• Kristin Mizner

A Vision and a Plan

Who: Knutson Shorthorns, family raised beef and Shorthorn genetics

What: Website development for informing and growing a community

All in budget: <$500

Zach Knutson came to me shortly after I announced AVD. He was very clear about his budget and through the AVD process, we were able to nail down a very clear plan of what he needed. A few things we wanted to accomplish:

  1. A defined page for direct beef that is similar to, but separate from his cattle operation, as they are two very different audiences.

  2. Building a community was important for Zach. He has big plans for the future of his operation and starting to build his community in advance is going to provide a great foundation for his future plans.

  3. A defined budget made possible by an awarded grant.

Our planning process was a breeze thanks to the detailed information Zach was able to provide via my project planning worksheet. He did his research finding elements of other websites he liked and disliked and communicated his needs very clearly.

Challenge #1 - Imaging

Zach was concerned about the cost to acquire appropriate imaging for his website. Photography can be a huge expense in website development. Which is more important: sacrificing the website to get high quality pictures or working with what you have knowing you can invest in photography down the road.


I didn’t want Zach to have to settle. We were able to use a combination of images he had with inexpensive stock photos to give his website a professional look on a budget. We even saved him a few bucks to put towards photography in the future!

Challenge #2 - Audiences

Zach is talking to two audiences - cattle producers and consumers. If he wants to place an ad in his breeders’ association, he knows they don’t need to see his direct beef information and when he’s advertising his farm-raised beef, he doesn’t want to overwhelm his customers with cattle information.


Two pages that are technically one website, but there are limited opportunities to go between the two. If a consumer is really interested, they can click on the portion of his banner that says “Our Herd” and a similar link at the bottom. If a visitor to the Shorthorn page is interested in his direct beef business, there are, again, two opportunities for them to see that information. This ensures the visitor has control over their experience and sees the information that is important to them without getting overwhelmed or distracted.

Each page has ways for his visitors to sign up for future information. I believe email is a greatly underutilized resource. Zach’s hosting plan offers a free email service, as well as other marketing resources, which will be excellent opportunities for him when he has important announcements.

In the future, we can easily add a second domain - one that is defined for this beef and produce business. Having two domains will make it easy to direct the two audiences to the page they will be most interested in.

Challenge #3 - Budget

Zach had a defined budget due to a grant he received from FACT - Food Animals Concern Trust. A more robust website that details all areas of his operation would have been outside of the budget and, at this point, was unnecessary.


We defined what was most important to him: info about his direct beef business and co-op opportunities for his pasture and genetics, while also laying the foundation for his sale cattle. We kept his beef page simple, while providing access to resources that help people through the process of buying beef. There are so many good resources out there, it’s more economical than developing our own. The links to order beef generate emails with corresponding subject lines. When a customer wants to claim that last beef, they click the link to email and Zach knows exactly which link they clicked on. (His website paid for itself in less than 48 hours with this method!)

With his Shorthorn page, Zach has several opportunities that would be of interest to local producers. Each item has a Call to Action that makes it easy for producers to start the process.

A gallery of his foundation animals and links to his articles in the Shorthorn Country provide credibility and learning opportunities.

I am most proud of our ability to work within Zach’s budget. I know this is a common problem and I wanted to highlight Zach’s tenacity to seek funding and then be patient and flexible in his requirements to accomplish this goal. While it, no doubt, took a great deal of focus, time and research on Zach’s part, he is a perfect example of what is possible with hard work and determination. Fortunately, the one thing it did not take, was a large budget.

If you're ready to start your site, send me a note!



Ash Valley Designs

Kristin Mizner

PO Box 115, Esbon, Kansas

620-786-4907 |  Email

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