Who Left the Dang Gate Open

Written by Ann Edall-Robson

Author, photographer and lover of life. Capturing and sharing moments others may never get to experience.

April 27, 2021

“If you open a gate, you close it. You’re responsible for what happens if you don’t.” These are some of the live-by words my dad instilled in me from as far back as I can remember. They still bounce around the gray matter each time I open a gate – any gate. 

The consequences of not heeding his directive meant taking the heat over a gate being left open and the possibility of animals escaping. Even worse was trying to round up the stock before anyone became aware they were not where they were supposed to be! 

Your wake-up call comes when all you see at the end of the day is one lone herd member grazing. First and foremost, you are the one responsible for making sure you take every opportunity to close the gates. Always! When you are aware of what the repercussions can be, it is up to you to be the responsible landowner.

Keeping the gates closed is a concept that should trickle down through the generations as a learning tool on how we handle our social media posts. The last thing we want is to lose visitors and possibly sales because we have been remiss in performing our due diligence.  Rotating stock in and out of feeding pastures is necessary; however, you need the knowledge to control the gate and where they go. The last thing you want is the herd breaking free before they have filled up on everything you are capable of feeding them.

Blog writing, in my opinion, has to be one of the best ways to show the importance of closing gates to keep control of the herd, a.k.a., your visitors. We have all read about the benefits of sharing links to other information that resonates with your writing, but here is where you need to be on your A-Game. Those links to outside sources can be a nemesis or a feather in your cap. 

The Nemesis—Links that open to outside information might mean your visitors leave your website and don’t come back. Why? Because the gate was not properly secured. 

The Feather—Links to outside information that is properly secured show the reader that you are willing to provide additional material. If the gate is secured correctly, the visitor will wander in the new pasture with a view of the home corral still in their sights. An example of this is the links in my Bio at the bottom of this article. Each should open as independent pages without taking you completely away from this CRCL Quiet Spirits column. 

The goal should be to allow the reader to open links without leaving the original article. As they finish reviewing the material found through the link, the linked page can be closed, and the original piece is still before them. You have not lost this visitor. 

Opening content in a new window is an easy step to keep the herd (a.k.a. visitors) corralled on your land. Platforms offering blogs, in the majority of cases, provide the option to “open in a new window” when setting up a link. If you don’t use this option, I recommend you start. It is something I also use with links within my website. Why? Because I don’t want the visiting herd to get lost on my land and not know how to find their way back. 

The long and the short of all this is: Pay attention to how you add external connections to your work. Having links open in a new window will guarantee most visitors to your website/blog will stay with you when they close the external link. Losing them through an open portal may mean lost sales and followers. 

The concept is much the same for any platform. If you forget to include opening links in new windows, you can go back and edit your work to make the change. Closing the gate after the fact isn’t the best choice, but it is a step in the right direction to keeping the herd where you want them in the future. 

I have created a free downloadable, how-to cheat sheet to help you stay on top of keeping the dang gate closed.

Ann Edall-Robson relies on her heritage to keep her grounded. Reminders of her family’s roots mentor her to where she needs to go. Gifting her with excerpts of a lifestyle she sees slipping away. Snippets shyly materialize in Ann’s writing and photography. She is a lover of life and all things that make us smile. Edall-Robson shares moments others may never get to experience at HorsesWestDAKATAMA™ Country, and Ann Edall-Robson where you can also contact her. Books written by Ann Edall-Robson are available through her website, at Amazon, and various other online locations.

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  1. Rebecca Glaessner Author

    Great tip and analogy Ann! I frequently find myself wandering between websites, at a loss for how to find my way back, often forgetting there was a first webpage I still wanted to look at.

    I use the “open in new window” option for all links now to help readers keep my page open and find their way back in the end.

    We need to support and share each other’s work but always remember our own work is worth a deeper look too, and we need to ensure that option is kept available and made seamless.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      I couldn’t agree with you more, Rebecca. It is a great way to support each other without losing site of ourselves.

  2. Chel Owens

    Thanks, Ann! Moooo! ????

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      You are welcome, Chel.

  3. ellenbest24

    You opened a gate in my mind. Dad’s voice came from that tidied put away safe space. Obviously waiting for the right time to fill my thoughts prod my stash of Dad sayings, ones I used in my own children’s learning and tiny snippets of him live on in the mouths of my children and their children. I hadn’t linked them until you did for me. “Put the wood in the hole,” bellowed Dad as one of us left the room. Keeping the heat in when there is a fire lit was important to save fuel, keep us warm, it heated the water too as we had a back boiler. It was one of many in the same vein we learnt. My skills with tech are floppy to say the least, they need tightening, I shall make sure I shut the links properly from now on, now I see why pressing in a new window is like closing a gate. Thank you.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      You made me smile when I read “Put the wood in the hole”. The one I often heard was, “Shut the door, we don’t have the contract to heat the neighbourhood.” The words of the wise. Good luck on keeping your gates closed. Once you start the process, it will soon become second nature. You have your Dad to remind you.

