.jcranch.com - home of the Texas Web Ring
  • http://members.tripod.com/~duhgoatman/goatkingdom.htm - info site

    Choosing a web site designer
    You can do it yourself - The success of your Internet advertising depends on the quality of advertising product that you present to the public. With a little effort you can design and publish your own quality web site.
    Successful web page design isn't rocket science but it does require a bent toward artistic talent and a basic knowledge of computers. There are many goat producers out there that have designed and published their own web sites. All it takes is an Internet connection, some time, and a willingness to learn.
    Most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) include web page storage space with their standard service package. Some also have software tools that you can use for free to design and publish (upload) your pages.
    Tips:

  • Use a text editor to compose web pages in order to maintain control over the code that goes into each page. Software applications such as Fusion MX, FrontPage or DreamWeaver often load down the pages with unnecessary code - that means the page doesn't download quickly and isn't usually cross-platform or cross-browser compatible.
  • It's important to test new web pages and each updated page on a variety of browsers and several different operating systems - what looks good on the computer you use to design the page might not even fit on the display of someone else's computer.
  • All graphics and photos need to be optimized for web use. That is, take some bytes out of an image without sacrificing image quality. The smaller the image file, the faster the page will download. Byte-size reductions decrease the download time significantly - this is very important to people who connect to the Internet using a standard modem and/or pay for their web access time by the minute.
  • The page design tools offered by ISPs usually do not include image optimization. In fact, they don't even resize the images before storing them for your page - you might have an image that is displayed 2-inches by 2-inches on the screen but the server uses a full size photo that takes two minutes to download.
  • Another image-related problem is that some web page authors fail to use the width and height arguments inside the image tag (image definition). If the viewer's browser doesn't know how large an image is it must wait for the content of the entire page to download before deciding how to render the page. When the width and height arguments are used properly, a page will display the text almost immediately, reserve space for the image, then fill in the images as they download. If text shows up on the page right away the viewer's interest is engaged more quickly. They're likely to wait a moment for the images to be displayed. If the text is held up while the browser waits for all the image data and text content the viewer may lose interest and go elsewhere.
  • Many people do not have a "state of the art" computer. Limiting the number of colors in an image to stay within the group of 216 browser safe colors is a good idea. When a web browser dithers images (reduces the number of colors due to hardware limitations) it may pervert true color images into something really ugly.
  • Visitors to your web site may be using a Windows PC, a Mac, or Linux. They may or may not have hardware capable of rendering more than 256 colors. If visitors to your web site are using a PC, you have to consider which web browser they're using since different browsers interpret and render pages differently. Further, you might want to consider which version of that browser they're using. Even if you know the version of the browser, you don't know if they have Java or Javascript enabled. Most people don't have a clue as to what Javascript is, much less cascading style sheets. The safe alternative is to keep your web pages as simple as possible and adhere to internationally accepted HTML standards.
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are employed when developing web pages. A style sheet is a separate text file containing formatting code. A hidden link in the web page points to the style sheet. CSS provides an effective means of uniformly formatting a large group of web pages without editing each individual page. CSS facilitates manipulation of such things as text color, background color, and the font size or weight.

    Domain Names
    Which is easier for your prospects to remember...

    www.georgegoats.com
    or
    www.mygeoplanetcities/users/farms/families/128649.html
    ?
    The first is an example of how your web site is named if you have a domain name. The second format is typical of addresses on the so-called "free" web servers.
    If you haven't already registered a domain name (e.g. www.yourname.com), select an available name that's as short as possible, descriptive, and easy to remember. Avoid including numerals in your domain name if possible. Try to come up with a domain name that is easy for people to remember and to correctly spell.

