Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fact or Fiction? The Elusive RHD Waiting List.

Several years ago (I think in 2007) I got a real kick out of a post on Steer Planet where someone said that RHD only does web site updates on Sundays. We thought it was real funny, because truthfully on Sundays, I don't know about the other people here at RHD but I usually go to church followed by house cleaning and a Law & Order marathon on USA television ha ha.

But recently, I had to smile again when I heard a friend telling me some of the "stories" she heard about RHD, most of which were all not exactly true. So, here's a few samples of some things you might hear about us, and if they are FACT or FICTION :)

FACT or FICTION: There is a 3 month waiting list to get Ranch House Designs to design a new web site.

Hmm, that's a FICTION. The truth behind this is that yes we do have a waiting list, because we strive to maintain the highest level of  quality and honestly, that just takes time. Realistically we get about 5 new web design proofs out per week. A couple of years ago, at one time our waiting list was 8 weeks. So I think that is where that story originally came from, and a competitor heard it and ran with it.

Truthfully, most of our sites go from start to finish in about 10 days. Some even go faster than that, we have several sites where the client loves the first design we send them, they have their materials all organized, and their site can go up in as fast as a day or so. Now of course, a lot of this depends on the client and how fast they approve designs, how fast they send in pictures, etc. But to answer the question, no, we do not have a 3 month waiting list.

After hearing this little story, Christa (our web division manager) busted out with the fact that she has a spreadsheet dating back to 2008 that shows the average turnaround on new web site designs. When she first started working here we might put up about 2 or 3 new sites a week. Thanks to the hard work of Christa, Jessica and Carole, we have nearly tripled that in the last 6 months!

So, if you're a RHD fan and you've heard about this elusive RHD 3 month waiting list, here's the facts. The typical wait time is about 2-3 weeks. :)

Stay tuned, we'll be doing some more fact or fictions in the upcoming weeks!

Friday, October 29, 2010

H&M Cattle Co.

Check out our newest site for local cattle rancher H&M Cattle Co. They have been raising cattle in Wharton, Texas, since 1968 and are excited about launching their new web site so the world can see their quality selection of cattle.

For more than 30 years, H&M Cattle owner Robbie Hamilton has been marketing replacement females by breeding Brahman Bulls on Polled Hereford Cows to produce the Golden Certified F-1 Females. The results speak for themselves.

Be sure to visit their Sale Cattle page to see what they will have available in their upcoming 2011 sales.

Also, keep an eye out for H&M Cattle this year at the San Antonio Livestock Show, Houston Livestock Show and the ABBA F-1 Female Sale.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Frasher Family Club Calves

Located in Anamos, Iowa, Frasher Family Club Calves has been raising show cattle for many years. Their family takes prides in being able to select and supply top quality show cattle.

Over the years, Frasher Family Club Calves have sold the Grand or Reserve Grand steers or breed champions at Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky state fairs and beef expos, as well as many county fair champions.

Check out their site to see what they have available. They sell private treaty and will work to find the one for your county or state fair, or even a higher level of competition.

September Updates Beats New Record!

For some reason, I tried to post this blog at the first of the month but it never posted. Anyway, I know it's a little late but I want to make sure Christa, Carole and Jessica get their due credit for their awesome work in September :)

It just seems like every month our web division keeps cranking out the updates, and this month they did the most web updates EVER! Wanna guess how many they did? 433 updates in one month. That's over 20 updates a day. (Business days that is).

Whenever people hear that we do almost 400 web sites, they wonder how we do it. Because even with this many updates, the average turnaround time for an update in September was only 2 hours. So say for example, you sent your update in at 8:00 a.m., it was done by 10:00 a.m. that very same day.

Customer service is the backbone of our business success. We know how important it is when you have something new to add to your web site. As our business grows, we have continually expanded our staff dedicated to updates to be able to insure a fast turnaround on service.

So, if you've been considering hiring RHD for a web site, think about the quality of service and give us call.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Come See How Far We've Come!

