How to Build and Create an Awesome Travel Website Brand
Creating or growing a brand is one of my favourite things to do, if not my favourite. It never used to be, I used to get daunted by the competition and what I had to offer or what I would do with the site. Now I build MVPS for fun on weekends.
Here my top tips
Choosing the Best Travel Blog Name
One of the first things you need to decide on when starting a blog. It is easy to get trapped in the circle of picking a name that is unique and that no one else will have, while still having a name that reflects who you are as a blogger and traveler.
These tips will help you find a name that completely suits your blog, while still staying unique, easy for readers to remember, and also a name that can’t be confused with numbers or symbols.
Make your name, brand or website memorable
One of the many mistakes bloggers make with their names is that they choose one that is relevant to their current situation. Names such as “AsiafortheYear” have a very clear problem, that is actually not too obvious.
What if you have planned a tour of Asia for the next year, you want to start a blog and document your journey. You give your blog that name, “AsiafortheYear”, and you think you have it sorted and can move on.
The problem with a name like this is that what if you are almost done with your trip, and decide you want to stay for another year? Your name doesn’t make much sense after that, and to change it is costly and a lot of unnecessary effort.
Like we mentioned above, your name should be short, memorable, easy to remember and easy to share. One or two words is the best, and sitting for a few minutes writing down a bunch of words that describe you, your potential adventures and your style would help.
Using a thesaurus on the most common words will give you a unique angle on a common direction that travel bloggers take. Once you have all your words, start mixing and matching with different combinations.
Avoiding Hyphens and Numbers
Not using hyphens and numbers can be very difficult in this day and age considering the vast number of domain and blog names out there. This is where your word research above is going to be the most vital.
Numbers and hyphens are difficult to explain to people, they are also difficult to remember. If you have the number “56” in your name for some reason, you will constantly be having to explain if it is the number “56” or the words “fifty-six”.
Avoid Overused/Common Words
This can be made easier with a thesaurus, but avoid common travel words such as “Adventure”, “Traveling”, “Nomadic” etc. these words are almost all already taken by bloggers that have been in the game for much longer than you.
These names also won’t stand out at all, as they would have been used by many thousands of other people. You can easily find a synonym for a common travel word that is completely unique and barely, if not never, used.
The best option is to think 5 years ahead when it comes to your name. Names like “ProNomadic” may not be true when you start as you won’t be a professional, but if you are serious about this blog, that name will come into its own.
Don’t be scared to oversell what and who you are when it comes to your name, like said above, if you are passionate and committed, the name will be true in a very short amount of time.
Choosing a blog name may seem simple, but it does require some serious thinking and effort on your part. You want a name that stands out, a name that rolls off the tongue, and one that people can easily share.
One of the things I see people struggle with the most is choosing a business, you sit there brainstorming names for hours and hours, sometimes the process goes into weeks, months and years. Trust me, I’ve been there. Many times.
There are a few things you need to consider when branding yourself or starting your business. One of the most important is your name.
Coming up with a name
There are many many techniques to coming up with names like but first you need to decide whats it going to be about, what words will be able to describe it or what sounds catchy, hopefully you can achive all of these.
I’m sure everyone has a process, here is mine:
- I always like to check out some stats when I’m choosing a name (like the keyword modifier, I chose “online” or “travel” for this job)
- WRITE down the names you are thinking of buying and when you have 5… short list to 3 ..
- Collect and check all your words for your name
- Reading a dictionary (No jokes, this is how I named my personal blog OnlineGusto)
I downloaded “The 4000 English Words Essential for an Educated Vocabulary” and liked how easy gusto was to say and the meaning behind the word. “great energy, enthusiasm, and enjoyment that is experienced by someone taking part in an activity, especially a performance:”
Validating your business idea
You can use Google trends to find out what search is increasing and what is decreasing. You generally dont want to go into a business that has passed its peak.
Is anyone else doing it? You can check out Flippa
When asking my friends I would ask what name hey thought was best and woud say my options “ 2travelcents.com, travelcheater.com tworavelcents.com spelt out or world trips”. More then often the first response was “travelcheater and what are the other options again?” This showed me that travelcheater for some reason stuck in their mind.
Creating a poll
There are many different platforms to create polls but i went to social media when I was happy with my names. This is a great way to decide and also a really great growth hack for later.
