#05 – Why You Need a Website

by | Jun 24, 2021 | Business Management, People Management

#1 – It looks professional and it isn’t busy and will allow you to create a better first impression

Have you noticed how the world is turning into a “gig economy”? There are tons of new ways to make money part time doing all sorts of things with businesses like AirBnB, Uber, DoorDash, and Rover. Yet with these services you don’t usually expect to use the same service provider twice. Very few people ever stay twice at the same AirBnB, most people just aren’t traveling to the same places every year. You certainly don’t expect to get the same Uber driver every time you need a ride, and what are the odds that you have the same delivery guy?

It’s common place to get set up with a “gig” like this and that becomes your whole business. In a lot of industries it really works, for a few years I used to rent a condo I owned through AirBnB. It was always booked and it was quite fun meeting all the people. The rating system really created a layer of security for my space, as people wanted to be on their best behavior to get 5 stars. Yet, I just don’t think using middle-man businesses like Next Day Pets or AKC Marketplace for your dog marketing will be best as your long-term plan. In the beginning these broker/advertising sites can help so you don’t have puppies that are with you past the 8 weeks, but once you have a few litters and get your website out there, they shouldn’t be needed.

One of the biggest selling points for people buying a dog from a breeder is that they have YOU, the breeder, to support them throughout the life of the dog, especially the puppy phase. When you get people on your website you get to nurture them and build rapport with them in a way that you can’t do off a broker site. They will buy from you not just because you have great dogs, but because they like you, and they want to work with you.

It’s through your website that you can create a great first impression, you can highlight the strengths of your breeding program, and you get to show a little personality and that will naturally attract people who click with you, while also pushing away people who don’t click with you—now let’s be honest, that is what we do around here, be honest, right? To be honest it seems scary to push some people away with your personality, but let me tell you, it is something you want. If you’re doing this honestly, you’re going to be available to these people for the life of the dog, that’s a good 12-15 years for most of you, do you want to deal with people who don’t click with your personality? I don’t, in the beginning, when I didn’t have this all dialed in, I had to deal with a lot of people I didn’t click with and it was exhausting.

You want to attract those people who think of dogs like you do. See, I live on a farm, I’ve had livestock, if dog gets a little scuff from running through our desert terrain, I don’t worry about, I don’t walk around with triple antibiotic cream in a holster. Some of my first buyers treated the dogs they got from me like human infants, who needed to be cleaned and bathed daily, every minor scratch was to be fussed over, and the dog could only have the very nicest of dog bed, even if they consisted chewed through them on the first night. I didn’t jive well with these buyers, they meant well, but because I treated my dogs like dogs they felt that I wasn’t on the same page as them. In all honestly, we weren’t on the same page at all. Our relationship from buyer to breeder suffered because we had different theories of ownership. All my knowledge and support was lost on them because we didn’t have the quality trust like I have with my buyers now.

Before we get any further, I created a cheatsheet for you with the 5 Pages Every Breeder Website Needs and the items that should be on that page. If you already have your website built, use it as a checklist to make sure you have everything. If you haven’t built your website yet, well, you’re in for a treat, this cheat sheet will make it fast and easy to get the content of your website created and published.

Personally, I use WordPress with the Divi Theme, the Theme is actually a drag-and-drop builder and oh man, does it make my life so much easier. You can duplicate pages, which is especially helpful when designing a page for each one of your breeding dogs. Check out Divi.

#2 – You own it—no one can take it away from you.

In a world where Facebook and YouTube listen to what you’re saying and they send you advertisements, posts, and videos that they choose, it is nice to have your own piece of real estate that isn’t subject to the chaos.

It is also a little scary to think that some movement like #adoptdontshop might influence these platforms to remove your breeder page. When I first started breeding, Facebook was really easy to set up and get people to follow your breeding program, while I still think it is really helpful to have a Facebook page where you can post new litters coming up and dogs for sale, Facebook has made it a little complicated. It is against their “terms and conditions” to sell dogs on Facebook.

It was quite funny, I once tried to post a puppy I had for sale and it was my new breed, so I don’t have as much of a reputation with them, so I posted the blurb about the pup and then I posted his price at the bottom. I used the same post on Instagram and synced it with my Facebook Page. It never posted to the Facebook Page, it was automatically deleted by the Facebook Algorithm.

Now you know from Episode 4 how I feel about the world being confused about dogs and honest breeders, how we all want dogs—healthy, well-adjusted dogs—but some people seem to be confused about where these dogs come from. Needless to say, it’s too much of a risk to have a social media site be your “hub” of information for your breeding program. It is so much better to use your social media to “find people and flag them down” and then send them to your website.

