Website design couldn’t be more critical for dog breeders and dog trainers who are looking to sell their dogs and dog training services to a vast and eager audience online.
So, how can a dog breeder or trainer stand out from the competition online? Well, the answer to this question is easy for us to answer since we’ve developed countless websites over the years and have successfully designed both breeder and dog training sites that offer the following key ingredients to their success online we’ll share with you.
Content Management Systems (CMS)
The first thing you need to do is source a CMS system that will accommodate your needs in a website. There are dozens upon dozens of CMS systems available including “proprietary” systems built specifically for dog breeders and trainers, but be careful with agencies offering a “one-stop-shop” for all of your website design and digital marketing needs because once they have their hooks in you, it’s darn near impossible to get them out.
If you want to take complete ownership of your business and its digital assets such as the site itself, we STRONGLY urge you to consider going with the WordPress CMS platform. Not online is WordPress the most intuitive CMS system available today, but it’s also easy for non-techie people to create, publish and make basic changes to the site without having to rely on a digital marketing or website development partner to do it for you…at an incremental cost.
What’s more? WordPress is, without question, the most search engine friendly CMS out there, so you can rest assured your site and its pages will get noticed by the search engines and discoverable by your target audience.
Responsive Website Design
In today’s world, people are always on the go and essentially glued to their mobile devices, it’s important that any website being built must be a “responsive” website that will automatically adjust the content of site pages to fit the screen size of whatever device is pulling it up. Not only will this ensure your content is viewable and consumable, but it also gives your company a better brand appeal which can often lead to conversions such as inbound phone calls, puppy inquiry form submissions, directions to your training facility, etc.
Ease of Use (UX/User Experience)
Nothing turns people off faster than clicking through to a site seeking something and immediately forced to go into hunt mode to find it. Not only will this cause high bounce rates from first time visitors to your site but it could be both your first and last impression for them.
When developing a site, always keep the user experience top-of-mind and make navigating your site easy and intuitive.
Here’s an example of one of dog training clients who had us redesign their site from an outdated look to a more professional layout and design with simple navigation that helps reduce bounce rates while enhancing user experience and conversion potential:
As you can see above, The Dog Wizard’s website does a masterful job of quickly providing simple navigation options to users coming to their homepage so they can continue through the conversion funnel path for things such as information about behavioral problems, “About” The Dog Wizard, and strategically placed “Contact” button and phone number.
Images and Videos
It’s amazing how people go ga-ga over images of puppies and dogs in general. And when people are looking to adopt a puppy or find a quality dog trainer, your site must utilize clean, professional-grade images and videos to help visitors to your site see exactly what puppies are available and in the case of dog trainers, videos showcasing your company’s capabilities in terms of training techniques and courses offered. “About Us/Our Story” images and videos are also important too since people only want to buy from ethical dog breeders and work with reputable dog trainers.
Example of “Available Puppies” for sale page:
Example “About Us”:
Testimonials and Reviews
People are always wary of whether or not they’re going to be working with a puppy mill or a legitimate and ethical dog breeder or trainer, so it’s important to have reviews and testimonials on your site. By including testimonials on your site, you’ll be giving visitors the ability to see what others have experienced working with your company which can help ease some of the apprehension they may have.
Showcasing reviews and testimonials on your site isn’t enough, however. People looking to buy a puppy or hire a dog trainer are NOT impulse buyers in most cases. They will take the time to look at reviews online through sources such as Google, Facebook, BBB, ComplaintsBoard.com, and Yelp to source unbiased reviews of your organization, so keep tabs on your overall reputation online.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
We can’t stress enough the importance of having a thorough FAQ section on your site. We’ve heard countless times from breeders and trainers alike about the sheer volume of questions they get from prospective adoptive parents and potential training clients. Our response has, and always will be, to have a comprehensive FAQ section on the site that they can point people to which should address a solid majority of typical questions asked over the phone or through email correspondence. We also recommend having a downloadable PDF version of their FAQ section for form submission confirmation pages or to use in the initial stages of emailing prospective clients. Trust us when we say having a FAQ will save you time and money.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to selling your available puppies and/or training services. The only way you can do that is to turn your site into a conversion machine.
For dog breeders and trainers, transparency is the key here whether it be available puppies with images and descriptions, pricing, or additional details you know prospective clients are looking for while perusing your website. Ultimately, you need to understand what conversion points matter most and from there, you can develop your website’s layout and content to efficiently funnel prospects through the digital marketing funnel.
Typically, we see breeders relying more on inbound form submission leads and email opt-in acquisitions while dog trainers rely more on form submissions and inbound phone calls. The main point here is to build your site with conversion-focused layout, language, and strategically placed Calls-to-Action buttons top-of-mind during the website design, not after.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
If you plan on building a website, please make sure you include best practices SEO during the design/redesign phase of building your online presence.
All too often, we see breeders and trainers opting into “templates” and “proprietary” CMS platforms that don’t offer the ability to enhance site pages to accommodate search engine optimization code changes and tweaks. Fortunately, CMS platforms such as WordPress offer plugins and the ability to make code changes specifically for SEO which we think is fantastic.
The main areas you should be focused on for SEO both during and after website design include the following:
- Exhaustive Keyword Research
- Search Engine Friendly CMS and Website Design
- Page Speed (think mobile)
- Page Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- H1’s & H2’s
- Unique Content
- Internal Page Linking via Anchor Text
- Alt Tags (image descriptions)
- Keyword-Rich Navigation & Layout
- Backlink Acquisition
- Content Marketing/Blogging
- Setup & Monitoring of Google Analytics & Google Search Console
Website design doesn’t have to be a painful experience. In fact, it should be one of the more pleasurable experiences your company should have since you’re setting the stage for your business to take things to the next level in terms of brand exposure and bottom-line sales.
If you find that you simply don’t have the time to build a site and just want to focus on your business, just give us a call for a free, no-obligation consultation and let’s see if there’s a fit.