How To Make A Dog Walking Business Website: Step-By-Step
Our ultimate step-by-step, non-techie guide to building your pet business website. Create your own amazing website that'll start getting you dog walking clients!
Do you want to build your own successful dog walking business website? We know that building your own dog walking website can be a daunting thought, even more so when you haven’t built a website before. Well, you’re not on your own.
Having helped hundreds of local businesses for over a decade to build and grow their business websites, I thought it would be a good idea to write an easy to follow, step by step guide to show you how you can build your own dog walking business website without being techie or geeky! Together, we will be building this website – not bad, eh?!
Essentials to start a dog walking business website
To start your pet business website (or any sort of website) there are two essential things you need to get your website live on the web, they are:
- Domain Name
- Web Hosting Account
Whilst both are necessary, they don’t have to be expensive. There’s a discount link a little further down the page, where I show you how to choose your web hosting for a very nice 60% off.
What will this step by step guide cover?
Ready? Let’s Roll.
One of the biggest mistakes any pet business can make when first starting out to build a website themselves is choosing the wrong platform to build their website on.
65% of pet carers who got in touch with us over the last twelve months wanting help with their website to make it ‘look better’ and ‘do better in Google’ had, at that time, built their website on a different platform to WordPress (mainly Wix.com)
When we asked why they had chosen Wix and not WordPress, the most popular answers were that:
- WordPress looked a bit ‘techie’ and difficult to use.
- A feeling of uncertainty about buying hosting and a domain.
I can promise you, neither of these are true. As you will see!
There are two different versions of WordPress – WordPress.com and WordPress.org. We’ll be using WordPress.org because it has no limitations on what you can do.
You can customise your dog walking business website so it matches your branding perfectly. It’s free, you can add plugins (more on them later!) and you can even make some extra money just from your website.
If you are interested, you can read about the differences between WordPress.org and WordPress.com Here
Getting a Hosting Plan and a Domain Name
Every website needs a domain name and web hosting. Your domain name is how people find you online. It’s your website’s address on the internet, i.e. petbusinesshub.com or facebook.com. Your web hosting plan is where your website will live on the internet.
Think of it like this:
Web hosting is a bit of land.
On that bit of land there are houses.
Without land, the houses have nothing to sit on.
A domain name is a house.
That house has a unique address.
Without a house and address, there is nothing to visit.
You need a domain name and web hosting or you will be walking the streets aimlessly with nowhere to go!
How Much Does Web Hosting and a Domain Name Cost?
Web hosting usually costs around £6.95 per month.
A domain name costs between £10 – £15 per year, depending on if you want a (.co.uk) or (.com) domain.
These prices are definitely affordable to a startup dog walking business. Even better though, SiteGround Hosting makes it even more affordable with a hefty 60% discount on their hosting plans.
SiteGround is the only Hosting provider I would recommend. There are many hosting providers but none of them match what SiteGround offers, not just in terms of price but in the service they provide as well. I’ve been personally using SiteGround since 2007 (over 10 years definitely says something!)
SiteGround is recommended by WordPress as a Hosting Provider to use, which is a no mean feat considering that there are hundreds if not thousands of Hosting Providers to choose from.
At PetBusinessHub.com we strongly believe in being up front and honest. If you purchase a hosting plan at SiteGround using our link we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. In fact, you get a 60% discount on your Hosting instead!
We only ever recommend products and services that we use ourselves and believe would be beneficial to dog walking and pet care businesses as well.
Purchasing Your Hosting Plan and Domain Name (In 4 Simple Steps)
STEP 2. Choose your Hosting Plan. I recommend the StartUp plan, it will give you everything you need to start your dog walking service website. You can always upgrade your hosting plan at anytime.
STEP 3. Choose your Domain Name. Ideally, you want your domain name to be the same as your pet care business name. I recommend choosing a [.com] or the country extension that your dog walking business operates in i.e. [.co.uk], [.ca] etc.
STEP 4. Lastly, create your account, fill in your name, address and payment information. Then, double check your purchase information (StartUp Plan, Data Center will be automatically selected to the closest one to you). Your 60% discount will be automatically applied to your purchase. To keep the price as affordable and as cost effective as possible, I recommend purchasing the 12 months Hosting period.
Tick the little Terms of Service box when ready.
Click Pay Now Button.
Web Hosting and Domain Name bought, you are good to go!
SiteGround will send you an email with your login details, keep them safe!
I promised you earlier that there is nothing difficult about buying hosting and a domain name, I hope you believe me now!
So far, you have spent around £55, not bad for owning a part of the internet!
There are a two extra services that SiteGround offer; Domain Privacy and Site Scanner, these services are not necessary today, but you can easily add them both to your hosting account at a later time.