Companies that host websites, like bluehost, don’t get the sort of policing that social media companies do, the hosting companies take a much more open approach to business, which is good for breeders.

Want to Get the 5 Pages Every Breeder Website Needs Cheatsheet?

#3 – It is a place for people to check you out before contacting you.

When I first started breeding, I didn’t really have much of a website, in fact, I had built a website on Weebly and it was mostly for my Nubian Diary Goats. I had a few pages designed for the dogs: one with my breeding dogs and another with my puppies. It didn’t have much information, it basically just listed price and availability.

When this is all your website has on it, it isn’t very helpful. You still have to discuss all sorts of information with each person who calls.

While it is helpful to discuss the timing of litters and what you have coming up or puppies you have for sale, your website will serve you much better if you set it up to help potential buyers choose—or not—your kennel and what you have to offer.

In an ideal situation, buyers will use your website to learn all about you, what you breed for, what your kennel offers, why they should pick you, and what makes you different. At the end of browsing your website they will have a fairly good idea if they want one of your dogs or not. If they don’t align with what you have to offer, they won’t contact you and waste your time. The best thing is when these buyers finish reading through your website and it leaves them salivating for one of your pups.

The most beautiful thing is when you have a dog buyer contact you and start the conversation with “I’ve read everything on your website and I want to get a puppy from you.” Those are my favorite buyers, not only do they do their research, but they are sold on my dogs and my program and I know that we will have a great workin relationship between breeder and owner.

When you have all this information on your website it saves you A LOT of time. You can send people to your website for information and they can read a well-written—and edited—page on your website and that’ll allow them to get the best information about you, without you having to take the time to explain all these things over and over again.

Also, and I’m embarrassed to say this, but sometimes you just aren’t in the mood to sell dogs. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love selling dogs, I enjoy discussing my program with people, learning about their desires for the dog and their lifestyle, convincing them that my kennel is a better fit for them when it is…however, sometimes I am not in the mood to discuss all the ins and outs of my program, especially when someone contacts me late at night on social media and wants a lot of answers and you can just tell that they are going to be a little needy. This is where the website can be so helpful: you direct them to the website where all their questions and more can be answered. This way they don’t catch you in a mood where you’re tired, or too busy to give a quality answer, or sometimes, dare I say rude? I’ve never had that happen…oh wait, oops.

It’s also good because the buyers that ask a lot of questions can be a total pain in the beginning, however they often turn out to be the best dog owners because they really care and want to do right by the pup they got from you.

#4 – It is place to funnel all your social media and calls

If you’ve been breeding for a while, chances are you’ve done a bit of juggling with the avenues in which buyers contact you. It is exhausting trying to discuss your pups with people in Instagram Direct Message, Comments, Facebook Messages, Emails, Text Messages, and Phone Calls—and super hard to go back and reference all these locations.

A website is the best place to focus all this communication. Instead of trying to discuss your whole kennel program with each buyer, direct them to your website. If you have a specific page that will perfectly address all their questions, then send them the direct link. If you feel that is impersonal, you can always add a touch of personality and communication by saying that everything is much easier to understand on the website, or that you’re super slow at texting, or that you’re right in the middle of helping your children with something, but that they can find that information on the website and then to call you back or message you if they have more questions.

You can also tell them in your social media to go to these pages. For example, my link on Instagram and my call to action on Facebook send them to my puppy page, where they can read all about my puppies.

Using a few techniques, you can funnel all your social media and phone calls into one place where it no longer feels like a juggling act.

Once they are sold on your kennel, send them to a puppy application form, a contact form, or whatever you design that helps you get the information that you need from them.

When you have all the communication in one place it’ll be much easier to keep track of everything, your buyers, what they want, and if they’ve placed a deposit with you. You’ll be grateful a few months later when you are helping them select a puppy and you’ll be able to reference exactly what they want.

This has been a lifesaver for me because I work with new buyers every day and many pups leave my kennel each year, while I remember most people, sometimes it is difficult to remember the specifics of each family, who had the kid with ADHD? Who had the beagle they needed a companion for? etc.

Well there you have it, all the reasons you need a website. How is your website working for you? Could it use a little improvement?


Show Notes

Referenced Links

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Hey! I’m Julie Swan! I’m here to help you build a breeding business that you love, one that produces amazing dogs, places them in wonderful homes, gives you the life you want, also pays the bills!