Checking the names
This is the stick or ditch stage, is it going to stick or are you going to go back to square one.
What does your name mean, can it be interpreted into something else in another country, is it user-friendly.
Now you have a few names that you like you need to check them on social media and domain names, so many people have told me they do this individually.
There are easier ways guys. www.namechck.com checks the name you want on EVERY social media network you can think of and checks the domain. It’s the best and first tool you should be using when checking for a name.
Checking the competition
Ok there are a few ways to do this, you can Google your name and see who comes up first and do an assessment like , search your idea with different phrases a vast of time over, make sure no one is doing it, or make a comprehensive list of all the people who are. Now you have lightly assessed your competitors.
Also see if any of their names are write on top with the worlds “ad or sponsored” these would be the companies paying for advertising and you would be some of your biggest online competition
NamingMatters will give you a snapshot of the current naming landscape vs your query.
Creating your Logo
You can hold a competition
Choose someone off Fiver
Or hire a proffesional
Essentials to a Travel Website
If you are a passionate traveller and want to share your adventures with the world, a travel blog or website is the best way to do it. The only problem is, you haven’t made one before and you aren’t sure what goes into it exactly.
Instead of paying someone to make the website for you, which can sometimes cost an astronomical amount of money, using a site like WordPress makes website and blog creation easy, there are just some pointers you need to remember when creating your site.
- One of the most essential aspects is to keep your website design clean and easy to navigate. Making it intuitive and simple will keep people around on it for longer, making it complicated or confusing to use will turn people off and send them elsewhere.
- Make sure your site loads quickly. High-res images and Flash can and will slow a website down, forcing people to leave before it loads up and it most cases, not returning.
- Use very friendly language. You should type like you are speaking to a loved one and avoid using harsh rules up front such as “No kids allowed” etc. Readers will respond better if they feel like they are talking to a friend.
- Use beautiful images, don’t upload a ton of mediocre or poor quality images, rather have a few that are either done professionally or are high-quality.
- Always make sure your info and links are up to date and current, you don’t want a website that is full of news or stories from 5 years ago.
- Clearly, one of the best ways to engage an audience is to have a blog documenting your adventures. Try to post regularly, but so regularly that the posts feel forced. Keep them engaging but consistent.
- Make sure your social media links are visible on every page throughout the site. We have all seen the small Facebook or Twitter boxes at the bottom or to the side of pages, ensure yours are there too.
- Use the Google Map plugin to share your current location when travelling. People will use this website to travel with you, they want to be part of the journey.
- Always make sure your site is optimised for mobile use. This requires constant attention when posting or making changes to the site. This is important and most people use their smartphones or tablets on the go, therefore they are most likely going to be viewing your content from these platforms.
- A clever trick is to link your enquiry page to your newsletter mailing system, as this will then save the enquiry to your database, which you can then use for future marketing. You don’t want to miss out on any potential business.
- Keep your copy simple and to the point when describing hotels, locations and the such. Readers will respond better to great images, and once again, it allows them to get a better idea of where you are and what you are describing.
- Focus on the USP’s of your area and experience. People will almost always buy an experience and not bedrooms.
- Offers readers real-time availability by installing a third party plugin. This will ensure you don’t miss out on business, and let your readers know that you genuinely care about their questions and enquiries.
- In your gallery, ensure the images are the best of the best, one’s agents or other businesses can use. This shows a level of professionalism as well.
- Your “Contact Us” section should include a direct email address that readers can use and not a long, tedious form that they need to fill out. Include your business phone number if you have one too.
- Ensure that readers can reach any part of your website from the homepage with only a few clicks. It is common knowledge that readers get impatient and annoyed if they have to spend more than a few seconds trying to find what they are looking for.
- Include videos of your travels, or an introductory video on your site. Embed this video on the page to keep people on your site and stop them from having to go to Youtube.
- If you have a newsletter, encourage people to sign up to it using some kind of incentive. Nobody really likes signing up for newsletters cause they think they are spam, but including “Sign up for our newsletter to be first in line for upcoming specials” is much more appealing.
These are some points and tricks you can easily implement into your site when you are first designing it and setting it up. Always remember to view it from a reader’s perspective and not from a business perspective.
The user experience is the most important part as the main goal is to not only get people to your site but to keep them there long enough for them to decide to do business with you, recommend you or simply share your content.
Marketing plan for your Website