This Friday (October 29th) we are inviting everyone to come out to RHD to come check out our new office and enjoy a nice fall lunch at our Open House! If you follow our activities you know that we purchased a new building in May, and then moved in July. We've been waiting til things cooled off here in Texas, and hopefully we'll have a day that is in the upper 70s for our "fall" open house!

So we thought we'd give you a little idea of what we've been up to over the past few months in our new building. Then to see what we've'll have to come by the open house on Friday! We'll be serving a mashed potato lunch bar (done by Stacey Forgason and Hinze's BBQ), homemade cookies done by my grandmother Sammie Johnston and Carole Arriaga, and lots of hospitality by the rest of us here at RHD.

Here are some sneak peaks of the remodel process, come on Friday to see how far we've come!

This picture is our original entry way...pre-remodel:

Our kitchen pre-remodel.

The web room pre-remodel.

Rachel's office pre-remodel.

Tricia's office pre-remodel.

Our lobby pre-remodel. (keep in mind this is not our stuff, this was right before the old owners moved out)

Ahhh, the joys of removing a floor. These were the little peel and stick tiles, stuck on top of lineleum from the 1950s I think. My cousin John Locke said "oh, removing flooring is EASY". N-O-T!!!!! We removed all these by hand, thanks to lot of sweat equity from Rachel, Brandon, Russell & Laci Sciba and Matt Karisch. Notice the shovel.

One of our biggest tools of the whole project, my grandmother Mollie Williams' trusty wheelbarrow. Notice it's tied together with a hay string. This thing got us through the whole project!!!

We also had some help from our little assistant, Tori Cutrer (our dog).

After we started doing a lot of stuff, of course we had to call in our husbands to help. Brandon Cutrer, Lex Forgason, and Tim Arriaga all came in and helped us out with different stuff.  Of course there was lots of bossing going on by the ladies.

Towards the end of the project, we went ahead and moved in even though there was some work still to be done. Here's a picture of Stacey working in her office as the new door is added. This brought a whole new meaning to "our door is always open to clients!"

When you come by on Friday, you'll be blown away by the transformation. And we couldn't have done it without the help of so many of our friends, whether you came by and gave us advice on paint colors (Vanessa Hudgins), or helped us rip up the carpet, or stopped by with a cold Coke for us during those unbelievable summer days of work.

We especially want to thank Judy Laitkep of Judy's Paint Service who just went above and beyond in her advice and help to us, and to Jan Powell (my aunt) who helped us do the decorating and arranging. We're so blessed to be in this great new office and we're excited to show it off :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hamann Farms

Another new Shorthorn site RHD recently completed is Hamann Farms.

Though relatively new to raising Shorthorn cattle, they have already exhibited much success in the show ring. The operation began in 2003 and they have built a well balanced purebred Shorthorn herd with dominating cow families and the most sought-after genetics the breed has to offer.

Hamann Farms believes utilizing proven genetics equals successful results and their goal is to breed modern, functional and predictable cattle.

Located in Grant Park, Illinois, Hamann Farms invites visitors to the farm for a first hand look at their quality cattle. Even if you can’t make it to the farm, visit their web site to catch a glimpse of what they have to offer.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bluebonnet Classic Sale

2011 may seem like a long time away, but we all know how quickly time flies, so mark your calendars early for the Bluebonnet Classic Santa Gertrudis Sale March 26th. Visit their web site for complete details and check back often for updates.

The site will have photos of consignments posted in January. Whether you’re looking to add to your herd or starting from scratch, plan to attend the sale in March 2011.

The Bluebonnet Classic Sale, now in it's 10th year, is held annually in Halletsville, Texas, and offers top quality Santa Gertrudis females and a limited number of exceptional bulls. These cattle will work for the purebred, commercial, or club calf producer, as well as junior show exhibitors.

The Bluebonnet Classic Sale sponsors are proven, progressive breeders of Santa Gertrudis beef cattle. They are focused on producing and providing a quality product to their customers.

Visit for a complete list of consignors and directions to the sale.

