What’s Wrong with My Website?
The 9 Most Common Issues with Tourist Attraction Websites (And How to Fix Them)
Most likely, you did not create your own website. It was probably put together by an agency, or a consultant, or maybe some guy you went to college with who “dabbles.” Whichever path you’ve taken, there’s a strong possibility that there are problems your web visitors are experiencing that you don’t know about. It’s hard to find the time to explore your website, especially if you’re CEO of a larger attraction. But if it was created 3, 5, or even (gasp) 10 years ago, there are likely lots of things you’re missing.
Now obviously, this is not true of all tourist attraction websites. Your site may very well be fantastic, up-to-date, and not need an ounce of work. But in my experience, I’ve seen a few common threads in the industry.
Here Are the Major Issues Tourist Attraction Websites Face Today:
- Old Photos. One of the most common challenges tourist attractions encounter is keeping their photo libraries up to date. It’s difficult. Especially if you are growing and adding new features. But visitors are looking for clean, crisp, fairly recent photos of people enjoying themselves in your space. The best advice is to not go with the lowest bidder when it comes to photography. You want someone who can really capture the essence of your brand, grab a few photos of what’s new, but also photos of permanent features that you can use for years to come. If you don’t have the budget, consider hiring a talented young photography student at a nearby art school.
- Slow Load Times. Another common website problem is slow load times. This is often due to the fact that photos are too large and not optimized. Because of these longer load times, visitors become annoyed and more likely to leave your site. If they’re on the verge of buying a ticket or booking a room and a photo slows them down, they might abandon their transaction altogether. When you look at it that way, it’s pretty evident why your photos should not only be current but the optimal size as well.
- No Calls to Action. Do your web visitors know exactly what they’re supposed to do once they’re done reading a page on your site? Can they click elsewhere to get information? And if so, is there a big button telling them to click? Or only a small mutely highlighted word at the end of your last sentence? You want the big button. If I scan the page, I should know immediately where you want me to go next. When people don’t know where to go, they bolt. To your competitor’s website.
- Too Many Calls to Action. While some tourist attraction websites have no calls to action, others have way too many. I was on a site the other day that had 5 calls to action crammed within the copy. And they all said: “CLICK HERE.” Which is antiquated and unnecessary. The best thing to do? Drive your visitors where you want them to go with a call-to-action button (See #2). Buy Tickets. Book Now. Plan Your Visit. Be clear and concise. And take people exactly where you want them to go. If you put a page in between Book Now and a booking page, you’ll miss out on conversions.
- Dead Links and Blank Pages. If a visitor clicks on a button or a highlighted piece of information, it should take them somewhere. For example, if you link an event on one page, and someone clicks on it, they expect to be taken that event page. If you delete the event page after the event is over, your visitors will end up… nowhere. Unfulfilled. And disappointed. They will feel the same way about a page with no copy or visuals on them. Thus, it’s important to have someone review your site with a fine-tooth comb to make sure these types of links and pages are fixed.
- Not Responsive. A responsive site means your site proportionally resizes itself so it will look right on a desktop, mobile, or tablet, no matter the size or shape. “Oh, my site works on cell phones,” you might say. But if it’s not responsive, and you update something on your main site, it won’t get updated on your mobile site. And vice versa. As a result, a significant portion of your audience isn’t getting the most recent information. Luckily, there are many responsive website templates that are well-designed and easy to update – some are even free.
- Uninviting Copy or Design. The most important thing you want people to get from your website is that they need to come to your attraction for a visit. Copy and design are both key parts of that. If you had an intern design your site, or Jan in Accounting write your copy, it might not pass muster. Jan’s a great gal, but numbers are her game, not words. You want to have your copy written by a professional copywriter. And your site designed by a professional designer. And programmed by a professional developer. Your website is your brand. So it’s important to get it right.
- Poor URL Structure. Let’s say your attraction is called Firefly World, and you have an event called Kid-Friendly Halloween Party. Your URL for the event should read something like: FireflyWorld.com/Kid-Friendly-Halloween. It should not be FireflyWorld.com/KFH43956937973. Make sure your URLs match your features and events almost exactly. This will help with both SEO and sharability on social media.
- Bad User Experience. The experience on your website should flow with utter simplicity. You want to be intuitive to your users and what they are looking for when they visit. Otherwise, your bounce rate will go up. As we touched on in the Calls to Action section, people should know exactly where to click to get what they need or want. Everything should feel seamless and drive them toward conversion. A developer with a full understanding of UX Design will help you bring this to life.
This may seem like a lot to change, but once it’s all in place, you’ll have happy web users, and hopefully down the line, more happy visitors to your attraction. Butts in seats. Heads in beds. And turnstiles turning.