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Using WordPress to Power Your Website

July 16th, 2007 · 10 Comments · Destination Marketing

Over at geek ramblings there’s a collection of 14 sites that use WP as a CMS. I need some help.

An Unofficial Guide to Destination Marketing and Web Design

I’m always looking for examples of non-bloggy looking WordPress powered sites – particularly official destination promotion sites. Anyone know of any?

Update: The Ultimate CMS – Photo Gallery with Google Map

A simple/solid CMS and your own hosted photo gallery – ALL FOR FREE

Marry the two back-end applications with the WPG2 plugin. Now you just need to theme it to your liking – heck, you might have money leftover to hire a theme designer. Is that too cool or what?

Update: Surprisingly, the most well-developed sites are Christian related. Interesting. Could it be that they are on a low-budget which drives them to this solution? Why are there so few official tourism sites? High budgets may explain this.

Update: I’m starting a related link dump here for my own purposes.

Update: If anyone cares, this post will attempt to establish a new paradigm in destination marketing and web design.

Design and Philosophy

Using WordPress to Publish a Magazine or News Site – One of the posts that got this ball rolling.

Exploring the Pseudo-Static Pages of WordPress – “Uh, why are we using blog software?”

Using WordPress as CMS – Article series.

Customizing WordPress Templates – an excellent list of general design changes necessary to make a non-blog site. Only drawback to sole use of the page system is the lack of category tags. What I’d really like to know is how to make unique sidebars for page “nodes”.

WordPress Garden

Would You Visit These US States Based on Their Web Sites? – All the US States, with screenshot.

Building Rockin’ Cool Church Websites: Master Story List – This is seriously cool.

Destinations and the benefits of blogging – “Analysts cite blogs, social networking sites and natural search engine optimisation as massive opportunities for the travel industry, with some going as far to suggest that they should form part of every organization’s online marketing strategy.”

Online Travel Planning Popularity Varies – DMO’s should : 1) have a good website, 2) incorporate travel2.0 features, 3) recommend travel literature, and 4) convert traffic to travel product sales.

Pennsylvania Technology Venture to Promote State Tourism

Governor Edward G. Rendell announced Monday that Pennsylvania will become the first state in the nation to capitalize on the Google Earth platform by using a new, cutting-edge technology to make tourism an interactive experience from anywhere in the world.

The Governor said the state will provide a $285,000 grant to support an unprecedented partnership between Google Earth, Carnegie Mellon University, NASA, the Pennsylvania Tourism Office and the National Civil War Museum that will allow ‘virtual tourists’ from all corners of the globe to immerse themselves in Pennsylvania’s Civil War trails.

WordPress as CMS – Drikatruu Jelly

Empowering Services – “My fees are $750 to set-up the site and train the client to maintain it.” Gads…I can do that….for less?

ACMS WordPress Theme – ACMS (not a blog) is a theme that turns WordPress into a Content Management System. A little template and CSS tweaking could make this wheel work for most.

A look inside the WordPress database – A great explanation – makes that codex article come alive.

Socialize your site for better insights – “How many times have you sat around with friends, colleagues or family talking about something you’re passionate about? Golf, shoes, cars, food: whatever it may be, these conversations undoubtedly contained valuable information that relevant companies would like… no… love to know. While this information is out there and can present incredible benefits to businesses, companies have never been able to tap it on a massive scale.”

Customer Reviews Increase Web SalesNearly all survey respondents thought ratings and reviews were either extremely helpful or very helpful “as consumers.”

Effect of Customer-Generated Ratings and Reviews on Select Web Site Metrics in the Past Year according to Online Retailers in the UK, the US and Europe, June-July 2007 (% of respondents)

Leading Benefits of Customer-Generated Ratings and Reviews according to Online Retailers in the UK, the US and Europe, June-July 2007 (% of respondents)

Allowing User Generated Content on Destination Sites – “You have to decide whether you are serving your members or the visitor. In Atlanta, we’re serving the visitor.

Content Time Comes at Search’s Expense – Content is King.

10 ways to lose visitors to your website

  1. Provide too many options or choices – Simple drill-down navigation, logical taxonomy
  2. Provide too much information – Stay on topic, focus on the mission
  3. Provide too little information – Give people what they want
  4. Provide too many distractions – Skip scrolling text, flash movies, useless decoration
  5. Provide too many barriers – reduce the number of clicks to reach any location, bread-crumbs, speed
  6. Provide too many ‘red flags’ – Transparency is key
  7. Provide detailed forms – if we had 10 million visitors, would we really need their info?
  8. Provide unusual design layouts – pick a simple and proven layout
  9. Provide confusing information – Plain language, glossary
  10. Provide too many reasons to look elsewhere -“Consider how your site compares to competitors in your market – not just on product / service range or price, but on functionality, usability, content and relevancy.”

Is Location the Ultimate Context? – Yes

How to Plan Manpower on a Web Team – It’s easy if you only have yourself on the team.

Time Distribution for Effective Online Marketing

  • Building Viral-Worthy, Authoritative Content (40%)
  • Developing New Features/Designs (25%)
  • Keyword, Industry, & Competitive Research (10%)
  • Participating in Online Communities (10%)
  • Testing/Refining Based on Visitor Data (10%)
  • Manual Link Building (5%)

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Company Needs a Blog

  1. It’s Free – that depends on your situation
  2. Search Engines Love Blogs – a proven fact
  3. They Provide an Avenue for Customer Interaction – Oh no, not interaction! What if they say something bad? The horror!
  4. You are Likely to Sell More Products/Services – $$$
  5. They Facilitate Viral Marketing – “I thought people didn’t like viruses?”
  6. They Position You as an Expert – I can edit Wikipedia too.