Training Tutorials for Web and Graphic Design

Some good advice given to me by Christy Collins about 5 years ago: "Imitation is the highest form of flattery." We tell ourselves that almost daily here at RHD, and as it's been pointed out numerous times, a lot of graphic designers imitate the design styles created by RHD. About a year ago we started the RHD Boot Camps, as a way to help train others in the graphic design and web design skills. We've found that helping others develop professionally is just one of the rewards of being at the top. That's why we're happy to help people when they have a technical question. Or happy to give advice to a starting designer who needs some professional direction. People like Julie French did that for me, and I'm happy to do it for others.

The RHD Boot Camps have been a huge hit. We've had people from the United States and even Australia come here to learn from us. We've had individual ranchers wanting to learn more about doing their own advertising, staff members from corporate businesses, and communications professionals from organizations and associations. Each day we spend at a boot camp is fun for both us and the campers. It's a great feeling when people say things like "WOW!! That's going to save me tons of time!" or like...."Nice...I never knew how to do that!"

Maybe one of my favorite boot camp stories is about Kelli Brown of R.A. Brown Ranch. They just had a tremendous bull sale. Kelli is responsible for putting together their sale catalog....which is about 200 pages. Prior to coming to RHD Boot Camp, she was spending about 6 weeks on the catalog, and typing in each pedigree one by one. After coming to boot camp, she learned how to do automated data merge, which cut her production time in half!!!!

Boot camps are currently being scheduled through December. The holidays make a great time to come down to Texas. The camp costs $500 and you can choose your preference of what you want to learn: web, print, or both. It's your day and we customize it to help you get the most out of the camp.

Another option we are going to be adding is online tutorials on this blog. These will be short little instructional bits that will help other designers or aspiring designers with common tips to speed up your workflow and improve the quality of your work. We'll try to do one a week, but you know during busy times we sometimes forget to blog, so don't hold us to that!

We are also offering our graphic design template packages available for sale at $25. Watch for more nifo on this in future blogs. This package will include the basic templates needed for graphic designers with set up templates for different size ads and formats such as full page 4-c ads, signs and banners, 2 page ads, half page ads, etc. These come in really handy when you are getting started to help you make sure you are following guidelines for page size, bleed, and margins.

So watch for upcoming information coming soon, and keep checking weekly for new training information!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Employee of the Year

Here at RHD,we like to have fun, and one of the most inspiring "fun-lovers" is Jessica Hobbs, a friendly face to many of our web site clients.

As previously mentioned, Jessica always likes doing little jokes around the office. For example, one time, she filled up Tricia's office with pictures of herself. She also recently suggested that instead of answering the phone with "Good morning, Ranch House Designs," that we might spice it up by saying "RHD, What's Poppin?"

One of the stunts Jessica pulled on me was about a year ago, when I arrived at work one morning with a picture of Jessica on my desk, with this caption:

She also did a similar photo on Liz's desk:

So in the spirit of Jessica's fun jokes, I thought we might actually have a REAL contest for RHD's Employee of the Year!! And just to be fair, I listed Jessica at the top of the poll. You can vote on this poll over on the right side of the blog. We'll leave the voting open til December 15th, right before Christmas, so the winner can get their PRIZE!! (Now I'm not saying what exactly the prize might be that the winner gets to take out the trash at RHD for a month....or it might be something good ha ha)

But seriously, vote for your favorite, and we'll see if Jessica really does live up to her title! :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Halloween Costume Contest

Last year we had a fun little "contest" here at RHD for the cutest Halloween costume.....and we're doing it again this year! We're asking all our friends to send us the cute pictures of their little ones all dressed up for Halloween. Actually, the contest isn't limited to just can be adults as well. Last year's winners were Avery Blunier of Duis Farms and Heston Turner of Melatonin Implants.

So after you get those adorable Halloween pictures off your camera, send them to us. We'll give everyone a few days to get the pics on their computer then announce our favorite costume winner about a week after Halloween.

THE PRIZE: The winner of our favorite Halloween Costume Contest will each receive credit for one free quarterly web site fee if they are a current customer....and if you're not a current RHD customer and you win, you can cash that prize in when you do get us to do your web site :)

Christa is going to be our official coordinator of this contest, so send in your cute pictures to or and we'll pick the favorites!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New blog to read: Z-N-T Cattle

I came across a new blog yesterday after reading the blog....Zane Mai's ZNT Cattle blog. I really enjoyed it. I first read the topic that Jeff was talking about: "Enough is Enough", then I started looking around at other articles and I found myself spending an hour on the blog.

