Virtual pet websites are popular on the Internet. Creating such a website is not an easy task. With this in mind, let’s take a look at a list of things to do if you want to create your own one!
1. Learn several web programming languages.
A good website cannot be made out of thin air. Although your website may only contain pictures that people can download and use in their profiles, you may want to create an interactive website. Creating such a website requires more than just HTML and CSS knowledge.
2. Find a team of people to help you if you are not very good at some aspects of development.
Although some ambitious people can create a website on their own, most people will still need at least one more person to find and fix the ‘bugs’. You will need to study the following concepts: coding, concept, web design, graphics, and possibly community.
3. Determine which features you would definitely like to start with.
Most websites have modest origins with some basic features, and they focus on their growth only after creating a place on the web. You will need to consider the following characteristics:
- Pets – Obviously, when you open a virtual pet website, you will need to create a pet system.
- Public and private messages – Allow users to gather in forums, with the option of sending personal messages.
- Currency System – For one reason or another, most virtual pet websites have a currency system. It’s used either to buy pets or to buy things for animals.
- Shops – Shops may sell pets, pet accessories, or even things that will allow users to use fun extras such as a secret forum.
- Games – Not necessarily, but it’s always fun for users to have other options in addition to just collecting animals. Some websites don’t have games and still thrive like their neighbors.
4. Brainstorm what kind of pets your users can have.
According to Pet Bibles, you can use real animals for inspiration or you can rely on your imagination and think of some interesting and unique creatures. You need to come up with several different types of pets to meet the needs of different types of users. Some love powerful and dangerous animals, while others simply can’t have enough of the cute pets.
5. Fill out the design of your creatures through sketches and back-story.
There is no need for background information, but it can attract users who like such aspects, and your creature will seem more interesting. If you’re not very good at drawing, make a sketch and ask the artist of your team to create a good final version.
- Spend some time creating the world. Making up an original world is one of the most difficult parts, but also the most fun one. Write down some ideas and make sure they fit into your world. If you think you’ve met this idea before, change it a little bit!
6. Give your creatures their final look by creating an actual image to be used.
If you’re not very good at drawing, this is a stage where you need the help of your team’s artist. Or you can ask a friend who knows computer-graphics programs to help you create your own image.
7. Work on the details of the features that will be on your website.
You need to find out how users will be able to do things on your website. Here are some things to remember:
- How users will get pets. Will it be necessary to buy them, find them, or will the user just have to choose from a list and create them?
- How many shops will be there, and what are their purposes. This is in case you have shops, but again, many websites have them.
- What your users will be able to do with their pets. There are many features that can be encoded on a website: fighting, training, playing, and dressing up are just some of the things that can be done with pets.
- How people can earn and spend their chosen currency. Make sure that this is balanced.
8. Think of a name for the website.
Now that you’ve worked through most of the details of your website, it’s time to create a name. You could use the name to describe the main purpose of the website (for example, “Combat Pet” or “Smart Pet”) or just think of a beautiful name.
9. Find a place to host your website.
A good host with a good domain name (a good domain name is a name that sounds different than, for example, “yournamehere.hostingcompany.com”), usually costs money.
10. Sketch out website design.
Good website design allows users to easily access important features without having to change their path or searching for them. A well-organized menu can help users access most sections of the website on all pages and reduce frustration.
11. Assemble your website with your team or by yourself.
This part of website development is likely to require coding, concept, design, and graphics skills. If you need help, you can invite people to join you.
12. Set some rules.
The rules are usually included in the Website Terms of Service, which is a virtual legal agreement on how the website will be used and what responsibilities the owner and users of the website have. Although you can write these Terms and Conditions, it’s better if a person who understands the law review the text of the rules to ensure that they are indeed legal.
13. Invite friends and family to join your website and give it a test run.
They can bring you something new, give you recommendations that you can use to find and correct deficiencies.
14. Open it to the public and attract new members.
Once you’ve installed and settled everything, it’s time to launch your website. It’s better to have someone around in case something goes wrong.
15. Expand your user base.
Once opened, all that is left to do is to support maintenance and expand. Think of new games, new pets, and maybe even new worlds. Keep your users interested over and over again. Try to get in touch with some animal shelters, which will help you expand your user base and help the animals in need in a very effective way. You can even start your own animal rescue and integrate your blog with your nonprofit organization. This way someone who has a virtual pet could actually adopt one of your furry friends one day.
- Try to come up with a comprehensive website plot. It can be an interesting way to release new items, creatures, shops, worlds, and even characteristics. Plan your story well in advance, then gradually release updates. Planning gives you the advantage of surprising users, especially if you are doing a good job of linking new updates to existing content.
- Involve only those people you trust in the project. Someone can steal your ideas or come back later and hack into your website.
- Remember to stay creative. So many virtual pet websites fail because of copying material from other websites. You should never create pets based on ones from other websites. Unfortunately, this well-known principle is often overlooked, and people label a website as a “bad copy” even before they experience it.
- When you begin to expand, don’t remove features or games unless they actually harm the overall entertainment performance of the website. If you try to change the feature dramatically, keep in mind that people may be dissatisfied. If the function is outdated enough (mainly it happens if the website was launched in the era of Web 1.0), try to reanimate it with fresh graphics instead of getting rid of it.
- People will not obey the rules. This is “your” website; you can control the “rebels” at will.
- Let the training go slowly and easily. You won’t learn the coding in one night, so don’t expect a miracle. Start small and get to the real website.
- If the target audience of your website is older people or teenagers, but not children, notify on the home page and make it clear that the website is for people aged 13+. Or better yet, make it suitable for children; this is a great opportunity to have a wider audience.
- Let your website be different from others in its development and ability to get what other websites don’t offer. Avoid simply re-creating another website without offering any new ideas of your own other than a name and a scheme.
- Try to come up with unique ideas about pets instead of taking and renaming real animals. A creature, for example, a bird called a “byord” or “feesh” instead of a “fish” is boring. If you’re using a real pet as the basis for a virtual pet, try to add at least some significant differences in body design.