How to build a tourism website. Tips to pick the right web developer, save time and boat loads of cash.

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Pick the right partner to build your website.

Trust your gut. Digital marketing and web development is an industry frought with danger for the naive.

I’ve been in the industry for over a decade. I empathise with business owners and marketers. You’re really up against it when you’re trying to work out who to work with it.

There’s no stopping someone that knows very little about either tourism marketing or developing a website for your tourism business saying they can.

The problem doesn’t only lie with freelancers, either. Oh no.

Some of the biggest swindlers I’ve seen in the industry have been in agencies.

When you have nothing else to go one, trust your gut. But….

Take it from someone that has been around web development for a long time, there are other things you can and should do to qualify potential partners.

  1. Ask them for examples of other websites they’ve build.
  2. Ask them for referrals from similar (website) clients.
  3. Check to see if those websites are ranking for keywords in their industry.
  4. Try and find someone who has been through the process numerous times before, to help you qualify your web developer.
  5. Get everything in writing. The project scope, who pays for what, what isn’t included in the quote, what is included. Ask about hosting and support ongoing as well. This is often an after shock if you haven’t spoken about it already.

Know what to look for in a web developer.

They can demonstrate they have experience doing what they say they can. Which doesn’t necessarily mean they have to have built similar websites in your industry.

If your website isn’t particularly technical, it’s more of a brand builder or brochure; really, any web developer could build the site.

If you’re integrating with a third-party tool or booking platform, some knowledge of that may be helpful. Depending, of course, on the depth of integration.

Here’s the thing, however. So long as your web developer is proficient with code, they’re a magician.

They’ll be able to do whatever you need them to. You don’t have to work with someone who has worked with an integration you need.

If you do have a booking function or some other third party connection that needs to be made, the first thing I’d recommend is having a chat with their team. You’ll quickly get a sense of how technical a developer you need.

Most of the time, a tiny bit of code is all that is required to lightly integrate something like a Rezdy or another booking platform into your site.

Unless, of course, you’re looking to spend tens of thousands of dollars on your site, in which case, perhaps you’re looking for complete integration.

Be clear about what you want.

Provide examples of websites you like and do your best to articulate what you like.

Colours, feel, functionality, form.

Don’t say ‘I’m not creative so Ill leave it up to you.’ We can all point to something we like the look of, or don’t.

The more you can share at this stage, the closer the end result will be inline with your hopes, and gut feel for the result you’re after.

Engage yourself in the process the entire time.

If your developer shows you a design of the website, thoughtfully critique it.

Not to find flaws, to look at it as if it was the built website about to go live. Provide feedback consistently through the process.

Don’t wait until the fully built website is presented to notice things. If you do, it’ll cost you time and money.

Clients often have multiple opportunities to see a website prior to it being ready to go live. Yet consistently, they’ll act surprised by something close the 11th hour.

You are hiring an expert. Let them do their job.

What do they say about contracts… If you need a contract, you don’t trust the person you’re working with, so you should question working with them at all from the start. Something like that?

If you don’t think you can trust the person you work with to develop your website, perhaps don’t work with them in the first place.

If you do trust them, trust them to do the job.

When you start meddling with the design, hierarchy, or user interface, you will almost certainly compromise the end result. It’s self-sabotage, and you won’t even realise you’re doing it.   

If possibly can, get out of the way and let them do their job.



'An Absolute Must-Do'; the Book.

A concise framework to build a tourism business that people love, pay more for, and rave about.