I love Google. They take their philosophy seriously, and the result is a constant flow of fantastic free tools that help small rural business compete in the global market.
Here’s another goodie from Google that anybody who can turn on a computer and follow directions can use to create a sophisticated, informative tourism map.
It can include your business and all the surrounding services and attractions. You can outline scenic drives and trails. You can show customers the best way to get to you. You can add pictures, UTube video, directions, cute little icons and more.
If you aren’t tech savvy, you’ll need help adding the resulting HTML code to your website to create the mashup. It will take less than 10 minutes.
You’ll be generating the map, using the included instructions.
At the BC Rural Tourism Conference, Dave Whiting of the Thompson Rivers University’s Red Tree Project presented this clear, step by step process. I love his easy to understand instructions! Download the pdf, Inserting a Google Map into your Website, which will walk you through the process.
Who needs a map on their website? Everyone.
People love maps, especially maps that tell them everything they need to know about an area in one interactive screen.
These Google Maps will make your site more smartphone friendly. I’m just one small voice in the chorus of many more influential people who are saying that within very few years, pcs are out and smartphones are in.
Your fancy, content rich rural tourism business website that is as essential NOW will need another facelift THEN. Your Google Map will be the bridge, giving all the info anyone needs, on those little tiny phone screens.
I’ve said this before, the Internet is global. People from all over the world can land on your site, and not know where in the world they are. Your new interactive Google Map will position them in your area.
But you need to do more…
Be sure that your homepage headlines and content position you in a town, state or province AND COUNTRY! When I google “rural tourism” I’m just as likely to end up in India or Ireland as I am in British Columbia, Canada or Leavenworth, Kansas, US. Sometimes I’ve had to search three pages deep to determine where I am. Most of your prospective customers won’t do that. They’ll back out of your site and go somewhere else that tells them where they are!
Have fun creating your map. Email your results and I’ll feature you in a future Google Map Mashup post.