University of Idaho Extension, Valley County U-Idaho Extension Image Map
Jan 282014

The following posts and links provides answer to common questions:

  1. Set up
    1. your hosting account and website: linked pdf
  2. Search engine optimization
    1. simple measures if you use the Weaver Theme
    2. page and post optimization using Yoast’s plugin
  3. Creating links
    1. Simple links to other sites or Facebook pages
    2. More tricks with Facebook (advanced)
  4. Inspiration
    1. more ideas for the general design of your website: link
    2. adding keywords etc for search engine optimization: link
 January 28, 2014


Jan 282014

Workshop: your website in three hours…

Information? Call the University of Idaho Extension office at 382-7190 to find out when and where the next workshop is.

For who is this workshop?
Individuals or businesses that want a web (and Google) presence but do not have the funds to hire a design firm, or individuals that want to have their own blogging site but have no web design experience.

Class 1:
- Website fundamentals;
- Choosing your web hosting company
You will leave this class with the homework to select your domain name and how to do this

Class 2:
- complete your hosting account setup
- install WordPress and do an initial setup
Optional homework from this class is to select a WordPress Theme that fits your company or style

Class 3:
- your first page and post- install the template of your choice
- tips on how to continue from here
- next steps

Some “user group” meetings after the course will allow participants to share experience and exchange questions and tips.

The University of Idaho is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer & educational organization. We offer programs to persons regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or disability. Reasonable accommodations will be made for persons with disabilities and special needs who contact Willem Braak at least 5 days in advance at PO Box 510, Cascade, ID 83611, 208-382-7190,

Frequently asked questions

What will the workshop do for me?
At the end of the workshop you or your business will have an actual, professional looking web-presence on a very low-budget (around $100 per year, which would include your domain). The website will, if you choose so, allow visitors to leave comments that you can manage. The workshop will also give you the basic knowledge and tools to maintain and update your site in an easy manner without the purchase of any software for your computer.

Does my business need a website?
If you mainly rely on local customers that know how to find you, than a website is nice but not necessary; a (free) Facebook presence can already help you, since nobody needs to find you through a search engine, like Google.
If, however, a substantial portion of your business is from people who do not necessarily know (of) you, than a web-site can be very beneficial (certainly at a $100 budget).

What do I need to know about computers or have on my computer?
There is no software involved that your computer does not already have if you use the internet; you will do all the work in your web-browser. Having the following computer experience is a required, however:

  • You need to be able to comfortably navigate your email program and your web-browser (Firefox, Internet Explorer or Google Chrome); the web-browser must be up-to-date (check for the latest version);
  • You need to have good navigation skills on your computer; that is: how to find and save files in the folders on your hard-disk
  • You need to be comfortable to format text in a word-processing program (like Microsoft Word); understanding styles in word is an advantage.

What does the workshop cost?
The workshop is currently free of charge, but since the idea is for you to have your own website up and running at the end of the workshop you will need to create that website and have it “hosted” (allowing people to find your website). This requires that you, in the second lesson, sign up with a web-hosting company of your choice – doing so with your own credit card. The workshop will help you with this.
Hosting your website with a hosting company costs around $7/month; there are some deals that can start you at $5.95/month or less, but they may not have the capability to do what we need. The workshop will let you know which ones are acceptable.
Almost all hosts require 12 months up-front, however. Therefore, in order to create and pay for a website for one year, plan on spending anywhere between $80-100 depending on the hosting company you choose ( (through a credit-card charge).

NOTE: the University of Idaho does not recommend or promote any particular hosting site. The hosts that we will discuss at the workshop will all be capable of running WORDPRESS – an open source (free), powerful website/blogging program that we will be using in the workshop

What if I already have a website?
If your web-hosting company allows you to install a WORDPRESS site, than this workshop can work for you. You can either convert your old site, or you can often add a new domain for just $10 pa.

Check it out!

Tips and blog-entries on WordPress sites: WordPress Blog

Website examples

A few examples of websites in progress of students from the previous class:
- Kristin Eames
- Cascade Outdoor Services
- Hasbrouck Farms
- Computer Discovery

Why UI?

Why does the University of Idaho Extension office even offer a webdesign course?!