Securing Your Website With The Green Padlock (In 6 Simple Steps)
If your pet business website doesn’t have a SSL (Secure Socket Layers) Certificate installed, it won’t have the Green Padlock when visitors land on your website and will be seen by Google (and people) as unsecure – NOT GOOD!
Because we’re using Siteground, installing a SSL Certificate onto your dog walking website is extremely easy to do and completely free.
STEP 1. Visit your new SiteGround Account (the link will automatically open in a new tab so it’s easy to switch back and forward to follow the steps)
STEP 2. Click the ‘My Accounts’ tab near the top.
STEP 3. Click the red ‘Go to cPanel’ button just underneath the ‘My Accounts’ tab. You will then be taken to your cPanel, which will look like this:
STEP 4. Scroll down to you see the Security section and click on the ‘Let’s Encrypt’ icon.
You’ll be taken here:
PLEASE NOTE: YOUR SCREEN WILL LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT THAN THE IMAGE BELOW. IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE DOMAIN WITH SITEGROUND THEN THAT IS ALL THAT WILL BE IN THE LIST. WE HAVE ‘BLANKED’ OUT SOME OF THE DOMAINS IN OUR IMAGE AS THEY ARE OUR CLIENTS
STEP 5. Choose your domain name from the dropdown menu next to ‘Domain’ and make sure ‘Let’s Encrypt SSL’ is selected then click the Install button. It will take a few seconds and…you’re done.
Add A Little Extra Security
Once you have completed the installation of your SSL you will see your domain name in the list. We can now add some extra security measures to your website, just to make sure your website will always be operating at a high level of security.
Simply click on the dropdown menu next to your domain name, which says ‘Select an Action’ then select ‘HTTPS Settings’ from the short list.
All you need to do here is, make sure both, ‘HTTPS Enforce’ and ‘External Links Rewrite’ are both ON. Just click the slider button next to each one until it’s green and says ON and Click OK. It looks serious with the red crosses and red writing, but I can assure you, it’s not! It just makes sure your pet website works well and it is secure.
Quick recap. So far you have…
- Bought your web hosting
- Bought your domain name
- Secured your website
Now we are going to install WordPress. Yup, you guessed it, it only takes a few clicks.
Ready? Let’s Roll.
Once more, SiteGround have made this super easy for us! After you have set up your SSL and extra security, scroll to the top of the page and you will see the red ‘cPanel Home’ button on the right, click on it.
Now we’re back in the cPanel Home. Look for the ‘Autoinstallers’ section, (it should be near the top) and click on the ‘WordPress’ icon. It will take you to the information page for WordPress.
When you are ready click on ‘Install’ button in the little menu bar.
Once you clicked Install you will see this screen:
Now we will work through the installation options, step by step (don’t worry, it’s very easy!
Software Setup Section
- Choose Protocol – This simply means that, do you want your website to show with the (www.) or not. For example it would read as https://www.yourwebsite.com or https://yourwebsite.com. This is completely up to you, it is just what you prefer. I prefer without the (www.) because I think it looks neater and tidier, but that’s just me!
- Choose Domain – This is straightforward, choose your domain name from the dropdown menu that you wish to install WordPress on to.
- In Directory – LEAVE BLANK. WordPress will be installed on https://yourwebsite.com.
Site Settings Section
- Site Name – Ideally, call your site the same as your dog walking business name.
- Site Description – Enter a your pet business’ tagline i.e. I Am The Best Dog Walker In The World (OK, probably something a bit better than that!)
- Enable Multisite (WPMU) – Leave Unchecked.
Admin Account Section
- Admin Username – You are the admin on your website, which means you can control everything. Choose a Username for yourself. DON’T CHOOSE ‘ADMIN’ AS A USERNAME. There are literally millions of WordPress websites out there with the username ‘Admin,’ it’s the equivalent to having a password like ‘1234.’
- Admin Password – Choose your password. Make it strong and hard to guess.
- Admin Email – Enter your Email. It’s always worth setting up a new gmail or outlook email address for your business and keeping your professional email address just for customer contact. So you could have – email@example.com for your WordPress account and anything else you need to give your email to for your business and you could also have firstname.lastname@example.org just for clients to get in touch with you, it just organises your emails a little.
The last couple of options on the list are straightforward as well.
- Choose the language your website will be in.
- Leave the last two boxes UNCHECKED and the theme to install as NONE.
There are a lot better plugins to choose from which are free as well, which work a lot better than the two offered here and I will go through installing a theme on to your website shortly (free, of course!)
Click the ‘Install’ button, wait a minute or so and…you’re done!
Well done! You have just created your website!
You can now log in and access your WordPress website admin area by adding ‘wp-admin’ at the end of your website address i.e. https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin This will take you to the WordPress login screen where you can login with your username and password you just created.
