Doglover 101 asks: You’ve given me great advice and inspired me to help others with their problems. Surprisingly, they think I’m good at it! My teacher also thinks I’m a pretty good author (So good she said I was the best author in the class). So um… I was thinking that maybe… Maybe I could have a website to give advice like you? But I’d be a human. So if I was ready enough maybe you could give me some tips to help me give advice to people all around the world. But only if you think it would be a good idea – and if running the type of website that you have (e.g. categories, banner art, links etc.) is free. What do you think?
Hi Doglover101 –
One great thing about what I do with this site is that there’s no sense of competition. People come to this site because they like what I say. If they don’t like my point of view, they go to other sites. And I’m not here to say my ideas are better or worse than the ones on those other sites – they’re just mine. So I have no problem with you starting a site too. But your concerns are correct – it’s quite a bit of work.
To begin with, creating any website takes some work and some money. I have been very lucky to have two incredible designers to help me create mine – one who did it for the first year or so (while it was being built), and then another who’s done it ever since. And that last one, Sherice, brought in the amazing Martin, the artist who has made all those gorgeous pictures you see on the different pages. And yes, while their prices were extremely reasonable, I did have to pay them for the work (well, actually, Handsome paid them – we pups don’t have a lot of ways to make money for ourselves).
Then I spent a lot of time getting questions from my friends and Handsome’s, so that we’d have some material on the site when it opened. And those took a lot of time to answer, of course.
Then, the biggest issue became finding ways to get people to see the website. I had to get Handsome to pop for some search engine optimization (big words meaning that when people look for information by doing an internet search, AskShirelle will pop up on their screen).
But that was all. Compared to getting a magazine or book out, this was pretty easy and not too expensive. But it was still a big investment of time for me. And I have lots more time on my hands than a student does.
So here’s my thought, Doglover101 – what if you start smaller, and become the adviser in your school newspaper? Or if your school has a website, all the better, you could do it there. People could use names other than their real ones (like the Pack Names we use here) so that they could maintain secrecy, but they could ask about the world you know – questions about studying, upcoming dances, things that get people in trouble, etc. And you could give them the best advice you’ve got, and even help them out by doing research around the school. And you can always add other advice, like recommending new movies or music.
Then, after that gets going, if you still want to put yourself out there and make a website, you’ll already have a lot of material written to put on when it starts! And believe me, that helps!
And I have one other very strong suggestion – which is that, if you do create a site, you make sure to let me know about it! I’ll be so proud of you, and I’ll gladly give you a plug in the Pawprint newsletter!
Best of luck, however you do it!