From last minute airfare steals to world trip reviews, travel websites are big business these days. That means two things for your travel website. First, the good news: no matter what travel niche your site is covering, you’ve got a huge audience that’s eager to learn more about the subject at hand. Now, the bad news: there are thousands and thousands of other travel websites all fighting to be found. How is your site going to stand out?
Sure, the big guys like TripAdvisor, Expedia, Frommers, Lonely Planet and Afar may capture a big chunk of search traffic. But with smart promotion, you can still build a strong audience for your website. These five tips will help you break through the cyber clutter and promote your website to the right target audience.
1. Stay active on social media. If you have a blog on your travel website or you regularly post new travel articles, then social media should be your first avenue for promotion. Use a social media dashboard, like HootSuite, to schedule promo posts for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Don’t just post a boring phrase like “check out our latest travel post” – give your followers a reason to click-through to your post by teasing out an interesting travel stat, controversial opinion, or creative idea.
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2. Tie-in your content with the seasons. Thanksgiving weekend is arguably the busiest travel weekend of the year – and the two weeks around Christmas and New Year’s are also heavily trafficked. Use seasonal travel as a hook for crafting a story and promoting your website. For example, if your website focuses on last minute getaway deals, include a seasonal blog post aimed at under-the-radar holiday escape destinations. Or post a list of tips for dealing with holiday travel headaches like flight delays and long road trips. Seasonally-relevant posts with useful content are more likely to be re-shared via social media than a generic travel post.
3. Be SEO-savvy. Sure, you don’t want to stuff your website content with too many keywords or optimize for awkward keyword phrases – Googlebots can spot ‘over-optimization’ from a mile away – but you do need to be smart about SEO. For starters, this means if you’re publishing a travel review, get the name of the place or service in the title, along with the word “review”. For example, if you publish a review on best Napa Vineyards, choose an SEO friendly title like “Top 5 Hidden Napa Vineyards Reviewed” or “Best Places to Drink Wine in Napa Reviewed”.
4. Comment on other blogs. If you’re just getting started with your website, a great way to raise your profile is to engage with more popular travel blogs. For example, you can comment on travel blogs and share your unique expertise as it relates to your website. When you’re writing comments, be careful not to come off as “comment spam” – say something meaningful and relevant. Remember, quality matters more than quantity. As you build relationships with travel bloggers, you can also ask permission for a sponsored guest blog, which is a great way to get your content in front of new readers and raise your own website’s profile.
5. Connect offline. Social media, SEO, and blogging are all smart ways to build a virtual following. But there are plenty of offline opportunities too – and they don’t all involve expensive paid print advertising in travel magazines. For example, travel events are great ways to connect with fellow travelers in person; be sure to bring business cards to hand out for your website! In New York, popular meetups include New York Travel Massive, NYC World Travelers Group, and the New York International Adventure Travel Club. Find a meetup in your city and start promoting!
Recommendation: Submit your travel site to the AddMe Business Directory. It will help you get more exposure for your business both in terms of SEO and direct traffic.