Web Presence Fundamentals for the Tourism Sector

16/03/2011 posted by Matt

Photo care of Phil W Shirley, on Flickr

On Wednesday 16th March, I had the pleasure of speaking to a large audience of Sunshine Coast based tourism businesses on behalf of SCDL. The presentation was pitched at helping small business owners manage their website re-design project in a smarter way. It’s the first in a series of presentations which will also see Annabel Candy, Kiki Robinson and Chris Peckham give talks on aspects of digital marketing over the coming weeks.

The presentation is below for reference and notes to the slides are listed underneath. Please comment on this post with any suggestions on how to improve the content of this talk and ask any questions.

Slide 6: The only reason to do a website redesign. Sounds obvious but think about what the word ‘more’ implies…. it means you know your current site performance!

Slide 8: A word about computers…. Nobody likes computers. But the internet isn’t about computers. Doing stuff on the internet is about restoring all the values anyone over 50 believes are long gone. Accountability, Courtesy, Compassion, Empowerment, Truth and Honesty.

Slide 13: If I can convert 30% more sales from site visitors to my website, what would that be worth?

Slide 16: Audit your content: How many pages? How many pages will be killed off? How many new pages? What is the most popular content? What is the most powerful content?

Itemise your inbound links: How many sites link to me? Which of my pages have links to them? Where do they come from? Which links are the most powerful?

Analyse keyword rankings: What keywords do I rank for? What keywords do my competitors rank for? What keywords should I be ranking for? How has my keyword rank changed?

Evaluate your current conversion tools: What elements of the site convert the most leads / sales? How many incomplete forms do I get? How can I increase conversions?

Slide 22: Personal recommendations not based on SCDL or PunkLogic endorsement.

Slide 23: Manage your own content: Landing pages for keyword ad campaigns. Usability: Just like a car, people expect certain elements to be in familiar positions.

Slide 27: Ugly website – I guess they figured it would cost too much to put right. One good thing is they have their endorsements prominently displayed. But text too long. They aren’t obeying some of the navigational conventions. The design feels unbalanced.

Slide 33: A quick word about tripadvisor…USE IT! What are your concerns? Negative comments are a blessing because they give you an opportunity to be REAL! That’s what people want!!!

slide 34: So we’ve discussed CONTENT – now lets talk about USABILITY because if you get that right, it’s almost impossible to mess up DESIGN

Slide 38: Google Places gets you top of the search rankings.

Slide 40: How to set up Google Places: http://bit.ly/h1DhcI

Slide 41: Avoid stock or DIY photography for the website.
Lock in: manage your domain and hosting directly.
Check programming language is universally known.
301 redirects on all pages if domain changes. Works like a change of address notice to the post office when you move house.

Slide 42: Budget – don’t buy on price – you set the budget. Be open. But just a word of advice: The cost of fully customised and professionally designed websites for small tourism businesses can vary between $3,000 to $20,000+ dollars. This generally includes a custom design, the programming into an open-source user and search engine friendly content management system and the population plus basic search engine optimisation of your content.
Research the developer market: there are very few bad developers but developers can do a bad job when they have too much work on or aren’t connected to your project.
Some questions to ask:
What is your development process? Does it exist in writing?
Where are the pitfalls likely to be in that process? Where do problems typically occur?
Are my objectives realistic?
Do you outsource any of the project?
Will you include my site in your portfolio when it’s completed? (How proud are they of the work?)

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