tourism websites 101

Every business needs a website, a great tourism wesbite should be working for you 24/7 driving enquiries and bookings for your business.

Building your website can be a daunting task.

Before you start, it is important to understand all the elements required for a site and costs involved in setting up and running your site.

Most likely you will work with a web developer to build your site, but who are they and what do they do?

Web Developers

These are the people that make websites!

When it comes to building a website for your tourism business, I’m sure lots of well-meaning friends and family members will tell you that they know someone who can help and sure they are lots of ways to DIY a website.

But this is your business, you want a website that works. So I recommend investing in a professional that an build you a site that not only looks good but also gets found and converts viewers into bookers!

It’s a marketing expense for your business.

How much will it cost?

 Costs vary anywhere from $1,000 – $3,500 should get most tourism businesses started with a 3 – 10 page WordPress site that you can update yourself.

Before you ask for quotes (you should get 3), have a clear idea of the requirements you have for your website – how many pages will you need, what sort of content will it include, do you need to integrate an online booking system. The more details a brief you can provide to your developer the more accurate a quote you will receive.

 What if I can’t afford it?

 I get that the initial set up cost of a professional website might prohibitive when you are starting out or if perhaps you are a not for profit business run on the passion of volunteers.

If you can’t afford to invest just yet there are tools and website templates which make it easier to create your own site.

Check out popular platforms include:

Wix.com

Weebly.com

Squarespace.com

WordPress.com

Before you go down this path seriously consider the return on investment – it takes a long time to create a website from scratch, even longer if you aren’t sure what you are doing…. weigh up the value of your time in learning how to create a website versus the investment with a professional web developer.

To reduce costs you could also try approaching local TAFE’s, schools and universities. Often students studying web design and development will need to complete projects and may be able to help you at little or no cost.

What else does you tourism website need ?

Domain Name

 The domain name is the address for your website.

It should include your business name and be simple and easy to remember and spell.

For example:

  • lighthousetourism.com
  • visitshellharbour.com.au
  • australia.com
  • yourbusinesnamehere.com.au

You will need to purchase your through a domain name registry such as:

Through the domain name registry, you can search and check the availability or your preferred names, then create an account and purchase your domain names.

It is good business practice to register both the .com.au and .com versions of your domain if possible.

When you purchase they will try to sell you a whole range of bells and whistles – all you need to buy is the domain name itself! Your web developer will be able to help you set up everything else.

Often a web developer will register a domain name on your behalf. It is important to remember that

Your domain name is a business asset

Ideally, you should register it, it is easy to do or make sure the web developer registers it in your name.

How much will it cost?

You need to register a .com.au domain for 2 years, it should cost you around $15 per year.

A .com domain name can be register for 1 year and should cost between $10- $20 per year.

If someone already owns the domain, it can cost a lot more. If that’s the case, it’s best to come up with another option for your domain name!

Email Hosting

 You may already have an email address for your business through you internet provider and a free service like gmail or outlook.com, however, it is much more professional to use your own domain name for your email for example:

bookings@yourbusinessname.com.au

There are a number of different ways to set this up, including via Google’s G suite.

How much will it cost?

Email hosting can start from $5 per user per month.

It is best to talk to your web developer about how many email addresses you need and the best way to set this up for your business.

Web Hosting

A web host provides all the technology you need for your website to be seen on the internet, for your site to be visible it needs to be hosted or stored on special computers called servers.

Ask your web developer about where your site will be hosted, the reliability of the servers and what back ups and maintenance is included with your hosting fee.

How much will it cost?

That really varies on what is included in the hosting cost and how much traffic you site is getting (or the bandwidth required).

Web hosting is often a flat annual fee of anywhere from $150 – $400 per year.

But wait there’s more!

That’s some of the technical stuff you need to have for your website – that’s the easy part. There is plenty more that makes up a good website. Some of the key things to start with are:

 Content

 Of course, you are going to need information to populate the pages of your website.

This is called content – it should be a combination of words, pictures, and videos. When planning out your content think from the customers perspective – what questions do they need answered?

Read my tips on how to create an awesome website for some inspiration on planning your content.

Take some time to plan your content, write copy, get quality images and create useful videos to add to the customer experience, also make sure that your content is optimised for search engines (see below)

 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

This is super important for getting your site found. Lots of factors including how your site is built influence your SEO. It’s an ongoing process, not something that you can set and forget.

My post ‘How to SEO’ gives you some of the basics also talk to your web developer about SEO.

Analytics

Like all marketing investments, you should be tracking and monitoring the return on investment.

The marvelous thing about the internet is that tracking and monitoring your activities is easy.

As your web developer to set up Google Analytics on your website (its free) a good developer should also give you a basic run down on how to understand your analytics.

Creating a website is a big job, it will take longer than you expect (trust me!). Before you begin, do your research, be clear about what you want, talk to different web developers and ask lots of questions. There is always more to learn. I hope these insights help to make the journey a little bit easier for you!

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