Marketing Changes: CMOs, Evangelist, Social Media Programs, Website Strategy Positioning

Packaging a Nation“Now destinations are valued for their people and their intellectual capital. Every place is in competition with every other place. So you need a brand strategy.”

Google map your Picasa Web Albums!

Marketing on a budget – There’s a reason why Neil Patel is tops in his field.

Canadian Travelers tell their Canadian Travel Stories“You snapped it in a terrific shot. You couldn’t wait to blog about it. Or maybe you caught it on film. The point is you got it. You posted it. Now we want to recognize you. Can’t win if you don’t enter.” – UGC = Free and Credible Content.

How to Sell the Value of Social Media To Your Boss – Marketing via the web in the new internet era is exactly the same as before, only the tools have changed.

  1. People are talking about us or our industry. – People have always talked about the Adirondacks, now they are doing it here. Remember books? That’s like a long blog post.
  2. Their conversations are highly visible and influential. – Everyone wants insider information.
  3. We have no unique voice and are not part of the conversation. – Join it, Lead it, Mold it, Aggregate it.
  4. Our competitors are moving faster than we are. – The competition is only as good as we let them be.
  5. We can start small and work our way up. – A scalable strategy. Information architecture which creates an efficient and effective framework for growth. A taxonomy both unique and easily understood that defines the scope of the topic.

Thinking in the Right Terms: 7 Components for a Successful Web Site Redesign – Excellent tips for thinking about long-term development.

WordPress vs. an army of clunky content management systems – The Frankenstein analogy and description of “conversations” is spot-on. This is such a common story out there.

Extending WordPress Beyond the Blog

Examples I Like

Nasa Ames Research Center – Uses categories to parse information nodes, each has a unique sidebar. The scientist geeks choose WP.

Ford Motor Company Global Auto Shows – Crappy permalinks, but I like the look.

Grace | DC – Clean and simple homepage, well developed use of the page system. Unique sidebar for page nodes.

100% Pure New Zealand – Similar scope and type of destination. Plus, they have a sweet KML layer included by default on all downloads of Google Earth.

Tourism Sites

Maldives Tourism – Official?

Brooklyn Heights Tourism Information

Nottingham Road Tourism Association – Don’t really like the default bloggy look.

Tourism in Dubai – I think she’s just trying to sell the book, but it’s a start.

Visitor Information for the Plattsburgh Beach – What the hell? That post has a top SERP ranking for this search: “powered by wordpress” visitor information – pretty funny. Right up there here too. Update 7/27 – Now this very post is in the top 10.

Sicily Guide – not official.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Tim Alpe

    I am Tim ALpe, the CEO of Jucy Rentals, one of the fastest growing vehicle rental companies forming an integral part of the New Zealand tourism industry.

    I use WordPress for my company blog at and I find it incredibly powerful and easy to use.

    The blog reflects happenings in our company as well as our initiatives to be eco friendly in terms of car emissions. The various posts deal with eco tourism, New Zealand tourism and travel, New Zealand car rentals and campervans.

    I am impressed by WordPress and the ease of use. The only problem is duplication of content which I have managed to bring under control. Otherwise it is a fantastic tool and I aim to promote New Zealand tourism to the world to the max
    Tim Alpe
    CEO Jucy Rentals
    Be Jucy Live Jucy Rent Jucy

  • Shine Online Marketing

    Hi, we rebuilt our own site on ExpressionEngine recently which is a blog engine at heart, but we also do a lot of SME websites using WordPress, and a number of sites in the ‘magazine’ style

    Some examples

  • Ceare Search Engine Optimisation

    We use word press to build complete content managed web sites it is an extremely useful and powerful piece of kit.

  • DParker

    I just wanted to say that I have been really into Working with wordpress, although I have not developed its use on my site. While seaching this blog, I picked up 2 new plugins, and learned some new information on using wordpress as a CMS I really appreciate the information. Thanks

  • London Sightseeing Tours

    WordPress is definately the way forward for websites, I love its ease to update posts and the great plugins constantly being developed. Its also excellent for SEO and RSS feeds.

  • Los Angeles Team Building

    Your thoughts on WordPress are spot on. It is definitely the way to go as far as web related technology goes. It is the tool that I think is the most viable candidate to stay around the longest.

  • Internet Marketing Blog

    Wow, thats really funny. I couldn’t agree more about how you felt about WordPress.Really great info! Pretty much all the info you need you can find via your links. Thanks again.

  • Jeff Jones

    Over the course of my short internet marketing career I have learned the power and beauty of WordPress.

    It’s come so far from a geek blogger plaything to a fully functioning ecommerce solution.

  • E-commerce Websites Reviewer

    If you use WP, then make sure you use the wp-cache plugin too – it means your WP website will handle traffic spikes without dying a death. Probably the most useful plugin you can use with WP.

  • MICR Toner Cartridges

    Yes, I’ve been using wordpress to build several sites now and I absolutely love it! it can be a lot more than a blog, with all the cool plugins that’s available, not to mention so many themes to base your design upon. I don’t even consider any other platform these days! I might look into Drupal though, for more complex websites.