So, you’ve decided to get started creating your website! Congratulations!
The first thing you need to do (regardless of who’s designing your site) is to sign up for a hosting account and register your domain name. Usually when you sign up with a host, you can knock out both processes in one sitting.
For most business websites I recommend aSmallOrange.com – their exceptionally low-priced “Tiny” shared hosting package is usually sufficient for a basic WordPress website. If space gets tight, you can always upgrade to the “Small” package which has a lot more space for only $15 more per year. The annual fees for Tiny are $35.00 plus $14.55 per domain. I also usually recommend purchasing the ID protection for each domain, which adds an extra $7.00 per domain onto the annual cost. Why is ID Protection important?
Feel free to head on over to aSmallOrange.com yourself, or you can let me do it for you. Regardless, I’ll need your login information in order to begin work on your site.
Not sure what domain name you want?
At some point you’ll need to do some research into what domain name you want to buy. You can use aSmallOrange.com or any domain purchasing website (like GoDaddy or NameCheap) to find out whether the domains you’re considering are even available. You may need to include the city or state name if your business name is not very unique, or switch to an alternate ending, like .net or .org. For simplicity and memorability’s sake, I usually don’t recommend including hyphens or underscores in your domain name. (Let me know if you want some help brainstorming domain name ideas.)
Establishing a RescueGroups.org account is one of the first things I recommend when setting up a website for your rescue. It’s simply the best way (that I’ve found) to integrate an easy-to-use pet list into your website, Facebook page, and (with a little tweeking) your Petfinder account. And best of all, it’s free! (Don’t have a Petfinder account yet?)
Many people rely on Petfinder to do this, but there are some drawbacks– the first of which is that Petfinder is purposefully not very customizable. No matter what you do there will always be a Petfinder logo on your site. The second is that the moment someone clicks on a pet on your Petfinder list, they’ve immediately left your website. Gone. It takes attention away from your animals and it’s bad for SEO.
That said, here are the requirements for getting a RescueGroups.org account (They may look familiar if you’ve already set up an account with Petfinder, because they’re the same):
- A copy of your ADOPTION CONTRACT (not the application)
- A letter of reference signed by your primary veterinarian (on his/her letterhead) confirming that he/she provides medical care for the pets in your rescue and adoption program
Once you have these, head on over to their signup form and get started! 🙂
Note: If you want me to help out with your site, I will need access to your RescueGroups.org account.