Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The 12 Days of Website Best Practices

Today's content created by ... ME. Seems like everyone is doing a variation on the seasonal carol the 12 days of Christmas so I've joined the bandwagon! Plunked on my elf thinking cap and came up with

The 12 Days of Website Best Practices

12 premium photo galleries
Have at least 12 photo galleries on your site. Include pictures of all seasons, and include pictures with PEOPLE in them - be sure and get photo releases or use your family.

11 minimum updates to home page content per year
Update your home page ONCE a month. Even in the off season. So 12 is the optimal number but I gave you one month off :)

10 pages of content and description
Content is king. Include history of the area, and other delightful content to maintain search engine ranking and improve website visitor experience

9 or more rotating images in your flash banner
If you must have a rotating flash banner or images, make sure you have enough so that they don't get stale. A potential customer will visit your site at least 10 times.

8 or more Frequently Asked Questions and answers
Make your FAQ page extensive. If you're referring clients to it, make sure it's useful.

7 or less menu tabs
Keep your main menu selections to 7 or less. Yes you can do this and still have 10 or more pages of content. They're called sub menus. The less clutter on your site the better.

6 testimonials, guest reviews
I cannot stress the importance of guest reviews, the ability for guests to make their own feedback posts to your site, the ability of guests to reconnect with other guests via your site. It's invaluable to you as a tourism operator

5 videos of the property
If you're going to do videos, have at least 5. Videos should be short, under 2 minutes each, and so you will not be able to showcase the whole establishment in 2 minutes. And some clients will be looking to see just a specific area.

4 featured staff members and bios
Feature your staff, yourself as owners, community characters... someone. Add some local personality into your website

3 latest news stories
If you're operating the kind of establishment where you post a lot of news items etc, have only the last three showing on the home page and the rest in an archive. Be wary, the last thing you need on a website is a stale "latest news" item. So this one is also cautionary, if you can't have at least 3 current news items on at all times, then you shouldn't have any news items at all.

2 languages whenever possible
Whenever possible have at least a portion of your website in a second language, and it doesn't have to be French. Dutch, Mic Mac, German, Polish...anything that shows off your values and culture OR caters to the market you are trying to attract. People will stay on a site longer and absorb more information from a site if it is written in their native language

1 go to source for information
Make sure your website is your clients goto source for information. It should answer almost every question so that when they call to book, they are a pre-qualified caller. When you can't answer the phone, refer the caller to the website and let the site lead them on the same journey as you would over the phone.

Your website is your 24 hour sales person !

I hope you've enjoyed today's tourism tech edition of the 12 days of websites.

Contact me for a one-on-one website critique, mentoring session, helpful tips, and MORE!
Beth @@

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