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So you’ve just become a tour business owner. Ideally, you have your business plan, your tours organised, and even the branding in place – the basics of any new tour business. As important as any of this, though, is a robust online presence.

In this piece, we explore the essential elements that have to come together to make a tour operator website functional, accessible and effective for your new tour operation. Here’s our step-by-step guide to success setting up online:

Registering Your Domain

First, you need to think about your domain name. Your domain name is the address where Internet users access your website. It’s what you type into a browser’s address bar to visit a website, like in a new tab). In other words, it is your business address on the internet and should be as easy to find as possible. Easy, right?
Well, as you begin your domain registration process, you will need to consider numerous factors:
Ensure the domain reflects either your brand name, tours, or services, if your company name does all of that then great!

Use a Top-Level Domain (TLD): The suffix at the end of the domain name, such as .com, .org, .net, etc. These can be more expensive but are worth it as these TLDs generate trust. A country-specific TLD is also fine for tour businesses primarily based in one country.

Check the availability of the domain by using search tools to check if your desired domain is available.
Use a tool such as a in a new tab) to check your potential domain authority.(opens in a new tab)
Registering your domain: You will need to buy your domain with a company that manages the reservation of domain names (e.g., GoDaddy, Namecheap).

Other considerations: If you’ve taken over an existing tour business then there might already be an established domain for your business. It is important to check that the domain has not been blacklisted as the process to have this removed can be long and arduous. Finally, some people choose to purchase several domains, and drive traffic from all of them to a single website.

Choosing a Website Host

Once you have reserved your domain, you will need to choose a website host. Web hosts provide the technologies and services needed for your website to be viewed on the Internet. Hosting services store your website’s files on powerful servers that are connected to an ultra-fast network. Your website host should ensure your site is accessible, loads quickly, and is safe from hackers. Your web host must protect your files so they can’t be stolen or corrupted. Additionally, you need to choose from three hosting options available – shared hosting, virtual private server (VPS), or dedicated servers. Before you choose, it is best to consider the amount of site traffic your website is likely to get. If you’re a small business then shared hosting or a VPS is fine.

If you get a site with TourismTiger, then you’ll soon discover that website hosting is included in our TigerCare package(opens in a new tab) so you don’t have to worry about organising this! One less worry off your mind!
Building Your Website

There are many different ways to build a website, the three most popular routes are either via a Content Management System (CMS), a Website Builder, or Custom Development. What you decide to go for will depend on your time and budget. If you’re planning on doing it all yourself, then your level of expertise will also play a big part in your decision.

Many people think they have the time to build a website, especially as Website Builders and Content Management Systems make the job much easier than it used to be. However, it can still be a daunting and time-consuming task especially if you want some of the advanced features that successful tourism websites often require.
A CMS allows users to create, manage, and modify content on a website without much technical knowledge. Once it has been set up for your desired purpose, it should be user-friendly. Although depending on the quality and robustness of the CMS setup, frustrations are common for non-technical users especially if no specialised developer was used to help you.

Website builders- in theory- are even easier to use with a quick setup, drag-and-drop functionality in pre-designed templates, and integrated hosting and domain services. However, the limitations of such a site often proves to be a barrier to success and growth. Website builders have limited storage and bandwidth, a lack of customisation options, very little customer support, and SEO is non-existent on many of the templates. You may also find you don’t have full ownership of your domain and website.

At TourismTiger we have our own specialized theme built in WordPress, the CMS of our choice. Our team of experts is constantly updating and developing our theme to enhance the user experience and stay current with cutting-edge technology. We can also provide training so tour business owners can make website changes themselves if they choose.

Getting a Website Designer

If you’re not using a website builder, then you will probably need to think carefully about your website design. This includes considering the layout, color schemes, typography, and interactive elements that your website will have. If you’re using a free CMS or website builder, much of this is done for you, but only to a basic standard. A well-designed website should enhance user experience, ensuring visitors can easily navigate and find the information they need, which is why many businesses have their websites built by professionals so the site can easily be expanded as the business grows.

If you want to explore beyond the free website builders, then the key elements to consider when choosing your advanced CMS or Custom Developer are User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX), both of these contribute heavily to the overall feel of the site and how users interact with it. Additionally, responsive design is also vital as it ensures the website looks and functions well on all devices, from desktops to mobile phones.

Creating Content & SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Last but no means least is your website content and the SEO considerations alongside it. SEO involves optimising your website so it ranks higher in search engine results pages (often abbreviated to SERPs). Good SEO practices increase the visibility of your website, attracting more organic traffic. This is typically done by creating genuine content (resist the urge to use AI!) on your site that is well-written and relevant but also incorporates keywords. In basic terms, keywords are the terms people use to search for content related to your site. Identifying what these are and working it into your content is an essential element for driving traffic to your site. Moreover, high-quality, relevant content engages visitors and encourages them to return, share, and convert. Additionally, you will need to add your on-page SEO which is optimising each individual page of your site, by including meta tags, headings, and content. To help your business grow then you may wish to explore off-page SEO which is building backlinks from other reputable sites to improve your site’s authority.

By understanding these components and how they work together, you can build and maintain a successful website that attracts visitors, engages users, and achieves your online goals. A basic website can help serve a purpose, but if you really want to see your tour business grow – then book a call with our sales team!

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