Why is a content management system better than a website builder for dog breeders?

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4 April 2018

Why is a content management system better than a website builder for dog breeders?

Breedpost is powered by Processwire, an open source content management system that is flexible and adaptable for developers, designers and content managers. So why is Processwire better than using a blogging tool or a drag-and-drop site builder for dog breeder websites?

Well, it’s not better, if you only want to blog. You could buy a Wordpress theme, install it on some Wordpress hosting and you’re away. There’s probably no better blogging tool.

Or you could use a free or paid Weebly, Wix or Squarespace plan and build your site using their drag-and-drop tools. But it’s hard to update a website built for a specific purpose, that’s not database driven. And then websites don’t get updated. It’s too hard! 

What do dog breeders need that site builders or blogging tools don’t have?

Sure, dog breeders need a blog. Dog breeders should blog! But they also need pedigrees, litters announcements, show results, critiques, rehoming pages and photo galleries.

And I mean photo galleries! Lots and lots of photos! Who doesn’t love dog and puppy photos. I’m an ex exhibitor and I love show photos but I also love casual and fun dog photos and of course, puppy photos.

A blog listing page on a Breedpost website template for dog breeders

Managing your pedigrees in the one place

Let’s start with pedigrees. I’ve been to hundreds of dog websites and this is the deal with pedigrees. They’re either

  • Scanned and displayed as images
  • PDF downloadable pedigrees
  • Poorly displayed text variations of pedigrees
  • Linked off-site to a pedigree database website

What’s wrong with these scenarios?

Pedigree images are normally scanned and hard to read. They also don’t scale well on mobile devices and don’t do anything for search engine optimisation because they’re images and not text. I like to copy and paste a dog’s name into a search engine to find out more about the dog and you can’t do that with an image.

Some of the text pedigrees look ok but I bet they’re a bitch to recreate for new dogs. Linking to other sites to view your pedigrees is not altogether wrong, but do you really want to send someone away from your site?

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So how does using a database driven pedigree system help your website?

A database is all about relationships and unique entities. So, a pedigree’s relational model is

  • child parent relationships
  • parent child relationships

A unique entity, that is - a dog, should only have its information stored in one place. If you make a change to that entity, that is - the dog, then that change is reflected everywhere. That could be a pedigree, a show result or a litter page.

Let’s use a pedigree that’s displayed on a dog’s web page, as an example.

Bob the dog receives a Companion Dog award at 8 years of age. Bob is a foundational dog in your breeding program and featured in many of your online pedigrees as a sire, grandsire and great grandsire. I’d like the CD achievement appended to his name on those pedigrees because Bob is a smart dog and Bob sires smart offspring.

Using a database driven system and a pedigree generator, all you need to do is login to edit Bob’s page and add the CD to the end of his pedigree name. That’s it. Every pedigree which includes Bob will automatically update and any show result published will also reflect the new title. BOOM! You don’t need to update all pedigrees that feature Bob or worse still, not at all, and therefore short change Bob and his new magnificence.

A pedigree example on a Breedpost website template

Litter announcements, litter pedigrees and litter status

So, you want to advertise a future litter announcement. Typically the dam is one of your dogs, so all you need to do is make her the dam for your spectacular upcoming litter. BAM! You’ve got half a litter pedigree

If you’re doing a total outcross you may need to create the other half of the pedigree. But if things are fairly close, once you start attaching sires and dams to dogs, the pedigree will normally generate in no time.

What about when the litter is born?

All you need to do is add a date of birth and change the litter status from future to current by clicking a button. What does that do? It automatically moves the litter from future litters to current litters in your litter section. EASY!

Similarly, change a current litter to a past litter and it’s automatically archived into the past litter section so your website visitors can trawl through all those old puppy photos.

Show results should not be text based and entered directly into a text editor

Show results are my favourite Breedpost feature. I feel sorry for the people trying add and attach show results to their dog pages or trying to create a show result section and updating it manually with text. This is would absolutely drive me to despair and I’m pretty sure I’d give up.

Breedpost’s result system also applies the same relational database model as the pedigree generator. So it goes like this

  • Clubs are parents of shows
  • Shows have judges (shows contain one or more judges)
  • Show results are children of shows (results contain one dog)

That’s it. It’s easy really.

Create a club.

Attached a show to the club.

Attached a judge or judges to a show. And you only ever need to create a judge once because they’re a unique entity too!

Then attach a results to a show.

So here it is

  • Club
    • Show 1
      • Result 1
      • Result 2
      • Result 3
    • Show 2
      • Result 1
      • Result 2
      • Result 3

Maybe it’s a bit confusing but the whole point is that the data is all there and available for searching and to be outputted anyway that's needed.

Let’s say you take 4 dogs to a show. When you’re done, (and yes you can do this on your mobile) add 4 results to that show. No recreating anything. You can publish the dog’s result, show photos, the judges and any critiques. These will always be attached to that show, the club, judges and of course the dog.

That’s great for web publishing but this is fantastic for your Breedpost admin area. You can now

  • Look up a judge and view which dogs they’ve judged and what awards they've given your dogs
  • Look up a dog and view all their awards
  • You can also decide whether or not to display the result on your website. We did this so you can keep a record of all your results in your admin area even though you may not wish to publish the result.

There’s more you can do with show results but I’ll leave it there. It’s all getting a bit too techy and boring.

How does a database driven content management system help with website promotion?

  • You’re more likely to update your website because it’s quick and easy
  • You gain credibility because your website’s content is accurate and up-to-date
  • Your content and design are completely separate which makes changing your design easy and you maintain aesthetic consistency and user-friendliness throughout your site

This is a just a quick overview about how a database driven system like Breedpost works. I have applied these principles in a corporate environment for many years and supported many different web content managers of varying capabilities on many websites.

In my experience content managers prefer to be self sufficient in making their own web updates and it does help tremendously if what they’re doing looks great and is easy to do.

Websites are much more likely to be kept up-to-date if content managers are happy. It should be easy! Not everyone is a programmer, designer or interface expert.

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Author: Janelle

Janelle is a Breedpost Founder, ex show dog exhibitor, Corgi owner and loves to build websites. She's a content management specialist, has a Master of Information Technology and Diploma in Web Development.