The answer is twofold. The first reason is that many small business owners or individuals simply cannot afford hiring a webdesign firm to create a website for them. Very often they resort to a free Facebook page, which is effective for those that know you, but not for those that don’t – usually the group you would like to reach. This course uses open-source (free) programs that have emerged over the last few years and make designing and maintaining a website much easier; it also helps individuals take the hurdle of getting signed up with a hosting company.

The second answer has to do with the little webdesign capacity that we currently have in Valley County. Creating more interest and establishing more demand and expertise may eventually bring more opportunity for webdesign to the county; why not ski or hike during the day, and earn a living designing websites in the afternoon?

 January 28, 2014

Thank you City of Donnelly for graciously hosting the November 15 workshop at the Donnelly Community Center! We had some 30 participants discussing the state of our current and future regional economy in terms of opportunities, challenges and obstacles. The community was again broadly represented by elected leadership, businesses and a variety of social organizations – a diversity that truly provides depth to the effort.

The participants split into four teams to discuss the region’s economic future. Their final task was to divide economic development efforts (that is: their imaginary budget dollars and attention) into four separate tasks:

  • Business Attraction
  • Business retention and expansion
  • Industry (sector) development
  • Development of Community and Infrastructure

All percentages assigned to these four tasks were to add up to the total economic development effort of the region. At the next meeting we will discuss creating four individual teams to tackle these individual efforts. The idea of separate teams is to avoid priority conflicts between efforts by allocating separate resources to each team according to the needs and priorities of the community.

We’ll get you a more detailed summary of the November 15 meeting’s results but the following links can jot your memory (or give you a glimpse):

Do check your calendar to make sure that December 13 is marked for the next and last workshop in this series. The workshop is from 1:30 – 4:30 pm and will be hosted by the City of McCall.


Willem Braak
Kendra Kenyon
Randy Shroll
 January 13, 2014


Jan 092014

2011 Valley County Small Business Workshops


  • Regular workshops will resume in the fall of 2011; call to set up an ad-hoc workshop
  • Call (208) 382-7136 University of Idaho Extension Office
  • or email Willem Braak at the Valley County Extension office.

It is always possible to do ad-hoc workshops on specific business (development) topics for small groups. Please call (208) 382-7136 to organize such a workshop.

Are these workshops for you?

Workshops are for both current business owners and would-be entrepreneurs – all experience levels.

What can the workshops do for you?

These workshops are not another set of dry PowerPoint slides, but are meant to put you to work. Some of the workshop subjects:

  • So you want to expand your business into new areas, or start a new business altogether? Learn how to brainstorm to select possibilities and understand risks and reward. Learn about the power of business linkages and partnerships.
  • How about learning marketing techniques to better understand or serve your customers( and thus help sales);
  • Provided you know your market, what are ways to establish a reliable sales forecast? How do I best price my product or service? How can I use this to drive my business?
  • Business plans can be a waste of time, or the best time spent. Make your business plan into a working document that increases chances of success (or funding); also: choose the best (legal) ownership structure to serve your business at this stage;
  • Discuss not only the latest on banking options, but how best to prepare for them and what to do to keep your desired line of credit;
  • Never mind traditional bank accounts: your business has great promise, but inherently more risk! Discuss complex “guaranteed loan” options with experts from SBA and USDA and how they team up with banks to help you.

And don’t forget the power of networking with peers in your region.

Some of the workshop instructors

Linda Morris: Marketing often shapes our reality. Until recently, Linda was Business and Marketing Professor as well as Vice Provost of Academic Affairs at the University of Idaho. You could follow many of her marketing courses on-line, but instead you will have the opportunity to work with her in person. Linda now lives and plays in New Meadows.

Willem Braak: Business plans can be dry and tedious; Willem will make them come alive. He has 25 years of business development experience in industry, retail and ecommerce in both Europe and the US. He has managed areas as diverse as R&D, Marketing and manufacturing, and presided over as few as 3 employees and as many as 1,500. He recently joined the University of Idaho as Extension Educator in Valley County.

Topic instructors

Nobody can be a specialist on all topics; especially when it comes to non-traditional financing and the legalities of separating your personal assets from your business responsibilities. These topics can be quite complicated and are in constant flux. We are lucky to have several specialists at the workshops from organizations like Sage Community Resources, the US Small Business Administration, USDA Business Programs and our local banks.

