Newly updated Dire Wolf Project website is a howling success!By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT, July 26, 2021
The Dire Wolf Project website first went live in 2010 using a free website hosting program; not the best website design, but it functioned well enough to get our message out to the public. Since then, website design has improved dramatically, including radical changes to mobile website design. At the time, the Dire Wolf Project's website was not mobile friendly, which required mobile users to scroll in and out on their screen to view our content. It was especially difficult for mobile users because of the left-hand sidebar that meant the main content had to shrink down to accommodate.
What was worse, though, was that all of the other six affiliated websites were scattered around the internet using various other url names and nothing was connected.
Not having the money or the time to devote ourselves to aligning the various websites, they simply sat there without being noticed or used. The information was available, but no one had a clue how to find it.
Last year, I received a random cold call from a company based out of India named Ivan Infotech. They were able to combine four scattered websites into one using Wordpress, one of the world's leading website/blog hosting sites. We were thrilled to finally be working on a way to improve our online platform and the new site was shaping up and looking great.
All of us here at Dire Wolf Project new that it was beyond time to update the websites, but we did not know that doing so would send us down the rabbit hole of Wordpress tunnel hell. Wordpress is so huge with so many complex plugins that navigating the popular hosting site proved too much for our feeble website developer-wannabe minds.
Recently, we acquired the funds to hire a professional website developer from the United States. Just starting out in his own website developing company, Nelson Nation, Jesse Nelson overhauled our bogged down and bloated Wordpress website. He chose to use Wagtail, an open-source content management system (CMS) written in Python. Using completely new code written specifically for the Dire Wolf Project, Jesse was able to mimic the best features of the slow Wordpress website and scrap the rest. As a result, the new Dire Wolf Project website is clean, updated, mobile perfected, and very user friendly.
I have to admit, it was a little scary leaving the old website behind, but thanks to the Wayback Machine, we are able to capture all of the old content we may have missed in the transition.
After only one week in use, we are pleased to announce that the new Dire Wolf Project website has shown a huge leap in use with over 1,317 views and 384 new users. This is unprecedented for us here at the Dire Wolf Project and we hope that our small family-owned business can keep up with your voracious appetites for Dire Wolf Project content!
In the year ahead, we will work to improve the Dire Wolf Project website in the following ways:
- Integrating the pedigree database into the Dire Wolf Project website (another of the various other sites that were scattered all over the internet.)
- Adding a Gift Shop with a way to login and purchase brand new Dire Wolf Project merchandize!
- Ramping up the Dire Wolf Project email list with news, blog post reminders, fun prizes, and contests for everyone of you wanting to delve deeper into our world.
- Developing our very own Dire Wolf Project interactive groups platform as a way for all owners and enthusiasts to stay connected with one another.
We have a long way to go to incorporate all of these aspects, but we are dedicated to spending the time and money it takes to make the experience you have with the Dire Wolf Project a productive and enjoyable one.
Three cheers for Nelson Nation and Jesse's incredible kind and caring ability to listen to our needs and execute the best way forward for this great new large breed of companion dog!
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.