Let’s recap, so far you have…
- Bought your web hosting
- Bought your domain name
- Secured your website
- Installed WordPress
You should be extremely pleased with what you have achieved. Hopefully you are sitting there thinking that it wasn’t too difficult and it hasn’t cost much at all to get set up and primed to unleash (pun intended!) your dog walking business website onto the internet and start getting more clients.
Now we will move onto the final part of creating your pet care business website – making it look professional, modern and friendly.
Designing Your Dog Walking Business Website
By default, your WordPress website will have a standard theme pre-installed. If you take a look at your website, it will look similar to this:
But, we don’t do standard for our dog walking business!
So how do we change it so it looks like the website in the demo? If you missed the demo, you can take a look again HERE.
All we need to do is change the website theme and add 2 plugins.
WordPress themes can be free and paid. A theme controls how a website looks. A theme can control just how a certain part of a website looks or it can control how everything looks on a website. We will be using a free theme called ‘GeneratePress’
WordPress plugins can also be free and paid. Plugins are little bits of pre-made code that you can use. If you want your website to do something (e.g. take payments, have a contact form on your website or have an online shop) you can be certain that somebody has made a plugin already, that makes your website do exactly what you want it to do.
To set our pet care business website up like the demo we’ll be using just 2 plugins, the first is a free plugin called ‘Elementor’ the second plugin is the premium version of ‘Elementor’ called ‘Elementor Pro’ that costs $49 (approx. £35)
The Elementor and Elementor Pro plugins are the real workhorses of our free pet business website templates – PetCarePro. These two plugins are responsible for getting each page to look the way they do!
As mentioned before, we will only recommend products that we personally use here at PetBusinessHub.com.
We use the premium paid version of ‘GeneratePress’ theme, but the premium paid version isn’t needed to get your dog walking business website up and running, the free version does the job perfectly.
We also use ‘Elementor Pro’ plugin as well, on the very website you are on now.
Over the years, I’ve used the combination of WordPress, Elementor Pro and GeneratePress Premium to build over one hundred websites and I have helped hundreds of people to build their websites. All plugins are tried, tested and are proven winners.
Changing your website’s theme
1. Login to your WordPress admin dashboard (https://yourwebsite.com/wp-admin)
2. Hover over Appearance in the menu on the left side of your screen and select Themes
3. Click the Add New button near the top then Click into the search box on the right and type GeneratePress.
It will be the first theme that appears on the left.
Hover over the image, then click on Install button just below image
4. It will take a second or two to install, then click the Activate button that has now appeared. Your new theme is now active.
You have now installed and activated your theme. Not very techie is it, just clicking a couple of buttons?!
Installing The Plugins
Install And Activate The Elementor Plugin
1. Hover over Plugins in the menu on the left side of your screen. Select Add New.
2. Click into the search box on the right and type Elementor.
It will be the first plugin that appears on the left called Elementor Page Builder
Click on ‘Install Now’ button.
3. It will take a second or two to install, then click the Activate button that has now appeared.
You will now be taken back to the plugins page, where you will see Elementor has been installed and activated and a new link in the left side menu called ‘Elementor’ has appeared.
That’s the first plugin installed and activated – Yay! Now we need to download and install the other plugin – Elementor Pro.
Download And Install The Elementor Pro Plugin
Elementor’s website is full of great information that tells you all about the pro version plugin. Simply put, it’s a superb plugin with amazing capabilities.
When you are ready, click the green ‘BUY NOW’ button. It will zoom you down the page so you can pick how many websites you want the Pro plugin to work on. If you think you’ll only ever build one website, choose the ‘Personal’ option, once you have decided, click the green ‘BUY NOW’ button.
You’ll then be taken to the Checkout page. Fill in the your details. Make sure you remember your username and password you create for your account!
After your payment has cleared, you will receive two email confirmations for your purchase. Now we have bought the plugin, we need to download it.
Go to elementor.com (link opens in new tab) and click on Account button in the menu at the top.
Log in with your account details you just created.
Now you are logged in, you need to download the Elementor Pro plugin onto your computer.
Click the green download button and save it on to your computer. It will be a (.zip) file.(remember where you have saved it!)
You have now finished buying and downloading Elementor Pro. All that is left to do with this plugin is to upload it to your WordPress Website.
You’ve probably guessed already, uploading it to your dog walking business website just takes a couple of clicks.
Upload the Elementor Pro Plugin to Your Website
Log in to your WordPress admin dashboard.
Hover over plugins and click on Add New.
Click on ‘Upload Plugin’ button near the top.
Click Browse and find the Elementor Pro plugin you just downloaded and saved to your computer.
Installing the PetCarePro Template Pack
Download the PetCarePro Template Pack
Upload the PetCarePro Template Pack to Your Website
Create Your Website Pages
- Service Area
- Pet Sitting
- Dog Walking
- Dog Boarding
- Cat Sitting
Click on the select circle next to ‘A static page’ then select the page you want as your homepage from the dropdown list, probably, Home!
