Its obvious from most dog breeder websites I look at that most breeders looking to build a kennel website need help…
The options are confusing and there are many traps for the unwary: such as being taken in by flashy gimmicks like online pedigrees and photo galleries, but totally missing the important stuff like will it actually get found by Google and seen by the right people?
Most dog breeders are not computer savvy, so all too often end up choosing easy and cheap options like free drag-and-drop website builders. At least its simple!
Trouble with easy and cheap is that while they look pretty, they rarely perform well and tend to rank poorly on Google search.
What is the point of a dog breeder website that just sits there, even if it does look pretty?
So today we’ll have a closer look at your options for your kennel website, with the pros and cons of each.
Why do you want a dog breeder website for your kennel?
Keep the goal of your dog breeder website in mind…
Ask yourself why you are building a website for your kennel in the first place? What do you hope to get out of it?
I suggest that unless your presence online is being seen by others, then it is a waste of time, effort and money. So let’s agree right now that the end goal of creating websites for dog breeders is to get noticed. Out of getting noticed all other benefits flow.
Benefits of a strong kennel website:
- Builds your reputation as a breeder
- Showcases your expertise and knowledge
- Generates inquiries without having to pay for them
- Captures the attention of buyers at the high end of the market
- Helps the right customers find your niche services [e.g. trained puppies, stud services, grooming, boarding etc]
Discerning puppy buyers typically do loads of online research before they buy. These buyers are happy to wait for the right puppy and pay top dollar it. They are actively seeking a breeder with a good reputation online.
Having a website that ranks well on search results allows discerning puppy buyers to find you in all the noise online.
So creating a kennel website that actually turns up in online search results is essential to getting top price and great owners for your puppies.
Dog breeder website options
For most of us, the thought of building a dog breeding website is daunting. Where do you start?
To help you out I have done a review of dog breeder website options in the table below, so you can compare your kennel website options at a glance.
The thing to take particular notice of are the features (highlighted in yellow) that actually help your breeder website get to the top of Google search results.
These kennel website functions are essential to getting noticed online:
- Mobile friendly
- Fast loading
- SEO friendly
- Secure SSL
Google is an information engine. Its purpose is to serve up great content to your buyers when they are searching online. Google is all about the user experience and will penalize websites that don’t look great on mobile phones and ipads (so your site must be mobile friendly).
They will also penalize dog breeder sites that are slow to load. This is a common problem on dog breeder websites because they usually have a lot of big images on their pages.
They will also downgrade sites that are deemed unsafe because they don’t have a security token (How do you tell if a site is secure? The URL or web address of secure sites start with https instead of http).
And if the SEO (search engine optimization) is poor, Google won’t be able to see your site is an appropriate match to the search activity of your buyers. So it won’t appear in the search results when puppy buyers are looking for a puppy like yours.
There’s a bit more to good SEO, but one easy way to see if a website has got a handle on it is to check their “available litters” page. All too often breeders fail to realize that this very important page should be optimized for the search term [MY BREED]-puppies, because that is what buyers will put into Google when they are looking for a puppy to buy. No-one just types into the search bar “available litters”, do they?
A review of websites for dog breeders
I’ve gone through all the most popular options out there to make dog breeder websites and put together this review of dog breeder website options.
Drag-and-drop website builders for breeders
It’s understandable that drag and drop website builders are popular with breeders. After all, you can set up a great looking site in just a few minutes!
Here are some popular ones:
- Go Daddy
The trouble is, they rarely get you to the top of Google, especially the free and cheap packages. You can upgrade to higher plans to improve their performance, but even then, they leave a lot to be desired. Why? Because even on the paid plans, the SEO fails to tick all the boxes to please Google.
Godaddy’s website builder for example, auto-generates your page URL (web address). And if you change the title of your page it changes the URL. This is terrible for SEO because Google will see it as a brand new page and you will lose any online momentum you build up with it previously.
Some drag-and-drop website builder dog-breeder sites do manage to get near the top of the search results… if the breeder has put lots of information pages or posts on it. But this is simply because the competition from other breeder websites is so weak! Most breeders just have cute photos on their websites which on it’s own will never get them anywhere on Google.
As more dog breeders get savvy about building great kennel websites, those with mediocre ones will lose their positions at the top of the search results. The good news is, it’s pretty easy to beat your competition if you know what you’re doing.
“Easy Builder” dog breeder websites
Then there are semi-drag-n-drop websites made especially for dog breeders. These have a simple user interface that makes it easy for people with little website building experience to create and look after their site. They often also have features that appeal to many breeders such as logo design services, online pedigrees, ability to take payments online, buyer testimonial pages or photo galleries.
And of course they can look pretty 😊.
But again, the website content usually leaves a lot to be desired!
Sadly, unless you learn to get a handle on it your website will languish as a forgotten byway with few if any visiting traffic.
Because Google is an information engine. Not a “pretty photos of puppies” engine.
You need to learn what information your best buyers want to know about your breed and provide it in a way that Google respects.
Done-for-you dog breeder websites
The only done-for-you kennel website services I could find that truly ticked all the boxes was the service provided by dogdidit.com. However, better get out your wallet as you’d be looking at $2400 setup plus $268 a month subscription to have a site with a good chance of performing well on Google. And if you want to add photo gallery, online pedigrees, and the ability to take online payments, these each add $100 to the setup cost. Any help you need from there is billed at $75 an hour. The cost of this service is pretty standard for website development companies. And it can be a great set-up option if you have more money than time to spare. But creating the content that attracts the right owners will still be up to you.
DIY kennel website
Then there’s the DIY option. The downside of DIY is that you will need to learn new skills. The stuff you have to learn is actually not that difficult. But without some expert guidance you may waste a lot of time (and maybe money) trying to figure it out.
The upside is that it is inexpensive to run your website and easy to add just about any function you can think of to it – at the click of a button. Here I’m talking online pedigrees, online store, photo gallery, testimonials, online chat function, unlimited email addresses, show blog and more, and most of them are totally free.
WordPress is the tool of choice here. The only mandatory cost is hosting which – starting at around $2.95 a month – is pretty cheap!
To make it work you have to learn:
- Choose the right host so you get SSL site security thrown in.
- How to choose a good domain name.
- What plugins you should put on your site to get good SEO.
- The basics of creating a page in WordPress.
- What questions your buyers are asking online.
- How to build optimized content answering those questions.
If this option for creating kennel website that actually works appeals to you, you should watch the free dog breeder website webinar here.