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What You Need to Know About Having Your Own Web Site

Vera Kalbol, Cat Rescue Canada

Including What Not To Do

Even the smallest rescue needs a Web site these days. A site will reach more people than you could ever hope to reach otherwise. It is the simplest way to let the world know about the work you’re doing, what you stand for, and most important, what pets you have available for adoption. It can be and, for your purposes, it should be a very inexpensive tool.

If you don’t know how to make a Web site, you have two choices — you can learn, or you can turn the task over to someone else.

I suggest turning the task over. Putting up a good site requires a fair bit of knowledge and chances are, you’re too busy saving animals to learn. Good for you — the animals need you and Lord knows, the world doesn’t really need another Web expert. (Everybody is an expert…)

[Editor’s note: Free Web Hosting available to any Petfinder member who
is familiar with FTP and HTML or willing to learn them on their own.
Click here to learn more.

When you turn the task over you need to do it with your eyes open. There are potential outcomes that will cause you endless annoyance if you bury your head in the sand.

Having a Web site may sound like a lot of work and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t. Your site can be as much or as little work as you see fit. Whatever you choose to do, it IS worth it. Remember that you don’t have to be on technologies bleeding edge and you should follow the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid). Don’t feel that you have to compete with big biz and have an awesome site. What you DO need is a site that is somewhat attractive, clean, easy to read, reasonably well written and spelled correctly. Assume that your visitors are intelligent individuals and create the site with them in mind. Give them something they will find interesting, and they will return.

A five-part series follows that will give you a good idea of what you need to know, and a lot of food for thought. The first article, Part 1, is an experience that I had as a volunteer Webmaster for a rescue group. It shows you how bad things can get if your eyes aren’t open. Part 2 begins to show you how to keep your eyes open, and the last three parts give ideas and opinions on how to sort through all the ideas and opinions that you end up with.

Part I: Learn From Others Mistakes
Part II: You Need To Know The Basics
Part III: Get A Webmaster And Plan Your Site
Part IV: What To Do, And What Not To Do
Part V: Other Things You Need To Do

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