 January 9, 2014

Idaho Women In AgricultureWhen: Saturday, March 2, 2013
Where: Twin Falls, Idaho – Taylor Building, College of Southern Idaho
Registration: $27, includes lunch and conference packet.
Flyer: download PDF

Idaho Women in Agriculture

Meet and network with women farmers and agricultural professionals from around Idaho.
Learn the latest trends for Idaho agriculture. Continue reading »

 January 24, 2013

Make your organization show up in web searches

Visitors and residents alike overwhelmingly look on the internet for information about local businesses, amenities or services – especially using search engines like Google.This seminar is open to everyone and will discuss principles of  website Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help local (profit and not-for-profit) web-sites show up in a search or on on-line maps. This class is a collaborative effort of the McCAll College, University of Idaho Extension and local businesses.  Featured instructor Steve Berry, founder and CEO of Battery Universe, Inc, will provide exciting web-development updates since February 2012, when this class was first held in McCall Continue reading »

 December 28, 2012

Where: Shore Lodge (501 West Lake Street, McCall)
Time: 9:30 am to 3:30 pm
Price: this workshop is free of charge
Free registration: link

The “Northern Rockies Team” of UI’s College of Natural Resources is conducting a series of interactive workshops to provide cutting edge information about climate change. These workshops Continue reading »

 November 5, 2012
Jun 152012

In celebration of National Pollinator Week, the University of Idaho Extension in Valley County is excited to sponsor a three hour Bee Pollination class and tour.

The class will be held on:

  • Saturday June 23 from 10:00AM – 1:00PM
  • at the Super 8 Lodge in McCall (map).
  • call University of Idaho Extension at 382-7190 for registration or information
  • Pre-Registration Fee: $5; Registration Fee at Door: $7
    (Light refreshments served; Transportation and Lunch will be on your own)

Taught by pollination ecologist, Dr. Karen Strickler and local beekeeper Rick Fereday this class will be fun and informative for gardeners and small acreage farmers of all ages and abilities. Dr. Strickler supervised the University of Idaho Pollination Ecology program for seven years; she now teaches at CWI and owns Pollinator Paradise, a company dedicated to the conservation, increase, and management of native bee populations. Rick Fereday, a local business owner, is an active beekeeper in Valley County and will share the challenges of bees and beekeepers in our region.

We Can Help You:

  • Learn how and why flowers attract pollinators including bees;
  • How to distinguish bees from flies and wasps,
  • Learn about the diversity of bees,
  • How and why to plant a bee friendly garden,
  • How pollinators are responsible for 1/3 of food that we eat, and much more




 June 15, 2012

I know pesticide applicator classes are not everyone’s favorite class. I do know, however, that several of you are very instrumental in fighting invasive weeds that can literally ruin rangelands and wildlife habitat and can spread to and from yards and homesteads. Just to show how serious there damaging effect can be: Montana did an economic impact study for the state and concluded that (diffuse, spotted and russian) knapweed alone causes state-wide damage representing $42 million dollars annually!

This year’s applicator re-certification workshop on April 25 is about an integrative approach for invasive weed management. Rick Ridenour, the County Superintendent, is all on board to use the class not only to get credits, but to inspire a regional approach and discuss effective strategies on weed management particular to Valley County.

We will have three excellent guest instructors:

  • Dr. Tim Prather: Tim is the weed specialist for the University of Idaho (Moscow Campus) and is specialized in invasive plant ecology. He will help us better understand what we’re up to and what our options are. He will also focus on priority weeds for Valley County (as opposed to the generic “Idaho” approach).
  • Tony McCammon – Extension educator and horiculture specialist in Washington County. Tony is an excellent instructor and has conducted several classes in valley County before.
  • Joey Milan: Joey is Biological control specialist with BLM/ISDA –Joey will help us understand how we can fight invasives by introducing a natural enemy and thus restore balance – a more risky, but potentialy very effective approach.

The fee is $30 and includes lunch. If you are interested in weed management I hope to see you at the workshop. Let us know if you have any questions, concerns or subjects that we can ask the speakers to cover.

 April 17, 2012
Feb 092012

Map Resources

 February 9, 2012