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personal websites

Wondering if you really need a website?

 

If you're looking to find new customers and stand out in the industry, the answer is yes.


Websites add validity to businesses, especially ones that exist mostly online. They allow you to market yourself and your services, display review and testimonials, position yourself as an expert, and help with your overall marketing strategy.


A website doesn't have to be complicated - in fact, it shouldn't be. It doesn't need a lot of fancy bells and whistles. It just needs to clearly advertise who you are, what you offer, and how to reach you. 



If you don't have the budget to hire someone to create a website for you, that's ok. There's several options you can use to create one yourself.


Popular options:


Wix

WordPress

Squarespace



Research your options before committing to one (there's many more than these three). It can be a bit tedious to switch between hosts after you've already built your site and registered a domain.

 

Wix is generally the easiest to work with, especially if you've never created a website before. WordPress has a bit stiffer of a learning curve and may require frequent updating. Squarespace is as good as the others in terms of functionality, but not quite as user friendly. 

 

 

Tips for getting started:

Invest in a domain (this is your web address, like gotravelcompany.com) and hosting (someone has to host your website on the internet). While it's tempting to use the free options, a website called gotravelwithagent.com is a lot easier to remember than something like agent.wixsite.com. It also looks more professional. 

Map out what you want to include on your website on paper before starting to build it. User experience is everything on websites, so you want a simple site structure that is easy to navigate.

 

Use a template when you are getting started. Most online website creation tools offer many templates to choose from, and some of them are even specific to travel.

Choose a set of brand colours and fonts so you have a cohesive look and feel through all your branding. Don't use too many fonts - two or three is plenty. Don't use too many colours - pick no more than a handful that match well with your logo.

Choose your background colour and text colours carefully. Website visitors generally give you only a few seconds before deciding on whether to explore your site further or leave. Don't make it hard for them to read.

 

Use stunning imagery. If you are not a photographer, use stock photography. Do not steal images, link to images that are not yours, or use images full of supplier branding.

 

Do not use giant image files. Slow loading websites are annoying.

 

Put your menu and social media icons at the bottom. If you've done the work to get people to your website, don't give them the option to click away before they've looked around.

 

Check your spelling and grammar. Spelling matters a lot in this industry and a website full of typos will not instill confidence in potential clients.

 

Make sure your website looks good on computers, tablets, and phones. Many editing tools give you easy options to check how your website looks on different screens sizes and to adjust as needed.

 

It's ok to have a website that is just one page. If you don't have a lot of content, you don't need to separate all things into pages.

 

Clearly list your contact information, your business hours, your location, and the time zone you are in. Don't make it hard for potentials clients to get in touch with you.

Use the reference material. All of the editing tools mentioned here have very large user bases, which means they also have a lot of reference material online about how to do most anything. Some hosts also have online chats you can use to get help.

Have a friend review it before you tell people it's live. A second set of eyes can never hurt. Ask them if they found it easy to navigate? Could they identify what services you offer? 

Want to be found in Google searches? Learn at least the basics of SEO. There's lots of great tutorials on this online.

White space (space on a screen with no text or images or other design elements) is your friend. Space things out to make them easier to read or see. Don't cram everything together or use tiny fonts.

Include things users expect, like a link on every page that returns to the start (Home) and a Contact Us page. If your website only has one page, you can still create links to various sections using anchors.

 

Make use of the header (the top strip of your page) by including a call to action. This could be something like a button to contact you. Headers appear on every page of your site by default.

Also make sure of the footer. This is a great place to put your menu, as footers also appear on every page of your site by default.

Include a privacy policy. This is actually a legal requirement. You should also include terms and conditions. Do not copy these from other websites. 


 

Go Travel requirements for your website:

You must include on your website that you are a Go Travel independent agent, even if your domain is GoTravelWithName.com. This can be easily included in the footer.

 

 

Additional references:

 

5 Design Tips for a Professional Website

 

How to Design a Website

 

Ultimate Guide to Building a WordPress Website

 

How to Use Squarespace: 11 Easy Steps

 

Web Design Tips