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The Deepest Gopher Holes in Equine Websites

Poor Spelling & Grammar

Poor spelling and grammar create their own image: one of disinterest, ignorance, and lack of attention to detail. Instead of knowledgeable and trustworthy, you'll appear uneducated and careless, definitely not the image you had hoped for!

Whether a website's tone is formal or conversational, if the content is written in English it should appear to have been written by someone who speaks the language. While few visitors will be bothered by the occasional dangling participle, site content should follow basic grammatical rules of sentence structure and punctuation usage.

You have a horse business, and in the business world, spelling COUNTS! If the spell-checker on the word processing and authoring software didn't catch an error, the writer certainly should have when proofreading and looking at the finished site.

Weird grammar, such as cute Internet shorthand (e.g., "How R U?") has no place in business communications.

Horse-related sites must observe the correct usage of equine-specific jargon (mistakes include using "confirmation" instead of "conformation," saying a horse is "out of" a stallion, and so forth). Names of foreign breeds can be tricky, but it is important to spell them correctly, especially if you are selling horses of that breed!

Another practical note on proofreading: many otherwise good website designers cannot spell worth a tinker's darn. Don't be so overwhelmed by beautiful design that you forget to proofread your business' website. Don't be afraid to tell the designer about spelling and grammatical errors. It is your business' image at stake: grab a shovel and fill that gopher hole!

Free Domain (actually No Domain)

In the infancy of the Internet, domain names were a lot like vanity license plates—nifty but an unnecessary expense for the average site. And in the beginning, about ten years ago, there was only one game in town to register a name, and it WAS expensive. But that was then....

Competition in the domain-registration arena has increased geometrically, new extensions have been added, prices have plummeted, and all sorts of great domain names are still available. A website at


just doesn't cut it anymore. Plus you will have a hard time fitting your website's URL on your business card. Domain name registration is cheap and getting your own domain name shows the world that you are serious about your business.

Free Website Hosting

This is a gopher hole in a class of its own, a veritable gopher metropolis, because it pervades a website as a gopher village pervades a field.

What could be more entertaining than to locate a site (or manage to correctly type in a long URL for a site with no domain name), load it up hoping to see some useful information, and instead unleash a herd of advertisements across your monitor? Screens demanding that you "Punch the Monkey and WIN MILLIONS" and asking "Did you go to high school with this person?" really don't help you learn anything about the rare homozygous purple three-spot Appaloosa stallion you were searching for. If you are among the persevering optimists online, perhaps you'll think "maybe if I try to close all those extra windows I can get to the Grail of my search? Oops, no, accidentally closed THAT window too...."

If you have ever gone on one of these goose-chases, you understand what an annoyance free hosting is for website visitors. Why subject your own visitors to this irritation? Don't do it: it is just plain bad business. Don't chase your visitors, shoppers, and paying customers away from your website! Hosting with a company that will not throw advertisements all over your site is inexpensive and readily obtainable. But advertisement-laden free hosting will drive your customers away from your door.

Read on for more fatal design mistakes,

Gopher Holes of the Equine Website: the Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly

Page 3: Gopher Holes: the Bad, the Worse, and the Ugly

Page 1: Gopher Holes in Your Equine Website
Page 2: The Deepest Website Gopher Holes