Why have a web site

What is the function of a Web Page? Simple - the transfer of data. Data becomes information when you view the web page. Information becomes knowledge when you use it. The higher the quality of the data, the more efficiently its displayed and the faster it appears on a visitor's screen, the better.     

Why do People Visit Web Sites? Occasionally, to enjoy the site content but mainly to obtain enough information to make a choice. Whether to go here, or there for a holiday, whether to buy this car, this product, this service. Most people are in a hurry when they first see a web page. If they find the page useful at a glance, they will either save it or print it - then read it. Remember, their finger is always over the back button.

A good website

Then what makes a Good Web Site? Visually impressive sites are often dysfuntional sites - fancy animation and confusing navigation not only become tedious but degrade the rest of the content. Several components are required to interact before a web site becomes truly effective. These are, in general order of importance . . .

One sure way of attracting repeat visitors is by creating a resource area. Whether its pedigree llamas or antique lollipops, there will be someone interested in the general subject matter.

Make you site a useful a resource area

A Resource Area demonstrates you care about your area of expertise enough to share it with others. This can take the form of a 'Useful Links' page that lists links together with short descriptions to show that you have recommended them.

If you have enough confidence in your site and your product, also list links to competitors. If your site is good enough, they will return.

The resource area can then be expanded into a glossary of terms in your discipline, a history of the discipline and anything else you wish. If it is really useful, it will get linked to and will improve your search engine rankings dramatically.

It takes time and research but here are a few suggestions:

Such things keep your visitors in your site and encourage them to return. Even if there are other resources, improve on them, make your resource area more efficient.

Getting Feedback

Forms are the principal interactive instrument of the Internet yet little attention is given to their human side. The way in which you request information through a form tells your visitor a lot about you.

Always include an email address for those visitors who are form phobic and while you are at it, a full postal address. If possible, put your email address on every page.

Credibility

Crunch Time - do you appear credible to your visitor? Does your visitor trust you?

A professional 'look' to the site is important to establish trust as are client testimonials.

Finally, 'Usability Test'. Get two or three individuals who have never seen the site before to go through it while you watch. See where they get stuck. At the end, listen to their comments but remember - its what they do and not what they say that's important.

Search Engines

Your site is written, looks pretty, downloads like greased lightning, your resource area is done and all your links work. You think its finished? Think again. Your shingle is on the wall, but no-one's looking. The only person visiting your site is you. You need search engine exposure.

While there are limited tricks to getting good search engine rankings, only sites which also contain useful, well written content offering a quality product/service will ultimately be successful. A recognized Resource Area on your site is a sure fire way to increase search engine rankings.

There are hundreds of search engines, most of which change their rules constantly and most of which seem to be in profound transformation. Some search engines share their data with other search engines, some are free and some are paid.

Search engines change their rules both to give users more focussed feedback and to outwit sites that manipulate the rules to get good rankings and there are extensive differences between what one search engine will permit and what another will not.

Before putting pen to paper to start your site content, make a list of key words and phrases that typify and describe your business. There may be many more than you think.

Ensure that your titles, headings and content - particularly the first paragraph - are peppered with these words and phrases. These words and phrases should be those that potential visitors far away will use to find you. Put yourself in their position.

Your designer should know all the current tricks of the trade to get you 'above the fold', i.e. within the first ten results. Beware the 'We will Submit your site to 3,000 Search Engines' routine. Search engines know these people and penalise them. Remember that there are a few tricks to get a good ranking but search engines also penalize those sites they think are exploiting the system so therefore the web designer treads a fine line. What works well with one search engine is penalized by another.

Your web designer should be willing to submit your site to the main engines (perhaps at a fee) and because search engine rankings are time sensitive, you should ask what he intends to do to keep your site up there over the long term. You designer should offer a search engine optimization option for both its own sites and other's together with a bimonthly/quarterly optimization contract.

Finally, again, whilst search engine tricks will get you noticed, only the quality of your web site will keep you there. In the long term, the site will be judged on its merits.

Is YOUR Site Performing?

Spending an arm and a leg getting a web site designed in no way guarantees that it will be at all successful. Here are some pointers that indicate how well your site may do:

A pretty site is only 10% of an effective site and if it takes forever to download then just forget it. If your site is not effective, then why bother having it? For a site to be a success, all the following must coincide:

What is your target audience? Do you know? People over 50 have the greatest amount of disposable income and are the fastest growing segment of web users. Have you made allowances in your site to accommodate older visitors? Does your colour scheme confuse those with colour blindness?

Getting a Web Designer

My story: My first site was done by me. A total mess and it was useless. So I turned to a professional. For R3000 we produced a site that looked great but was still useless. So I paid another R14000 to improve it for search engines and it did get better but by no means did I get the results I had expected. Then I found  site-build-it a  web hosting product that has turned out to be the solution for me. It costs about R3000. It delivers all the tools necessary and tells you what you need to know without all the tech talk. I now have a site that generates me enough bookings for our guest house that I don't need to advertise or pay commissions to booking agents any more. This Drakensberg Site too is created using site-build-it

Thinking of getting the neighbour's/relative's son/nephew to do your site?

. . . 99% guaranteed, you will get a site that is sloppy and reflects badly on your business. It is truly false economy - degraded reputation, lost visitors, lost business, no after sales service. You're paying the monthly hosting to steer your visitors to your competitors!

If you regard your own business as professional, then pay a little extra and get a web site designer whose livelihood depends upon his professionalism.

The price of a site depends on many factors - graphic complexity, number of pages, site structure, browser compatibility, ongoing services amongst others - basically the time involved. 

Remember, your site is a reflection of your business integrity - we provide sites that you will be proud of and customers will remember. Throughout your dealings with us you will get unbiased advice and personal attention.


More resources about building an internet marketing strategy for tourism services using the internet

If you have any questions about any of this then drop me a mail or give me a ring 036/3523143 and I will see if I can help you. I am not an internet expert or an internet provider rather a tiny guest house owner in the foothills of the Drakensberg. All I can give you is a wealth of information on how to go about promoting your tourism service by building a website yourself affordably. 

marketing21 why a website Links

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

marketing21 why a website

 

 

 

Home
Provinces
   - Mpumalanga
   - KwaZulu Natal
   - Western Cape
   - Eastern Cape
   - Limpopo
   - North West
   - Free State
   - Northern Cape
   - Gauteng
Regions
   - Drakensberg
   - Garden Route
   - West Coast
   - Wild Coast
   - Winelands
   - Karoo
   - Kalahari
   - Panarama Route
   - Kruger Park
   - North Coast
   - South Coast
Accommodation
Tours
Hiking Trails
Adventure
Culture
Birding
Horse trails
Wildlife
World Heritage Sites
Bushman Rock Art
Whale watching
Luxury trains
Arts & Crafts
4x4 off-roading
Tourist Information
Towns & places
Museums
Weddings
Events
Beer & Wine
Entertainment
Central reservations
Books
Cooking at its best
frequent questions
Ecards
Newsletter
Enter Your E-mail Address

Enter Your First Name (optional)

Then

Your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you "Discover South Africa" newsletter