    Other Considerations

  • Avoid selecting white as the color for text in a web page. The printed page may be blank unless the user has purposely set their web browser to convert the color of text to black. Other colors for text should be used in moderation.
  • Web pages should be designed to display well on all sizes of monitors, or in browser windows that are not sized to use the full screen area. This means limiting the width of the content to about 720 pixels in width. Doing so will prevent text from scrolling off the display (to the right) when the visitor's monitor resolution is set as low as 800x600 pixels.
  • Different web browsers render fonts and online forms differently. A small but readable font when viewed with Internet Explorer, may be completely unreadable in Netscape or on a Mac. The two most commonly used web browsers have both broken slightly away from the international standards for HTML (hypertext markup language) for web pages by adding a few unique rendering features.
  • The Layout of the code on the page can make a difference in search engine placement. Search engines have literally billions of web pages to attempt to index. Often they'll use the content from the first 2,000 or 3,000 characters when indexing a web page. Placing navigation links on the right side of the page helps to ensure content is indexed first (and relatively meaningless links are indexed last).

    Professional Design and Publishing
    If you decide to have someone more experienced than yourself (or your cousin Thelma's son) handle the design, publishing, and maintenance of your web site you should select a designer who knows how to design web pages.

  • Ask your prospective designer for references. Most are very willing to have you view their designs and will give you a list of their clients. Don't be too impressed by the names on the list (boergoats.com has an impressive list) but rather take the time to actually visit the sites and send an email to the clients asking how they feel about their web sites and the service they receive from the designer.
  • Throw a couple of industry terms at your prospective designer and see how they respond. Ask them how they test their designs for cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility. If they don't have the resources to perform such tests or rely on do-it-yourself page building tools to take care of it then move on to the next prospect on your list.

    Definition of terms
    The following is extracted from an on-line source located at the Internet address
    http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary.html.

    Applet

  • A small Java program that can be embedded in an HTML page

    Bandwidth

  • How much stuff you can send through a connection. Usually measured in bits-per-second. A full page of English text is about 16,000 bits. A fast modem can move about 57,000 bits in one second. Full-motion full-screen video would require roughly 10,000,000 bits-per-second, depending on compression.

    Browser

  • A software program that is used to look at various kinds of Internet content.

    CGI -- (Common Gateway Interface)

  • A set of rules that describe how a Web Server communicates with another piece of software on the same machine, and how the other piece of software (the "CGI program") talks to the web server.

    Cookie

  • The most common meaning of "Cookie" on the Internet refers to a piece of information sent by a Web Server to a Web Browser that the Browser software is expected to save and to send back to the Server whenever the browser makes additional requests from the Server. Cookies might contain information such as login or registration information, online "shopping cart" information, user preferences, etc. When a Server receives a request from a Browser that includes a Cookie, the Server is able to use the information stored in the Cookie. For example, the Server might customize what is sent back to the user, or keep a log of particular users' requests. Cookies do not read your hard drive and send your life story to the CIA.

    CSS -- (Cascading Style Sheet)

  • A standard for specifying the appearance of text and other elements. CSS is typically used to provide a single "library" of styles that are used over and over throughout a large number of related documents, as in a web site. A CSS file might specify that all numbered lists are to appear in italics. By changing that single specification the look of a large number of documents can be easily changed.

    DNS -- (Domain Name System)

  • The Domain Name System is the system that translates Internet domain names into IP numbers. A "DNS Server" is a server that performs this kind of translation.

    Domain Name

  • The unique name that identifies an Internet site. Domain Names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general. A given machine may have more than one Domain Name but a given Domain Name points to only one machine. For example, the domain names:
  • Boergoats.com
  • Goatgateway.com
  • Goatbreeders.com
  • can all refer to the same machine, but each domain name can refer to no more than one machine.

    Download

  • Transferring data (usually a file) from a another computer to the computer your are using. The opposite of upload.

    Email -- (Electronic Mail)

  • Messages, usually text, sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to a large number of addresses.

    FTP -- (File Transfer Protocol)

  • A very common method of moving files between two Internet sites. FTP is a way to login to another Internet site for the purposes of retrieving and/or sending files. There are many Internet sites that have established publicly accessible repositories of material that can be obtained using FTP, by logging in using the account name "anonymous", thus these sites are called "anonymous ftp servers".

