How To Create a Pet Directory
Faerie, Xweetok, Mutant, Zafara, Mallow, Draik... the list of Neopet species and colors is astounding! One of the best features of the site is seeing the different styles and tastes users choose to express via their pets. Some Neopian’s theme their accounts color-wise, while others stay within a single species. Users that are UBER-proud of their pets may even decide to list them in a pet directory. Pet directories focus on a particular theme and list Neopets that showcase that category. However, there is so much more to running one! In this article you will learn the basics to opening your very own directory to display your favorite color, species, or pet-niche!
The first thing you will want to consider is why you want to open your directory. Do you currently own a pet that fits the category? Have you always been obsessed with "gross" pets? Maybe a new color has been released and you would like to begin cataloguing from the very beginning! Having a purpose for creating your page with help fuel the many hours required for content creation.
I personally believe this is the single most important factor in creating a Pet Directory! When brainstorming ideas, it's best to do a quick search to see what pet directories currently exist. Looking at current directories will also provide understanding for common practices in page design. In your search you may find that your idea already has a pet directory-- do not fear! Directories were very popular in the early 2000's so you may find a page that is wildly outdated and even ran by an inactive account. If you find an actively updated directory, think of ways you could branch out and differentiate yourself within that theme. If you decide to create a directory that has already been done, please be carefuly and do not plagiarize another Neopian's work.
Finding exactly what your page will showcase is definitely tricky! Highlighting a certain species and color are the first obvious choices. There are pages that list UC's, pets with a specific name, pets over a certain age, and even multiple colors that fit a theme. An example of a theme would be a directory listing halloween, Darigan, and ghost pets since they give off a dark and spooky vibe that go well together. Whatever you decide, make it unique and something you are interested in. I love looking at unique directories, much like how people enjoy looking at a unique gallery. Plushie galleries, while adorable, are one of the most common and therefore not as exciting to peruse. (Plushie collectors please do not send me dung, I appreciate all your hard work!! *throws all the cookies*) Rather than staying comfortable and doing what has already been done, get crazy and brainstorm unique and new ideas for a directory!
Once you have landed on your directories theme it is time to start creating the content! Rather than slapping a list of pets on a petpage and calling it a day, research your theme. How can a user obtain a pet of this species or color? Are there any avatars, shop images, or past caption contests that feature this pet? Are there any famous Neopets of this color or species? For example, a Lupe directory could highlight King Altador. A Grundo directory would certainly have a history section detailing the evils of Dr. Frank Sloth! The purpose of a pet directory is to full detail the history centered on this species or color. Listing galleries and items provide rich examples of your themes presence in Neopia. These questions are all commonly answered within pet directories, can you think of any new areas you would like to cover?
It is a necessity that any well-made pet directory has a clean and easy to navigate layout. Without one, the large amounts of images and written content will simply overwhelm the guest attempting to view the page and ruin the learning experience. If you have rad coding skills, this is where you will thrive! If coding is not your specialty you have two options:
1- Ask for help on the Neoboards. When I created my first pet directory in the early 2000's I knew very little HTML. After I made a Neoboard asking for coding help a kind user actually offered to code my petpage for me! I credited the coding to their account and proceeded to fill in the page with my original content. If you run into someone who if willing to do you this awesome favor, make sure to leave credit and thank them a thousand Meepits worth!
2- Use a premade layout. There are tons of awesome premade layouts that are ready to go! Some premade sites even have basic templates that you can edit and add your own graphics to that help your page look original without the backhanded coding. Even if you edit the coding you MUST leave credit!
Now we come to the original purpose of pet directories-- listing the pets! There are a couple ways to do this. You can simply hyperlink the name of the pet or display their image. Displaying images is super fun because you see how users customize pets within the same genre. You might consider listing something about each pet, their favorite word, food, season, etc. How you set up your directory is completely up to you!
How Pets are Submitted:
Somewhere your page it is a good idea to display a form for users to Neomail you if they desire to list their pet. Not only does this give you permission to add their Neopet, it helps you keep your page organized.
Not an adoption agency!!
Within the directory place a note that kindly asks users to not Neomail pet owners asking to adopt their pet. This is a classy place to display and celebrate pets not beg for them!
Once your site has a beautiful face and most of the content ready, it's time to advertise! Creating a Neoboard on the Pound Chat and Fan Club Chat is a great place to start. If your directory features a wider niche such as battledome pets, an avatar pet, or pets with rich character development, advertise of the correlating boards. You are seeking a certain demographic so be sure to seek those users out rather than spamming all 24 Neoboards. Consider creating a font that links to your page to drive in traffic as well! The cutest form of awareness will come in the form of a link back button. These buttons can be displayed on your lookup, by adoring fans, and especially by the pets listed in your directory! Building a section of affiliates (sites that link to you if you link to them) is a neat way to build repertoire as well.
Creating and running a pet directory is a rewarding experience! Not only are you celebrating something you love about Neopia, you are contributing the culture and make-up of the site. I am currently run two pet directories: Candied (/~Muhali) and TRIBAL (/~Valqry). If this article inspired you to create your own, I would love to hear your ideas! Chatting with other directory owners and encouraging each other in the creative process is just as fun as running the directory itself! Now what are you waiting for?? Go out and create the best directory Neopia has ever seen!