Over the years we have launched WordPress websites across many many different industries. If you stick around long enough though you end up coming around to the same industry over and over. Sometimes this is word of mouth, people recommending us to their peers. We regularly see enquiries where a prospective client sees our work, they are in the same field so contact us to do something similar for them. We find ourselves doing lots of financial services website projects, regular projects in the wedding industry and the topic of this article, websites for the travel industry.
What makes a good travel website?
I think the stand out feature of any travel website is great imagery. People want to come to a site and be swept away in the possibilities of where that next holiday might take them. There’s nothing like excellent photos to get this job done.
Of course, like any other website you have to ensure that it loads quickly, that’s important both for user experience and for your search engine optimisation. Having an image heavy site load quickly is not an impossible but it does required some extra attention.
When we finalise our WordPress projects we deliver a training session to show our client how to drive the website. Part of this is discussing the optimal way to display images on the site. Cropping them to the exact size, using JPG compression are things that we as developers take for granted. It’s important that the user that is adding content to the site on a regular basis also is across these techniques.
Hosting that’ll make a website fly!
(ok that is a relatively bad travel joke… )
Sites that are big on images need to also ensure that the hosting environment is doing as much as it can to deliver the images quickly. WordPress hosting that serves content from a CDN can make a world of difference to websites like this. In short a CDN delivers static content (like images) from multiple servers located around the globe. Read my blog post “WordPress hosting; time to add a CDN?” to learn more about Content Distribution Networks.
Why WordPress for travel sites?
Like many websites, a travel site will need some standard pages, about the business, the contact page etc.. These sites also contain content like tour itineraries and this is where a little customisation can go a long way.
Different layouts and content require different approaches inside WordPress. In years gone by all content for a specific page would probably end up in the WordPress main editor.
The problem with this approach is that it provides very little structure for the content. It’s all just there. When different users comes to add content to the site there is little or no visual cue as to where things go. The result of this is that the content displayed on the site will, over time, become inconsistent.
WordPress has matured, along with the ecosystem of plugins that surround it so that there is a lot of different options for the setup of content. Now, here we are talking about travel sites but the same is true for sites covering different subject matters.
This week we relaunched PotterTravel.com.au – it’s a good example of how WordPress can be customised to showcase specific content types.
The site features a number of tours with itineraries. Instead of putting all the content in the default page editor, we have build a bespoke interface that makes it a lot easier to use. A user that is new to the site could easily step through the various fields presented and add a new tour to the website.
Below is a screen shot, showing our customisations.
When this page of content is displayed each of the fields are treated in a specific way. The screenshot below show the finished product. The result is constant across many users editing and adding to website content.
If you’d like to check our some of our work in this field, certainly start with PotterTravel.com.au. Also see South Australian based Aussie Getaways. It’s a project we launched a couple of years back but still looks great today.