    GIF -- (Graphic Interchange Format)

  • A common format for image files, especially suitable for images containing large areas of the same color. GIF format files of simple images are often smaller than the same file would be if stored in JPEG format, but GIF format does not store photographic images as well as JPEG.

    Gigabyte

  • 1000 or 1024 Megabytes, depending on who is measuring.

    hit

  • As used in reference to the World Wide Web, "hit" means a single request from a web browser for a single item from a web server; thus in order for a web browser to display a page that contains 3 graphics, 4 "hits" would occur at the server: 1 for the HTML page, and one for each of the 3 graphics.

    Home Page (or Homepage)

  • Several meanings. Originally, the web page that your browser is set to use when it starts up. The more common meaning refers to the main web page for a business, organization, person or simply the main page out of a collection of web pages, e.g. "Check out so-and-so's new Home Page."

    Host

  • Any computer on a network that is a repository for services available to other computers on the network. It is quite common to have one host machine provide several services, such as SMTP (email) and HTTP (web).

    HTML -- (HyperText Markup Language)

  • The coding language used to create Hypertext documents for use on the World Wide Web. HTML looks a lot like old-fashioned typesetting code, where you surround a block of text with codes that indicate how it should appear. The "hyper" in Hypertext comes from the fact that in HTML you can specify that a block of text, or an image, is linked to another file on the Internet. HTML files are meant to be viewed using a "Web Browser". HTML is loosely based on a more comprehensive system for markup called SGML.

    Index-

  • For the purposes of this paper indexing is the process that search engines use to add a web site to their search databases. Web pages that have Keywords defined are indexed by the page's title, the keywords listed within the page, and the description of the page.

    IP Number -- (Internet Protocol Number)

  • Sometimes called a dotted quad. A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 64.176.115.140. Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP number - if a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Many machines (especially servers) also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.

    ISP -- (Internet Service Provider)

  • An institution that provides access to the Internet in some form, usually for money. Individuals must use an ISP to access the internet. Some of the popular ISPs are:
  • Internet America
  • Prodigy
  • AOL
  • AT&T
  • Charter Communications (cable)
  • WebTV (uses your television as the display device)
  • Most of the low-cost or "Free" ISPs force your browser to display advertisements.

    Java

  • a network-friendly programming language invented by Sun Microsystems. Java is often used to build large, complex systems that involve several different computers interacting across networks, for example transaction processing systems. Java is also becoming popular for creating programs that run in small electronic devices, such as mobile telephones.

    JavaScript

  • a programming language that is mostly used in web pages, usually to add features that make the web page more interactive; such as "buttons" that change their appearance when the browser's mouse cursor is pass over them

    JPEG -- (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

  • most commonly mentioned as a format for image files. JPEG format is preferred to the GIF format for photographic images as opposed to line art or simple logo art.

    Keywords-

  • The list of key words or phrases that tell what information is available on a web page. This list is used by search engines to index web pages. An example keyword list is "goat, goats, meat goats, spanish goats, show wethers, breeding goats, show goats, Boer Goats, Goats, Boers, South African Boer Goats, Raising Goats, Goat Raisers, Boer Goats, Goat Breeders, Goats For Sale, Boar Goats, Boars, Goat Meat, Goat Associations". Note that some are in upper case and some are not - it makes no difference to a search engine.

    Kilobyte

  • A thousand bytes. Actually 1024 bytes.

    Megabyte

  • A million bytes. Actually 1024 kilobytes.

    Mirror

  • Generally speaking, "to mirror" is to maintain an exact copy of something. Probably the most common use of the term on the Internet refers to "mirror sites" which are web sites, or FTP sites that maintain copies of material originated at another location, usually in order to provide more widespread access to the resource. For example, boergoats.com might create a library of goat health information and 5 other sites might maintain mirrors of that library.

