Musings About SEO, WordPress and Thesis for Rural Tourism Businesses

by Joanne Steele on May 10, 2010

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As you might expect, I spend lots of time combing the Internet for the latest and greatest information that might be useful for rural tourism business people and towns.SEO scrabble

This weekend, one of the bloggers I follow posted a great article on search engine optimization (SEO) for small business owners.

“Taming the Small Business Search Engine Beast” is a guest post by Mark Hayward at Problogger.net. It will answer some of your questions about SEO. It will also help you change your thinking a bit about how to turn your rural tourism business website into a customer attraction tool.

Why Update a Static Website Using WordPress

This may provide you with the incentive you need to consider updating your static website into a WordPress blog format. In  “Is Your Rural Tourism Business Website a Marketing Asset or Liability?” I talked about how important it is to be able to regularly add new content to your website. That is the flexibility that a WordPress website will give you.

I want to stress that having a WordPress site, which is used by most bloggers these days, doesn’t mean you have to blog daily.  You can create a rural tourism business website using the WordPress software that will look like a regular website. You will have the flexibility to add new content at your convenience rather than whenever you can afford for a webmaster to do it for you. IT IS AN AFFORDABLE OPTION FOR SMALL BUSINESSES.

As you read further in Mark Hayward’s article, you’ll get into more advanced ideas about improving your SEO. Don’t let it overwhelm you. He covers lots of fairly easy to implement ideas that you can incorporate over time. Just knowing about keyword phrases and writing good content for SEO will help you update your site for better SEO.

How WordPress and your Thesis Theme Work

Also, many of you know that I’m a big fan of the Thesis theme for WordPress. As a reminder, when you make the shift from a static website to a WordPress site, you or your webmaster will enable WordPress through your Internet Service Provider. That’s like building the foundation and framing for your structure. You then need to add a theme like Thesis to your WordPress site, which is like adding the electrical, plumbing, sheetrock and flooring, so that you can add all the paint, fixtures etc. that make your structure unique to you (your color, graphics, font styles, column structure, pages etc.).

Thesis is the theme I think works best for small business people who want to do as much as possible for themselves. It’s easy to use, powerful and flexible. I started out a year ago with a free theme that I chose based on how pretty it was. Mistake!! I fought it for 6 months before switching to Thesis.

In Mark’s article, he recommends using the WordPress plugin, All In One SEO. It’s a great little piece of software, but unnecessary if you have Thesis. Thesis has all those features built in.

When to Make the BIG SWITCH?

So, the question for many of you is, should you make the big switch from a static website right now? Perhaps, but it depends on your tourism season. My team and I have found that there is a temporary drop in traffic as search engines reorient to your new site. Then, after 3 to 6 weeks, traffic picks up better than ever as you implement a more effective online marketing strategy and WordPress/Thesis does what it does best.

If you’re at the beginning of your busiest time of year, wait to make a big shift. You could stick a WordPress blog onto the existing static website to give yourself an SEO boost, and finish the job of redoing your whole site during your down season. The new attached blog (ie, yourwebsite.com/blog) would allow you to post news, events and interesting enticements throughout the coming season This is a good inexpensive option.

You can also use your season to shift your marketing thinking to learn everything possible about your Perfect Customer and gather images and testimonials for the new site.

Here are several previous posts about marketing to your Perfect Customer and preparing for your new site:

Rural Tourism Marketing Secret: Step Into the Mind Of Your Customer

Small Town Tourism Marketing: What Wild Elephants Can Teach Us

If you haven’t already, be sure to download my free e-book, Marketing For Free in 2010. Sign up on the form to the right on this page.

Cool photo by Rich Brooks.

1 Christine Taylor May 11, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I love the fact you are promoting blogging for ag! Alliance Tire Americas

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