There are many equally important components that make up a functioning website. This article is to help familiarize you with the basics on your cat or dog breeding website.
THE DOMAIN NAME
First we have the domain name. The domain name is the address used so internet users can find your kennel or cattery. Most businesses try to match the name of their business to their domain name; i.e., we are Breeder Designs and my domain name is www.BreederDesigns.com. However, it is not always possible – because once an exact domain name is purchased by someone else, it is no longer available for anyone else to purchase. It is very much like real estate. Once an address is purchased, it is no longer on the market. There is a chance it can be purchased privately from the domain name owner as a premium domain name, but expect to pay from a few hundred to several thousand dollars for a premium domain name. But don’t stress is your domain name isn’t available. There’s no rule that is has to match your business name. As long as it is short and memorable, or includes an easy to spell and easy to remember keyword phrase, you will be fine. So if you are Smith’s Cattery from New York and SmithsCattery dot com isn’t available, you can use a variation such as SmithsNYCattery or SmithPersiansofNY, etc. Or, you can even use a general domain name for your breeding business, such as XLBullyDogs dot com for your XL Bully breeding business. Sometimes you have to be a little creative. But when you find the right one, you will feel it.
Content is an umbrella term used to describe a number of things such as, but not limited to: the images on your site, your text, your graphics, videos, logos, contracts, and other documents. So when you hear a web designer mention content, they mean all or some of these (depending on what you want on your site). Although content is displayed on your site via a content management system (CMS) such as WordPress or with HTML, it is actually being uploaded to a host and stored there. We will talk about the host a little later. Content is probably one of the most important parts of the website. Your content is the first impression of your kennel or cattery. So high resolution images, professional language (spelling, grammar, & punctuation), professionally built graphics, and high resolution video are important. Remember, website visitors are going to base their perceived quality of your puppies or kittens on the quality of your content. Again and again, consumer and marketing studies have proven over and over that people purchase more products with high quality images than those with lower quality images. You can even research your own habits when shopping online. More likely than not, you have the same behavior. Fortunately, most of the newer cell phones have high resolution photo and video capabilities. You can learn more about how to get the best photos here: How To Take The Best Photos Of Your Dog Or Cat
High resolution videos are great too – but skip the vertical cell phone videos. Try to get into the habit of shooting cell phone videos horizontally, or purchase a good DSLR camera with video capabilities. YouTube is a great source for camera tutorials by model and lens type! Additionally, you are going to want to upload your videos to YouTube or Vimeo – a direct upload onto your website will bog the site down, and cause speed/loading performance issues. Your videos can be easily embedded in your website, while still being hosted on YouTube or Vimeo.
A plug-in is a piece of software that adds new features or extends functionality on your site. Plugins create processes such as social media sharing, social media streaming, drag & drop design capabilities, contact forms to receive emails by website visitors, caching, booking & appointments, embedding documents, redirection, store fronts, pay buttons, and so much more. Plugins are extremely useful, but most are not plug and play. Each plugin may require a setup in order to work properly on the site. Setup of a plugin can range from quick and very easy to extremely complex and time consuming. But the good thing about plugins is, there is something out there for almost any function that you want on your Breeder web design. Some plugins are free, but some plugins require a subscription or require a one time purchase fee. While we try to save money for our customers, there is a chance that a specific plugin a breeder wants on their website will require a them to purchase or subscribe for use (this is in reference to plugins a breeder website wouldn’t normally have). Additionally, if a plugin requires a setup that is extremely time consuming and complex, we may add an additional fee. Luckily though, most plugins do not fall under that description. Additionally, some organizations have their own plugins, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Square. Some plugins may require developer access to your account in order to complete setup. Developer access does not allow for us to see or modify any financial information or transactions. When available, we do set up a sandbox (testing account) to complete setup of the plugins that have sandbox testing.
As mentioned briefly in the content section, the host is what stores your entire website files, including all of your content & plugins. The host also broadcasts your cat breeder website or dog breeder website onto the world wide web. Without a host, no one can see a website except the admin of that site when logged in. Read more about hosting here: WHAT IS HOSTING? Besides broadcasting your website, your host plays a key role in some SEO techniques and practices. It is also important to look at the reputation of your host. Some hosts have been blacklisted for spam and other frowned upon practices. If your site gets backlisted, you can lose almost all of your website traffic in Google. So you really want to stay away from cheap fly-by-night hosting services. We have a few we recommend on our Hosting page. However, if you have chosen our Platinum Package, we include annual hosting. If you have the Starter Package, we host you free for 2 months – however, we will move your site over to the host of your choice after those 60 days. We do all the techie things for you, and we can also recommend a host and hosting package with a third party hosting company if you need assistance.
The design of the site is super important. Things that some may not think can cause havoc for users & Google indexing, will. For example, illegible decorated fonts, images that aren’t optimized correctly or a layout that shifts can cause Google (Google bot) to deny indexing. Indexing is when a single page has been visited by Google, analyzed for content and meaning, and stored in the Google index. If a page is not indexed by Google, it will not be added to the search engine results when users search for kittens, puppies, or stud service. It is also important to mention, that the Google Algorithm (Google update) can and has also penalized websites for a number of things, including websites that do not have a responsive design; that is a design that is responsive all all devices (mobile, tablet, and desktop). This is usually due to old/outdated website builders and designs that use Flash (which is no longer supported and no longer works). Penalized sites or pages will be de-indexed from Google – meaning they will not show in the search results.
The design is also important for users. If a visitor is unable to easily navigate through your site or has to wait for media to load (because your design is not optimized), website visitors will bounce. Bounce is when a website visitor leaves your site without taking an action (such as clicking past your homepage). So it is important to have easy navigation and a good layout.