  4. Doug Jacquier

    Any visit to the Australian countryside is not complete without spotting a home-made SHUT THE BLOODY GATE sign. 🙂

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      And so it should, Doug. I have a story about a rancher and a local butcher who went into cahoots and built a sign that was posted at a gate that was ALWAYS being left open. Needless to say it worked.

  5. Norah

    I agree, Ann. I always use the ‘open in a new window’ link, and I love your analogies in explaining it. Whenever I visit other sites, I always right click to open in a new window so I don’t forget where I’m coming from.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Thanks Nora. The right click – open in a new window is definitely the way to go if you are on a website you don’t trust to have built the option into the link when they added it to their post.

  6. joanne the geek

    Yes I always have links open to a new window as I prefer it that way when I’m browsing.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      The safest way to browse, Joanne.

    • Jules

      That’s what I do too… I copy and paste the Urls…

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        It’s a good habit to have, Jules.

  7. ceayr

    Thank you, Ann, for an excellent read and for the free download.
    I tried your 99-word challenge before, and I plan to have another go at it starting this week.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Thank you for stopping by.

      It’s also good to hear you will try the CRLC 99-word challenge again. It’s a great place to share your writing and get to know the other ‘ranchers’.

  8. Charli Mills

    What a great analogy, Ann! It’s an extra step to highlight a link, then select “open in a new window” but one I take every week compiling the CRLC Collection. Now I will think, “close the dang gate” when I create the links. As for the real gates, I remember having to kick the bottom wire higher on a tight gate to reset the top wire. How a swing-gate was so much easier! Gates are so ingrained in me to close I don’t even consider not shutting one. Out in the Nevada backcountry where most of the land is BLM (government grazing leases) trucks drive through fences over cattle guards. Which reminds me of the Michael Martin Murphy song that asks the question — if three people are in a truck which one is the real buckaroo? The answer is, the one in the middle because they don’t have to drive and they don’t have to mess with the gate!

    • Doug Jacquier

      Cattle grids are also a feature on many farms and stations (what we call ranches here in Australia) but they are far from universal. I remember us kids being permanent inbuilt gate openers and closers for Mum and Dad, especially when it was raining (occasionally) or stinking hot (often). The down side for Dad is we’d swing on the gate as it opened and closed, which would eventually loosen the bolts on the hinges and/or make the gate post start to lean, which then meant the gate wouldn’t shut properly without having to lift it into place, at which point we would plead lack of strength to complete the task, so Dad would have to get out anyway. 🙂

      • Charli Mills

        Doug, I like the term “grid” over “guard” because those outside the West in the US think a cattle guard is a person! Did you get to ride in the back of the truck? My cousins and I would sit on the tailgate, swinging our legs. Ann sparked memories with her closed gate analogy. Glad to hear one of yours!

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        It came as a shock to my being when I saw the a sign calling them Texas Gates. They have always been cattle guards. I laughed at this new name and wondered if Texans built all their gates to lay on the ground. Teenagers (me at the time) have a different perspective of how things outside their world should be, or not.
        Yes, lots of memories. Lots of stories.
        I am enjoying the sharing.

      • Doug Jacquier

        No, we had to sit on the floor of the tray with our backs to the cab. 🙂

      • Ann Edall-Robson

        You are bang on about those swing gates being a dream to open and close until they started to get worn down.
        The best seat in the rig was the middle.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Thanks for sharing your gate closing/swinging story. The gate you describe having to close…The Wire and Post Contraption…My experiences became a story by that title, and I included in my book Moon Rising: An Eclectic Collection of Works.

      Nevada’s BLM experiences the same issues we have across Canada in our forestry reserves, open range, and private property. Idiots who have no respect.

  9. Hugh W. Roberts

    Ann, I love your analogy about ensuring any links in your blog posts open up in a new window not to lose the reader.

    I’m so glad WordPress provides this option, although some bloggers are not aware of it. It’s frustrating when you click on a link, and the page opens up in the same window.

    As for social media, I agree with what you say. Adding new content is a must. But can I also ask Twitter users to ensure they update the pinned tweet on their account? As a thank you for retweeting one of my posts, I often return the thanks by retweeting their pinned tweet. However, a pinned tweet can only be retweeted once. So, unless it’s updated at least once every few weeks (by closing that gate you speak of), there’s no way of thanking you if you’ve had the same pinned tweet for the last year.

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Hugh there are so many little hacks to make SM life easier to deal with. Your suggestion for Twitter is a good one. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  10. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    This is a great tip Ann Thanks
    Laugh together with those you love

  11. Sherri Matthews

    Hi Anne, and thanks much for this tip. I do remember reading about it some time ago, but your succinct reminder could not be more timely for me. And what better analogy than keeping that dang gate closed…or else! My gradual forray back to blogging brings a sweep of updates. But wait… is that the distant rumble of hooves I hear? I’m off… see you later!

    • Ann Edall-Robson

      Thank you Sherri. I’m looking forward to reading your updates.

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