Yesterday while researching sports tourism I discovered something important about Conway, South Carolina’s web presence – it’s confusing to a prospective visitor.
People researching travel on the Internet want web sites that quickly get them to the information they need, with a minimum of clicks to interior pages and a maximum of useful content.
Google Conway, SC and then search for your own town to compare how easy it is for visitors to find information using a search engine.
Conway is so compelling, I’d like to visit while I’m in the south next month. But it took me time to discover that.
Here’s what Google gave me:
Conway has several great sites providing tons of useful and interesting information. The problem is that links between them were not obvious, and I had to hunt for visitor information.
I came away with two impressions:
1. Conway isn’t really that interested in tourism.
2. There are lots of different groups in Conway, working on a variety of preservation, economic development, and recreation and leisure projects, but they don’t communicate among themselves very well.
One attraction of small town tourism is the rural experience it offers. Part of that experience that people crave is the sense of community one feels in a small town. Your town’s web presence needs to reflect that community cohesion.
Is Your Town in the same boat? Here’s what you can do:
1. Get your various town sites to link to each other on their home pages.
You want to look like a community, not a group of competing interests.
The City of Conway site has the first position on many Google search variations for Conway. That comes with particular responsibility to make information easily accessible. Unfortunately, they use hard to read logos for the links to other sites.
If you’re going to use clickable images for navigation, be sure to include the name of the organization as well.
On the other sites, links were buried or nonexistent, causing a frustrating hunt for visitor information.
2. Make sure that visitor information is easy to find – no more than three clicks away from the first page a searcher lands on.
The enormous number of quality sites on the Internet has made web users impatient with sites that require them to hunt for information.
Prospective visitors want to learn more about lodging, shopping, dining and recreation. Get those links in a highly visible location on your visitor information site, with easy to find links to this site from everywhere else.
If your chamber has a visitor and a local business information function, use a visitor tab like the Conway Chamber. But on the visitor page, make certain that lodging, dining, recreation and events options are each only one more click away.
You’re competing for attention with hundreds of other small towns. Don’t send your visitors off to the neighboring town in frustration because they can’t find the online visitor information they require.