Building Your Open Adoption Web Site
Why your open adoption web site is an important part of your outreach program
1. It works! At one time the client’s birthmother letter held more importance as an outreach tool than the client’s web site. Now they are of equal importance in the clients outreach effort to find and match with a birthfamily.
2. It works hand-in-hand with the birthmother letter and all printed outreach materials. Families advertise their adoption web site address on their birthmother letter, allowing the birthmother to visit the web site to learn more about them. The birthmother can easily direct family and friends to the web site as well.
3. Your web site will give you access to outreach methods provided by the Internet. You will be able to use the services of online adoption outreach sites as well as keyword advertising on google and yahoo.
4. Your web site will work hand-in-hand with your adoption counselors outreach. A counselor or adoption attorney can quickly send the link of a families web site, either by e-mail or a quick phone call to a prospective birthmother.
5. It’s flexible. Once it’s published, your birthmother letter is fixed. On the other hand,you can edit a web site and re-publish the new content in a matter of minutes. In addition, the web site can expand on the birthmother letter allowing for more information about you and your family to be added.
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Your open adoption web site starts with your "Dear Birthmother Letter"
Because your web site works hand in hand with all forms of your adoption outreach, your web address, or domain name should be added to your “dear birthmother” letter. This doesn’t mean that you must have your web site completed before your letter, it only means that you will need to buy your domain name and hosting package, or determine the location of your web site before the letter is started. You can build your web site at a later, more convenient time. Example: John and Jane Smith went to www.gate.com to buy their domain name and hosting package before they started their letter. They purchased a domain and host for $129 a year. They acquired their User name and Password from the hosting company and forwarded this information on to their web designer, then got started on their letter.
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Information about domain names and hosting your open adoption web site
Every server on the internet is assigned a unique number an IP (Internet Protocol) address. This number can be thought of as a ‘telephone number’ which allows other computers to find and access them through the world wide web. (The domain name acts as the IP address or web address). A web hosting company is a type of Internet hosting service that allows individuals and organizations with web sites access to the World Wide Web by designating space for them on their servers. Example: My domain name is, www.adoptionopen.com and is hosted by www.valueweb.com
There are quite a few options in getting your web site or web page posted to the Internet. Here are the three most common ways to build and host a web site. 1. You can buy your own domain name through a web hosting company and use their online templates to build your site. 2. You can buy your own domain name through a web hosting company and use a web designer to build your web site.
3. You can skip buying a domain name, hire a web hosting company, and use their templates to build your web site. With options 1 and 2 your domain name will appear like this in the url window. http://www.janeandjohnadopt.com . With option 3 your domain name will appear like this in the url window: http://email@example.com/jandandjohnadopt.html
Buying your own domain name is definitely a better way to go. As you can see, the web address is much shorter when you buy your own domain name. Domain names cost around $8 to $20 to register for one year and in some cases they are free the first year when purchased with a hosting package. Other benefits to buying your own domain name: Your web address is much shorter, making it easier to read and print at a higher point size on your birthmother letter. Also, a domain name can be transferred to any hosting company if necessary without changing the web address.
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Building your own open adoption site
A “build-it-yourself” web site service is a company that provides web site templates and space on their servers to build a web site on. Tools Needed by the client: Computer access to the internet. Photo editing program & knowledge of adjusting photo proportions. On some “build-it-yourself” web site service companies, flashing banner ads can appears above your web site. This usually happens when you use a service that offers “free” web site services. This type of web site is frowned upon because the flashing banner ad looks like it is a part of your web site, it may contain inappropriate materials, and it forces the viewer to scroll down to view your site. We suggest that if you use a “build it yourself” web service that you pay extra to eliminate the banner ads. You can also purchase a package that also includes a domain name. There are hundreds of companies that provide this service. Here are a few examples of companies that offer, build-it-yourself web site services.
http://www.homestead.com http://geocities.yahoo.com https://www.blogger.com/start http://www.networksolutions.com http://www.techsense.com/
Tools you will need to use a build-it-yourself site:
*Access to the Internet.
*Photo editing program and knowledge on how to prepare your images for the internet.
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Custom open adoption web site
A designer will design the site, walk you through the domain name and hosting purchase, as well as help you in the maintenance of your site. A custom adoption web site allows for more creative expression. A good web designer will work with you on the look and feel of your web site so that it uniquely expresses who you are.
