NEW Dire Wolf Project Website!By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT, July 7, 2021
The first Dire Wolf Project website was old and outdated. That was quite evident. No one ever went there and truthfully it only housed a handful of quick knowledge about the Dire Wolf Project. After creating it one summer on a free website builder, I pretty much just left it sit there for years. I told myself that I was too busy with the DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito website and all the breeder stuff to really mess with it. So, there it sat, getting ever more outdated and old.
Not only that, but Lois and I had created around five separate websites over the years, but finding them was very difficult for people inquiring about our work. We had to constantly share them out on social media for the diverse sites to get any traffic at all.
But, as I listened to the calm and self-assured speaker on the other end of the phone last year, I knew deep down that it was time to make a change. The Dire Wolf Project was not seen as authoritative and mostly because of the image it presented to the public, or lack thereof. That was one of the main reasons I wrote the Dire Wolf Project book in 2019. I wanted to share with the world the vast array of research and knowledge that goes into breeding DireWolf Dogs. So, as the solicitor continued to share about what their website rebuild pricing would be and what they could accomplish for us, my mind swelled with the possibilities that a newly updated Dire Wolf Project site would be able to provide.
The solicitor listened in amazement as I described not only rebuilding one website, but combining all of our five separate websites into one comprehensive Dire Wolf Project site. We agreed on a price and terms and I was whisked over to a closing salesmen as we finalized the process. The new website rebuild was suddenly a reality within reach when it wasn't even a blip in my mind before the phone rang.
Over the next six months, the website development team from India, Ivan Infotech, got to work designing the new site. It looked fantastic! The colors and structure were completely overhauled to make room for the mobile friendly version that would be flexible enough to hold up for years to come. I couldn't have been happier.
When everything was completed and the site went live, I felt like I was on cloud 9. What a vast impressive improvement over the old site that had been thrown together by my rudimentary website design knowledge. This new one, however, was build on the Wordpress platform with an entire arsenal of add-ons with which to work. The future looked bright... or so I thought.
After sitting with the new site for a few months trying to learn the mountain of information that Wordpress can provide, I became completely overwhelmed by the daunting feel of it all. My head ached each time I opened up the admin section of the site as I struggled to update pages, add blog posts, include relevant news articles, and add photos and information to the new shop feature. I played around with different add-ons, but the more time I spent working on it, the more confused and frustrated I became.
So many websites and blogs use Wordpress, so I figured my tiny dinosaur-sized brain was the cause of all the chaos and confusion I felt. It wasn't until I spoke with a website developer, Nelson Nation Web Design, from our American Alsatian Owners group that I found out there were so many coding errors and excessive structure on the backend causing the site to seriously lag when anyone opened a page.
After an initial feeling of grief about the first overhaul of the website and my inability to do anything further with it through Wordpress, I succumbed to the inevitable conclusion that the site had to again be redone... this time with full backend responsibility and transparency.
I decided to go with Mr. Nelson's recommendation of moving the site on the Wagtail platform and from there he set up the structure of the site's backend, starting completely from scratch with the code, instead of using the bloated code from Wordpress and adding more code on top of it. With the site now secured for safety and opening much faster than ever, even with large pixelated pictures to show off our dogs, the site began to take shape once again.
Now, the Dire Wolf Project website is back and better than ever!
We have future plans to add a store section, our very own social media platform, and a comprehensive pedigree database allowing us to move forward in our goals from here. I hope we can bring it all together by the end of this year for everyone who has been excited about Dire Wolf Project merchandize. I can't wait to write another post when the store is up and running!
Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Alsatian Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Alsatian dogs.