Then click on the blue ‘Save Changes’ button in the bottom left of the screen and you’re done setting your homepage.
Now the pages are all set up, let’s create your main menu.
Create Your Pet Website Menu
Hover over Appearance and select Menus on your left side menu.
Click on the ‘Menu Name’ box and name your menu, it doesn’t matter what you call it, it is for your reference only, I’ve called mine ‘Main Menu’ then click the blue ‘Create Menu’ button’
WordPress will then automatically create a menu for you with all the pages you have just added – nice! You can easily change the order the pages appear in by dragging and dropping each menu item.
Click the blue Save Menu button at the bottom of the page and your menu has been created. Simple as that.
Adding The PetCarePro Templates To The Pages
Now this is where your dog walking website really comes together. We are going to put the templates onto the pages. Again, it just takes a couple of clicks.
Ready? Let’s Roll.
Click on Pages in your dashboard menu on the left.
Hover over the page title of the page you want to create and click ‘edit’ underneath.
Then click the blue ‘Edit With Elementor’ button.
Now click the grey Add Template button.
You will now see your Elementor Library where all your templates are kept.
Click on ‘My Templates’
You will see all the templates from the PetCarePro Template Pack (there’s eleven in total)
Go to the template you would like to insert on to the page and click the green insert button. For this page, I’m using the ‘About’ page template.
If you have the Import Document Settings box appear, click ‘Yes’ to carry on importing.
Click the green update button in the bottom left to save the template to the page. Your page is now complete.
And like magic, the whole page template appears on your blank page, it’s as easy, as that.
If the page seems to be ‘squashed’ or the template doesn’t seem to fit right, click on the cog in the bottom left and check that ‘Page Layout’ is set to ‘Elementor Canvas’ Sometimes the Page Layout can revert back to ‘Default’ which reduces the width of the page, not a good look!
For every page you want to create you follow the same process as above by starting from clicking on the ‘Pages’ option in your dashboard menu on the left.
You are now at the point where you have installed all the PetCarePro templates you need. Lastly we need to insert the main menu that we created earlier so people can move around your pet business website.
The Homepage will be the only page where the Main Menu is already installed. You just need to add it to the pages you want.
In the images below, I will show you how to install the Main Menu on to the ‘About’ page I just created.
Inserting Your Main Navigation Menu
Hover over the top section of the page until the editing tools appear and click on the ‘+’ icon (Add Section)
Then click on the grey ‘Add Template’ button.
Click on ‘My Templates’ Then click on ‘Insert’ to the right of the ‘Main Nav Menu’ template
Click the green ‘Update’ button in the bottom left of the screen.
The menu will now appear on that page. Remember to follow the same process as above, starting from going to the very top of your website and clicking on ‘+’ for every page you want the Main Menu to be on.
You have finished installing everything you need for your dog walking business website to be successful and start getting your clients.
You’ve just built your own pet business website and possibly saved a lot of money in the process! – YAY!
All that’s left to do is to customise it to suit your brand, personality and everything your new pet business stands for. This is where the money you spent on the Elementor Pro Plugin really comes into its own.
The Elementor team do a way better job of explaining and showing you how to customise your website than we could ever dream of!
Customising Your Pet Business Website
Elementor does an excellent job of showing and teaching you how to customise your website. Their huge amount of support articles and videos will guide you, step by step, in a clear and focused manner into achieving anything you can imagine for your dog walking business website and answer any questions you have quickly.
There’s also the Elementor Facebook group, which is brilliant for finding out anything Elementor related. The members of the group are fantastic and always help as much as they can. You can find us in there too! Join the Elementor Facebook Group.
Any changes you want to make to your website are usually done with a few clicks of your mouse – be ready to be blown away by how simple Elementor is to use but how super powerful it is at the same time!
To get started with customising, take a look at getting started with Elementor. Or you can get straight in and start customising by searching for more specific things you want to do with your pet business website.
We can’t match the amount of help and support the Elementor support staff provide for their plugin, but we can certainly help you on a smaller scale!
We're Always Here To Help!
If there is a area of this guide you would like further explanation on or if you have any questions about anything we have covered in this guide, just let us know in the comment section below. We’re always happy to answer any questions you have as quick as we can.
Or if you have any other questions about any other aspect of your dog walking and pet sitting business, just send us a message or ask us on Facebook
So, there you go!
You have built you own dog walking business website and it has cost around £100. I’m sure you have looked at the price that Web Designers charge, so you’ll know £100 is great value!
If all the steps were followed, you will now have a well designed, client getting pet business website.
Be truthful, it wasn’t that hard, was it?