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Creating a Boer Goat Web Log (Blog)

When we started our web site, it was as much a hobby as anything else, but over the past year it has grown up quite a bit. We have been looking at more mature web applications to add content to our web site. The latest in our series of web site upgrades is the addition of the blog.

If you are new to the term, blog is short for web log. A web log is the internet version of the daily journal, but since it is online, it is available for all eyes to see. There are thousands of blogs online, from the mundane to the newsworthy. If you want to see more examples of blogs, go to any search engine and type in blog or blogging and you can see them.

When we first investigated blogging (the present participle for the verb form of posting in a blog), it seemed interesting enough. But can it work for a Tennessee boer goat farmer?

What can you blog about if you raise and sell boer goats and livestock guardian dogs, like our great pyrenees and border collie dogs?

At first, the idea seemed hopeless. I could picture the entries:

“Today I went to the Co-op today and picked up two fifty pound bags of goat chow, and on the way there, I dropped off the trash at the dump.”

Intriguing? Not really -- although you would be surprised at what you see in some blogs.

Okay, so it needs some focus. To get started, I just looked at my inbox. As a subscriber of multiple goat mailing lists, and the author of the articles on this web site, I realized that people have a bunch of questions. I received a bunch of e-mails every week asking how I raise my goats. Many of the e-mails are similar to the ones I sent more experienced breeders when I just got started. Coincidently, in that statement is the same motivation for the articles that we add to our web site. People have a need to know and want to find out how to solve the basic situations that arise in running a small goat farm. As we have said, we are not experts, but …. Well, we’ve been through the same thing.

So maybe a blog entry reads,

That seems like one of the common questions we get. We could put the question in with our answer. Ultimately, it could lead to a discussion on the blog about fencing (we are not quite there, yet, but it sounds promising).

Another idea was to use the blog as a medium to display testimonials from our customers. We have had a number of satisfied customers purchase great pyrenees and border collie livestock guardian dogs from us. So, an entry could look like this:

That was an actual reply from a customer last October.

Or, this from a customer whose web site we designed:

Additionally, our web site administration can benefit from the blog. Just detailing plans for the future and telling which files you have updated recently can mean a lot when you have several people updating the site from several different locations. While it may seem mundane to the public, an entry that says this:

So the blog is valuable for a number of reasons. First, it is a way to document everything. We use movabletype as our blogging software. I also tried greymatter and a few others, but I liked movabletype the best. It may not be the easiest to set up, but it has a very good user interface and has searchable archives. There is a big value to searchable archives. First of all, for our own benefit, now we have a resource which we can search months from now to find out information about our own farm. For the visitors to our web site, they can use the search function, looking for key words which answer their questions. If the information we provide is useful, then the blog has done its job.

Some of our concerns were about how much information to put in. Well, we started this a few months ago and we are going to try varying degrees of information, from the commonplace to the interesting. Sure, most of the information is going to seem routine, and maybe even dull. But we are going to get our feet fully entrenched in the blog and see how it sorts out.

Like I said in the beginning, we do get a lot of requests for our opinion on farming matters, and we were concerned that someone may find the information they were looking for on the blog and, instead of contacting us directly about a question, we would lose the interaction with our guests. Well, it is a chance we are willing to take. We hope people will find what they need, and will still sign our guestbook, or attempt to contact us either through the comments on the blog, or through our contact form or just a regular e-mail.

If you get a chance, peruse our blog (click here) and let us know what you think. Go ahead and bookmark it and come back at another time to see what we have added, or just come back to our site and click on the blog link on the left side of the page. Since we have jumped into this feet first, I know we will continue to upgrade the page and the comments fairly regularly.

If you liked this article please let us know by signing our guestbook or visiting our blog and making a comment on any of the entries.

Ken and Pat Motes
Clear Creek Farms
33 South Clear Creek Road
Fall River, Tennessee 38468
Phone: (931) 852-2167
Fax: (931) 852-2168

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