Creating a New Rafter O Website

I wouldn’t really consider myself to be super tech-savvy, but I do enjoy building and maintaining my farm website.  It is fun to select which pictures to post, and exciting to update with all the new kids each Spring!  I’ve been using GoDaddy since starting up the website, and I have been very happy with them.  The original RafterO.com site was built with GoDaddy’s Business Plus Website Builder.  This builder was easy to use and customize but had a few downfalls.  Once a template was selected, you could never change it without losing EVERYTHING!  Fortunately (or unfortunately), GoDaddy is discontinuing service on that website builder, thus forcing me to choose another design format.

Being Vice President of the Hill Country Mini Milkers, I designed the club website using GoDaddy’s GoCentral builder.  Wow!  This is very easy to use, and works great for the club site, and formats awesome on mobile devices.  Nowadays, how a website looks on mobile devices is very important.  The original RafterO.com site did not look good on mobile.  So much so, that I turned off the mobile display option.  Not good in a world where about half of all web traffic is from mobile devices!  Even though the GoCentral builder worked great for the HCMM site, I was really looking for more customization ability for my new site.

Without much knowledge at all, I plunged into building a new WordPress site for the Rafter O.  It is still hosted on GoDaddy.  The learning curve was very steep, but I feel that I created a great finished product.  I learned all about widgets, plug-ins, themes, and coding.

For those of you goat farmers trying to decide if you need a website, the answer is yes!  Although the initial setup is time-consuming, the end result is worth it.  It gives your customers a great tool to learn more about your herd and lets you show off your herd.  There are lots of options for hosting and designing your website.  Do your research and decide what will work best for you.  If you need some advice, I’m here to help!  Happy goating!

UPDATE: I often get questions in regards to Themes and Plugins that I use on my WordPress site. In regards to Themes, WordPress has many “built-in” themes that are free to use. I didn’t feel that any of these free themes captured what I wanted on my website, so I purchased a theme from Ancora Themes on ThemeForest. The price on the theme I purchased was $59 which includes support for a year and continuous updates. Most themes also come with support plugins that make them well worth the purchase price!

Plugins, in my opinion, are the coolest part of having a WordPress site! You can do just about anything with them, and they can add some great functionalities to your site. Most Plugins will have a free Lite version, and a paid Premium version. I’ve listed below the Plugins I use on my site.

  • WP Bakery Page Builder – This plugin came with my Theme, and it is the #1 WordPress Page Builder Plugin. Once I got used to how it worked, it is so easy to create pages.
  • BreedrBreedr for WordPress is the #1 WordPress plugin for breeders all over the world.  Breedr is the (only..) perfect out-of-the-box solution. You can create and manage your breeding stock, manage their litters, health screenings, achievements and titles earned.
  • WooCommerce – This plugin also came with my Theme. WooCommerce is the world’s most popular open-source eCommerce solution. I use it to list goats for sale on my site, but it has A TON of functions I don’t even use. Anyone that has inventory such as goat milk soap will find this program invaluable!
  • Gravity Forms – You will need a good form builder for your goat website. This one came with my theme. I use forms for Wait List Application, General Contact Us, and the Rafter O Doellars Reward Program.
  • Ninja Tables – I use this plugin to create my Breeding Plan table.
  • Envira Gallery – This is a very easy to use image gallery plugin. I create image galleries for each goat, a goat’s kids, a goat’s pedigree photos, etc. The images format really nicely on both computer and mobile. I also utilize a few add ons, including the watermark feature.
  • Easy Watermark – More and more unethical online behavior is taking place where folks are stealing images from websites and using them as their own. Watermarking your images is one way to protect yourself.
  • Slider Revolution – Slider Revolution is a WordPress plugin that allows you to create responsive sliders with many animation effects, text, image, and video layers, and many other features.
  • Boxzilla – Flexible pop-ups or slide-ins, showing up at just the right time.
  • Image Hover Effects Ultimate – This is an impressive, lightweight, responsive Image hover effects gallery plugin.
  • WP Online Contract – WordPress Online Contract is the original plugin that allows you to create, manage, and save contracts online through WordPress. You can customize contracts using flat text files and shortcodes and view revisions of your existing contracts. I use this for the Rafter O Sales Agreement. I received feedback that the PDF version I was using was very cumbersome to “sign” and send back. This plugin takes it all online and makes it super easy!
  • MC4WP Mailchimp – This plugin helps you grow your Mailchimp lists and write better newsletters through various methods. You can create good looking opt-in forms or integrate with any existing form on your site, like your comment, contact, or checkout form.
  • Smash Balloon Social Post Feed – Displays Facebook posts on your WordPress site.
  • Yoast SEO Premium – The #1 WordPress SEO Plugin.
  • Smush – Compress images & optimize images with lazy load, WebP conversion, and resize detection to make your site load amazingly fast.
  • Hummingbird – Optimize site speed with the best WP cache plugin. Cache, minify CSS & minify JavaScript, defer critical CSS & JS, smush & lazy load images.
  • Akismet Anti-Spam – The last thing you want on your beautiful site is spammers! Akismet checks your comments and contact form submissions against our global database of spam to prevent your site from publishing malicious content. 

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