Early last year I was contacted by a potential new client for web design in Cork. On the face of it, an ordinary enough enquiry; design and develop a WordPress website, essentially an Irish Travel Blog Website, where the client could write and publish content. Then I checked out the social media activity, as I often do with a new client, to get a feel for what they do. At the time, Irish Explorer had around 50,000 Instagram followers!! (the account now has 70,000). This would be my most high profile client, in terms of reach, to date. There are household names with less followers than this. To say I was excited would be an understatement.
Irish Explorer is an extremely successful Instagram profile with a particular focus on Irish travel photography. To date, they have more than 70,000 followers. When they first contacted me they described a travel blog website, but it will be much more than that in the years to come. I’ll let them describe the goal of the website…
“Irish Explorer is the most popular Irish travel and culture website. We highlight the most inspiring experiences Ireland has to offer. Irish Explorer is the only website anyone will need to plan a trip anywhere in Ireland.
“I can’t thank Adam enough for all the help building the Irish Explorer website. Adam is fast, professional, organised and came with an abundance of ideas. Working with Adam on this project was very collaborative, any ideas we pitched he created. I would highly recommend him and FutureProof Digital :)”
The centrepiece of the website, from day one, is a drone video, professionally made for Irish Explorer, to showcase what Ireland has to offer tourists. It takes up the full height of the screen when users land on the homepage, and would make an excellent introduction to any Travel Blog Website. The video itself is not stored on the hosting servers with the rest of the website, it was uploaded to YouTube and embedded here. Self hosted video can really slow down a website.
The structure of the site was of the upmost importance to the client. It has to be as easy as possible for users to find the information they require about their destination. Many large content sites, Travel Blog Websites in particular get this wrong. In the main menu, available on every page, the user can select destinations, and be taken to an alphabetical list of Irish counties. There is also a custom, advanced search feature, that not only looks at the title of the content, but the copy as well.
Because Irish Explorer is a travel blog website, one of the most important aspects of the design is the mobile version. The website is fully responsive, as good looking and functional on mobile and tablet as it is on desktop. Tourists, when in Ireland can enter their location, read post about what to do there, and get the map location opened in Google maps.
Interaction is vital to all websites, if you don’t sell a physical product, and the content is your currency then it is even more important. The primary form of interaction for a content website is a Newsletter Sign-up. For Irish Explorer we created a pop-up for this, but it is only triggered after the user has scrolled a certain percentage of the page, or an intent to leave the website is detected.
The owners of Irish Explorer are very keen to write as much of the content as they can, but that wouldn’t be close to enough if they want to achieve their traffic targets. Guest posting is a long term play, but to start with we have set up a system of manual submission of posts via the contact page. In future updates of the website we may implement an auto matted system, whereby the first post/post author is manually approved and all future posts are published on the site automatically.
A travel blog website is all about the content. My job as a web designer is to present the content given to me in the most attractive, engaging, conversion ready and easy to navigate, way as possible. Many of the posts featured on the Irish Explorer website are in list format, this works well for tourism, but it also works well for search engines. All the websites developed here at FutureProof Digital have an SEO first ethos, everything has a ranking goal.
If you’re a small business owner, then you know that having a website is essential in today’s world. Not only does it give your customers another way to find out about your business, but it also allows you to reach a larger audience than you would be able to if you were only relying on word-of-mouth advertising. However, just because everyone has a website these days doesn’t mean that yours will be successful. It takes careful planning and execution to create a small business website that will help grow your company.
At FutureProof Digital, we understand the importance of small business websites. That’s why we specialize in creating websites that are not only visually appealing and user-friendly, but also optimized for search engines so that you can get the most out of your investment. We believe that a great website doesn’t have to be expensive, and we’re proud to offer some of the best prices in the industry. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact us today to learn more about our small business website design services. We’ll work with you to create a website that is perfect for your company and will help you reach your goals.
There will be more content published here at FutureProof Digital in relation to this project and the client’s future plans, it will not always be only a travel blog website. For example, this summer (2021) I will be back working for Irish Explorer developing the advertising and promotion of the website. Hotels, attractions, tours and hospitality providers will be able to register with Irish Explorer and advertise on pages related to their location. Stay tuned.
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Thank you for reading about this web design project…
If you run a business and you need a website (pro tip = you do) or your current website doesn’t look the way you want it to, function the way it should or perform how you need it to, get in touch. I don’t charge a penny for consultation, so finding out about what your business needs and what can be achieved for your budget is completely free. Use this form… we can meet in person, have a phone or Skype call or use email, it’s up to you…
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