Top 10 Things to Include on Your Horse Farm Website

A mailing list signup form. E-newsletters are quick and handy get the word out when the vet comes, a new boarder joins, a stall becomes available or you have any news to share. Some email systems even let you include invoice or PayPal links, if you'd like to start collecting payments online

A link to a social site like a Facebook page for your barn. Depending on your crowd's enthusiasm, you may want to tie into a photo sharing power of Flickr, Picasa or Facebook. Nurture those warm fuzzy feelings among your crowd by letting them add to photo galleries they can share among themselves - through a link on your gallery page.

Your street address - preferably 0 to 1 clicks away from the home page - so people can get driving directions. You may even want to post a Google map - that's right, you can put a Google map of your business on your website. A link to the instructions is below

A website visit counter. This is something (invisible please) you can set up with a free service - it reports to you on which pages people visit, and how many times, each week. It helps you gauge the level of interest or need for information among people searching and finding you.

A quiet background. Let the beauty of your photographs and other images tell your story. A busy background is a common design mistake in DIY horse sites. It buries your message and the beauty of your horse photos with visual noise.

Your contact information - email and phone.

Your basic policies. Especially regarding hours of operation, payment due dates, and schedules so folks don't mistakenly disrupt the feeding times or farrier visits you've set to keep everyone healthy and happy.

A good word and a link to nearby businesses - - If you value the services of other businesses in your area -- good local hay growers, farrier, repair service, tack shop or a riding coach for example - list them on your "resources" page. Call the page what you like - when you help the people who help you by giving them a some added visibility, everybody wins.

At least one nice big image on each page. Not a bunch of little ones. I don't need to tell you that horses are big animals. Let them come to life in images of sufficient size. You may worry that too big an image - say 500px wide by 300px tall - may slow down your display too much for dial-up visitors. Good thought. Today's photo editing programs can save a copy with compression to make load times bearable. Even Facebook compresses the copy it stores in your profile. See if you can find a way to compress your photos, or get a friend to help you re-save photos for web viewing.

A list of horses for sale or lease.

Your story. A computer screen can't do justice to your landscape, or the beauty of the animals you live with. The web is a cold, electronic, mechanical place. People visit your farm's web site hoping to get a feel for you as a place, and as individuals. Share a little of your history and your approach to running a horse farm on your About page.

And as promised, here are Google's instructions for putting a map pin of your own on Google Maps.

I can't wait to stop by and visit.