Today I’m running our WordPress web studio without internet access. At times like these when, like the rest of South Devon, we’ve been let down by our broadband provider – my blog posts become somewhat less professional.
It’s not really surprising, as I’m writing this old-style – in "Microsoft Word", without access to the wealth of resources and links the internet has to offer. I can’t even publish it until the internet is back up.
Shall I go through the jobs I’m always putting off, which don’t require internet access? Filing, adding receipts to our accounting software, etc. Or shall I stare at the alpacas outside the window, thinking of random ways to relate them to my work?
Our home and office comes complete with its own 1-acre paddock. Despite owning a decent ride-on mower, we really couldn’t be bothered to mow the entire field every few weeks for the whole summer (we've got websites to build, after all!). Leaving it to go to seed isn't an option, unless you want a paddock that's full of weeds, uneven, and looking a mess. So we decided to get three alpacas to do it for us.
Not many people would do this. So You could argue that this says something about how we approach things in general - and WordPress websites in particular.
Why alpacas? And why WordPress?
Once we’d decided to get some animals to graze the field, alpacas weren’t the obvious choice. People assumed we’d get sheep, cows, a horse, or even some Dartmoor ponies. But we did our research and discoved that alpacas were the best option.
We met the lovely Keith and Heather Rushmore from Ashill Alpacas in Devon and were soon the proud owners of Guthlac, Glenfiddich and Granville (later replaced by Galileo, but that's another story).
Saving time and money
Alpacas do cost more to buy than some animals (even if you get geldings like we did) but they save time and money in the long run. We discoved that sheep are quite susceptible to illness, as they’ve been so intensively bred in the past. Whereas alpacas evolved naturally in the Peruvian mountains, so they’re ideally suited to whatever the Dartmoor weather can throw at them.
They rarely get ill, so there's less money on expensive vets bills. And apart from the occasional shearing and toenail cutting, they don’t really need much looking after. We just throw a bit of food and hay down for them every now and then, and they’re good to go.
We used similar reasoning when we decided to use WordPress for our web design services. WordPress websites can cost slightly more to design than a static website, but they save so much time and maintenance overall. Like alpacas, a WordPress website is robust, reliable and weatherproof (although it needs shearing less often!). You do need to keep the software up to date, but it will make your life much easier in the long run.
Not the obvious choice
Lots of people think we're slightly 'odd' for getting alpacas. "Why not something normal like sheep?" But we thought outside the box, did our research and went with the best option – whatever other people thought.
WordPress sometimes encounters a similar attitude. Even though it’s used for 22% of all new websites, it has struggled to shake off its reputation as a mere blogging platform. We’ve done our research – gained loads of experience – and we know it’s perfect for all types of websites, whatever people think. We don’t think twice about offering WordPress to large corporate clients, even if they are expecting us to sell them a custom CMS for 10 times the price.
And nearly three years later, we've never looked back. With the alpacas, or with WordPress!