To start an internet travel business, you do not need a great deal of money, but
you will need some tools. ith regards to equipment, at the minimum you will
need: a computer, internet connection, digital camera and possibly a video
camera. For the personal skills, you will need basic computer skills and some
writing ability. An eye for detail and the ability to organize information can also
help. Being creative will definitely be a big help. If you think you won’t be able
to come up with any good ideas, it is probably only because you have never
tried. I guarantee when you start thinking about possible niches for a website
you won’t be able to stop.
I did a university course on marketing many years ago. The internet has
completely changed how companies do sales and marketing Companies that
were slow to get online are probably now bankrupt or have been bought out by
web based companies.
Laptops or notebook computers are more expensive than desktops, but if you
can afford one, they can be great to take on the road. Free wireless internet
networks are spreading around the globe, so wireless capability is a definite
advantage as you can create your website on the fly.
A high end computer is also not necessary, unless you are planning to do edit
video. There is also a chance taking a laptop on a trip that it could go missing,
or be damaged, so it is probably not worth spending a fortune on.
You also do not have to spend a lot of money on a digital camera, unless of
course your site is about travel photography.ebsites are not like print
magazines which require high resolution pictures. You will probably end up
cropping and reducing the size anyway, so unless you are creating a
photography website a basic digital camera is fine.
Basic setup costs
Hosting is where you basically rent space on a computer server to run your
website. Shared hosting is where you share the same server with many other
sites. Unless your site becomes immensely popular shared hosting is usually
adequate, at least at the beginning and costs around $5-$8 a month.
A domain name is the address which users type into the address bar to get to
your site. A new domain costs around $10 a year to register. Disk space and
bandwidth is getting cheaper and cheaper, so these costs will eventually be
miniscule if you can have success with your site. If you compare these costs to
a regular bricks-and-mortar business, like a travel agency in a shopping mall,
you will quickly see how cheap it is to run an internet website.
Some things which would be nice to have:
ith the success of video sharing sites like YouTube, it will be no surprise that
video on websites is becoming more popular. Search engines like Google still
rely on text to return search results and as yet it is difficult to monetize video, so
I think you should concentrate on building a text based site with some pictures
before you move into video.
Some people may prefer to first record their content and then later transcribe it.
A recording device could also be useful for doing interviews.
ith regards to personal requirements, you will need:
Basic computing skills
You don’t need to be a computer genius to create a website. There are a large
number of tools currently available to simplify the process. If you have money
to invest in your website it can also be possible outsource the technical aspects
of your website. It is a good idea however, to try and get a basic understanding
of the various technical aspects of a website.
You can probably think of it the same as learning about cars. The more
knowledge you have about cars, the easier it will be to at least speak to your
mechanic. Not learning the basics will end up costing you more in the long run.
Some of the technologies which you should try to start learning include:
– Digital image manipulation
If you are thinking about doing this long term, it is a good idea to at least learn
some HTML and how to upload files to your web server using an FTP program.
Software that automatically creates HTML often does not do a good job of
creating ‘clean’ code. So it can be extremely helpful to at least understand
basic HTML tags. To make something bold for example, all you need to do is to
place the following tags around a word.
For example, this word is bold.
You do not need to be a professional writer to create a travel website. The
ability to write clear and concise text is more important. People reading from a
computer screen also tend to skim, so lists and bullet points work well. I will
also show you later how you can get other people to help write for your website.
Eye for detail
It helps to have an eye for detail when creating a travel website. hen
providing directions or including important details like a telephone number, your
site will quickly loose credibility if you make mistakes with these important
details. Fortunately, people are quick to let you know your information is
incorrect and unlike a travel guide book, the information can be updated
One of the most important factors in creating a successful website is usability.
hen you are researching your site, you will have articles, maps, hotel reviews
and photographs all of which need to be organized in a logical and consistent
manner. No matter how great your information is, if people can’t find it on your
site, it will be practically worthless. ebsite design is also an important factor,
but at the heart of this is how you organize the information.
Visit your favorite websites and see how they organize their information.
People who visit your site and are unable to find what they are looking for
quickly will not hesitate to move on to another website.
Defining your target market
Like any business you need to research and define your target market. It will
help a great deal if you have an interest and some knowledge in the area of the
site you are creating.
Registering a domain
A .com is generally best, followed by .net and .org. If your target
visitors are from a particular country, you could consider registering a domain
for that country, like .co.uk for people from the UK. Since the internet is global it
is probably better to target a global audience. For a travel guide, only
information like insurance and visas need to be aimed at people from a
particular country.Register your domain at a large registrar like Moniker Godaddy.com or
Namecheap.com. Registration should cost around $8-$10 a year. Again, if you
are serious about the business and have the money, register the domain for ten
years. Search engines do place weight on this to distinguish quality sites. You
can also do this at a later time, once your site is developed.
Be sure to set the renewal to automatic and to keep your payment details up to
date. You don’t want to let your domain name expire.
nce you have your domain registered, you will need a place to host your site.
This is where you upload your files, so they can be viewed on the internet.
There are thousands of companies to choose from, all offering varied but pretty
For the past two years, I have been using Dreamhost. They do occasionally
have problems, but the service is fantastic for the price. Even more expensive
hosts will run into problems at some stage. Dreamhost’s interface is fairly
simple to navigate and you can install things like Joomla and ordpress with
j ust one click. The thing which I like most however, is that you can host an
unlimited number of sites with them – perfect for building your online empire!
Many domain registration companies offer hosting, but you do not necessarily
have to host your site with the same company. Separating the two is in fact a
good idea, as there will probably be a time where you will need to change hosts
for whatever reason.