Here are some custom web designers that specialize in building adoption web sites
Shopping for your Web Designer:
Check out samples of the designers work. See if you like their style and approach to web site construction. Make sure that the designer can create your web site in a timely manor. Make sure to get a copy of your web site from the web designer. If your designer set up your domain name and host, make sure that you receive a copy of the domain and hosting transaction.
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How to build a great open adoption web site
Designing your adoption web site is an important task. Your overall goal is to provide a web site that is informative, pleasant to look at, and easy to navigate. Below are some design tips that should help you in the creation of such a web site.
DO Build a web site that loads quickly.
DON’T build a web site that loads slowly. When a image isn’t prepared correctly for the Internet it will load slowly if at all. This causes frustration to the visitor and they will move on before your first page ever loads.
DO have clear and concise navigation. Site navigation should be prominent and visible when the browser window opens. Create navigation that is consistently located in the same location with the same link names on every page. Make sure to add a “homepage” link so your visitor can easily get back to your homepage. The best location for navigation is, top left horizontal or top left vertical. Make sure to include a “contact us” link as part of your main navigation.
DON’T have a web site where your visitor has to scroll down or to the right to find the navigation. Poor navigation will leave the visitor frustrated and lost, prompting them to leave your web site early.
DO place your name and phone # at the top of every web page. You want your visitor to be able to rest on anyone of your web pages and receive this important information. While surfing your site your visitor may want to stop and give you a call.
DON’T make it difficult for your visitor to find your phone number and name.
DO have a great homepage photo. The focal point of the adoption web site, like the birthmother letter is the clients main photo. All of the photos on the web site should support the text and prepared to load quickly.
DON’T have washed out or distorted photos on your site. A picture speaks a thousand words. You can have a beautiful web site but if the photos are distorted no one will notice how beautiful the web site is.
DO have a web site that uses a color scheme that works well with your photos.
DON’T use garish colors or neon colors in your design. An adoption web site design is driven by photos. Photos of people tend to clash with intense color schemes.
DO create a site design that fills up the browser window, with main image, text and navigation that is clearly visible when loaded.
DON’T create a web site that chops off your navigation, main image or other important information when loading. Banner ads or pop up ads restrict the viewing of your web site and look to commercial.
Three more DON’TS:
DON’T use a log-in option for your visitor to visit your web site.
DON’T use flash on your homepage. You don’t want a prospective birthmother to have to leave your site to load the flash player. Also, anything that delays the loading of your site will deter a visitor.
DON’T use music that loops. If you use music make it interactive with the viewer allowing them to turn it on or off easily.
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What you can do to promote traffic to your open adoption web site
Your adoption web site is a perfect venue for promoting your search for a birthfamily. The Internet is surfed by prospective birthmothers at ever increasing numbers so it is important for you to take advantage of all of the Internet outreach services available to you. Internet Outreach Options: First you can start by adding your domain name or web address to all of your printed materials. You can link your web site to adoption outreach sites that specialize in the promotion of prospective adoptive families. You can advertise on Google and Yahoo with your own keywords campaign. You can send out mass emails to friends, family and colleages announcing your wish to adopt. Along with the email you can include a link toyour adoption outreach web site.
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Web Site Maintenance
Web site is maintenance is often overlooked when considering all that needs to be done when creating an adoption web site. There are certain things that need to be done on a regular basis to ensure a well ordered, finely tuned web site. Web Site Checklist: Check Links:
Before you launch your web site you should check your web site thoroughly for broken links. Make sure to also check all of the links within your site that takes you to another location off of your site, such as your email link and all links leading back to your web site.
Spell and Grammar Check:You should also spell and grammar check the text on your web site as well as the description text on all sites linking to you. Sometimes when cutting and pasting text into html text, the characters can get transcribed into funny little characters, replacing apostrophes with question marks. You will want to make sure that you eliminate all of these little oddities before you go live. Visit Your Web Site On a Regular Basis: The company hosting your web site can go down. If the host goes down, so does the web site.
Keep Good Records:You should always have a printed copy of your domain register, and the hosting company you are doing business with in a handy location. Should your hosting company go out of business or you are unhappy with your service, you will need this information to transfer your web site to another service.
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