    Netscape

  • A WWW Browser and the name of a company. The Netscape (tm) browser was originally based on the Mosaic program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

    Network

  • Any time you connect 2 or more computers together so that they can share resources, you have a computer network. Connect 2 or more networks together and you have an internet.

    Password

  • A code used to gain access (login) to a locked system. Good passwords contain letters and non-letters and are not simple combinations such as virtue7. A good password might be: 5%df(29)

    Search Engine

  • A (usually web-based) system for searching the information available on the Web. Some search engines work by automatically searching the contents of other systems and creating a database of the results. Other search engines contain only material manually approved for inclusion in a database, and some combine the two approaches.

    Server

  • A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service to client software running on other computers. The term can refer to a particular piece of software, such as a WWW server, or to the machine on which the software is running, e.g. "Our mail server is down today, that's why e-mail isn't getting out." A single server machine can (and often does) have several different server software packages running on it, thus providing many different servers to clients on the network. Sometimes server software is designed so that additional capabilities can be added to the main program by adding small programs known as servlets.

    Upload

  • Transferring data (usually a file) from the computer you are using to another computer. The opposite of download.

    URI -- (Uniform Resource Identifier)

  • An address for a resource available on the Internet. The first part of a URI is called the "scheme". The most well known scheme is http, but there are many others. Each URI scheme has its own format for how a URI should appear. Here are examples of URIs using the http, telnet, and news schemes:
  • http://www.matisse.net/files/glossary.html
  • telnet://well.sf.ca.us
  • news:new.newusers.questions

    URL -- (Uniform Resource Locator)

  • The term URL is basically synonymous with URI. URI has replaced URL in technical specifications.

    Virus

  • A chunk of computer programming code that makes copies of itself without any concious human intervention. Some viruses do more than simply replicate themselves, they might display messages, install other software or files, delete software of files, etc. A good virus protection program is a must for anyone using the Internet. I recommend the ones offered by www.Symantic.com.

    Web

  • Short for "World Wide Web."

    Web page

  • A document designed for viewing in a web browser. Typically written in HTML.

    WWW -- (World Wide Web)

  • World Wide Web (or simply Web for short) is a term frequently used (incorrectly) when referring to "The Internet", WWW has two major meanings:
  • First, loosely used: the whole constellation of resources that can be accessed using Gopher, FTP, HTTP, telnet, USENET, WAIS and some other tools.
  • Second, the universe of hypertext servers (HTTP servers), more commonly called "web servers", which are the servers that serve web pages to web browsers.

    THE DOT COM APPROACH
    Copyright (c) 2003, BoerGoats.com, 7517 Lowery Rd, Fort Worth, TX 76120


  •  

    DISCLAIMER

    GoatGateway.com and it's agents and sponsors are not responsible for the content of advertisers' sites or advertised claims.

    GoatGateway.com does not act as an agent for buyers or sellers. GoatGateway.com does not in any way influence or control transactions for goods or services between buyers and sellers.

    USE

    Information on this web site is offered by persons who are NOT veterinary professionals except where noted.
    The information contained on this web site is based on the knowledge and understanding of the author at the time of first publication. However, because of advances in agriculture related fields, users are reminded of their personal responsibility to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to CHECK accuracy and currency of the information WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN for specific health and nutrition advice.

    ALWAYS READ THE LABEL
    Users of medical and chemical products must always read the label and strictly comply with directions on the label. Users are not absolved from compliance with the directions on the label by reason of any statement made, or omitted to be made, on this web site.

    TRADEMARKS

    The boergoats.com logo is a registered trademark of KLS Boer Goats.
    The following are trademarks or service marks of KLS Boer Goats.

    OnLine Show
    GoatGateway
    BoerGoats.com
    MeatGoats.com
    GoatClassifieds
    ShowMeatGoats
    ShowWethers.net
    BoerGoat101.com
    GoatBreeders.com
    BoerGoats.comCHAT
    The Show Wether Center
    Where The Bucks Meet The Bucks
    The Boer & Meat Goat Information Center