After reading Zane's thoughts on online sales and e-mail blasts, I felt a smidgen of remote guilt because at RHD we do send out a lot of e-mail blasts. I sure hope he wasn't talking about us! But I don't think he was, because we take e-mail and spam issues very seriously. We have about 12,000 names on our email blast list, all voluntarily signed up. We sort clients by the species they like, such as club calf, swine, etc. We don't really even send out goat email blasts so I think we're off the hook from Zane. :)

Anyway, if you like reading blogs, check his out, I know I sure enjoyed it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fun Day with Cam Smith, Allied Beef Genetics

We had a real fun day today at the office with Cam Smith of Allied Genetic Resources, who was here with us doing a boot camp on print design. Allied Genetic Resources is a new concept in the beef industry as a firm that helps beef producers with commercial success and added value for their cattle.

Cam works at AGR with two of our good friends, Marty Ropp and Troy Marshall, another RHD client at Marshall Cattle Company. Whenever we first met Cam this morning, I remarked that she looked familiar, that I think I knew her someway. Then she informed me that maybe we met through showing, because her family was the owners of 3C Ranch, as in owners of 3C Macho, owners of Meyer, etc. Wow, we did not know we had such a celebrity in our mix!

While Cam came to learn about print design, we actually put her to work on another task: our new RHD staff pictures!!! We had a photographer lined up, who had to cancel at the last minute. Since everyone was dressed up and ready to go, we asked would she mind if she did the photos! Way to put someone on the spot, right? But she agreed and served as our stand in photographer to take our new company pictures. Watch for them coming soon!

After the day of training in Photoshop and InDesign, where Cam actually pretty much did an entire pretend sale catalog from start to finish in one day, we decided to go learn about something new: Brahman cattle. You know me, I'm not going to miss an opportunity to tell my northern friends about the role of Brahmans in the beef industry. Despite the fact that Cam said she thought Brahmans resembled a buffalo (WHAT!!!!!), she loved them. I warned her that the Brahman bull at the V8 showbarn was a big pet and would chase her out of the pen....because he wanted to be scratched and petted more! And sure enough, the big fellow followed us right up to the gate begging us not to leave.

So here are some pictures of our Simmental breeder with her new Brahman bull friend. Who knows, maybe we'll see Allied Genetic Resources utilizing some Brahman blood in their commercial crossbreeding programs! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Potter's Emmett Valley Ranch

If you’re looking for cattle or sheep, check out Potter’s Emmett Valley Ranch. A family owned cattle and sheep operation in Southwestern Idaho, they are committed to producing quality Registered Angus and Gelbvieh cattle, along with competitive show lambs.

The backbone of their program is cattle. Potter’s Emmett Valley Ranch keeps the daughters and granddaughters of their strongest cow families and continues to AI them to the best sires available.

Their bull crop is chosen based on performance and phenotype and raised to be fit and ready to work - durable with balance, muscle and substance. Take a look at their herd sires and discover why the best ranches in the west use their bulls.

Potter’s Emmett Valley Ranch is building their sheep flock with daughters and granddaughters of the best ewe families, selecting for productive ewes that are sound made, well balanced with ample rib and muscle.

Visit Potter’s Emmett Valley Ranch, where producing quality cattle and sheep is their family’s passion.

Friday, October 1, 2010

October Blog & Facebook Special

Happy October! We're ready for some cooler weather! Our blog/facebook special for this month is 10% off any print project booked with us in the month of October. Here are some ideas of ways to use the coupon:

-New business cards or re-order of your existing business cards...a great time to stock up before Kansas City and Louisville.

-A flyer design or ad design. There's still time to book ads for November magazines, and this coupon can be used for an ad design or a flyer design. Again, flyers make a great way to promote your stuff at stock shows.

-Envelopes or letterhead - For local businesses, order or re-order your company letterhead while it's on sale.

There are tons of ideas to use, so give us a call or email to book a project and take advantage of the savings.