24 replies
I have spent a lot of time getting my travel site on page one of google bing and yahoo and now that I am there I am having a hard time figuring out why people visit and return but don't go to my links to book anything.

I know from my own experience that I go to a site many times when planning a trip before booking but after they get all the information from my site and go to my booking partners to get a room or flight or whatever to check prices very few end up buying anything.

I know from my other sites I use trigger words and such to get them to buy what I am promoting but with the travel stuff how would I go about pushing something like this since it will be a lot of money when they do decide what to do. I don't want to drive them away with a big sales spiel.
  • Profile picture of the author JacMer
    Perhaps you could share the link with us.
    There are a number of smart people here who might help, if they knew where you were.
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  • Please send a link to your site, then we can have an idea of how to help you.

    I can go ahead and tell you that just because you use "trigger" words as you mentioned, won't automatically result in sales. People are people, so whenever you're writing or presenting an offer, approach them that way. Throwing out a lot of words without any clear benefit that connects with the reader won't gain the attention or trust of the potential buyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I have spent a lot of time getting my travel site on page one of google bing and yahoo and now that I am there I am having a hard time figuring out why people visit and return but don't go to my links to book anything.

    I know from my own experience that I go to a site many times when planning a trip before booking but after they get all the information from my site and go to my booking partners to get a room or flight or whatever to check prices very few end up buying anything.

    I know from my other sites I use trigger words and such to get them to buy what I am promoting but with the travel stuff how would I go about pushing something like this since it will be a lot of money when they do decide what to do. I don't want to drive them away with a big sales spiel.
    Oil and water don't mix.

    A site optimized for SEO isn't persuasive.

    A site optimized for conversions doesn't rank high in the search engines.

    In this case, your best bet is to add an opt-in box that offers a compelling freebie. Then sell to those who opt-in with a follow-up series of emails.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Kreator517
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      Oil and water don't mix.

      A site optimized for SEO isn't persuasive.

      A site optimized for conversions doesn't rank high in the search engines.

      In this case, your best bet is to add an opt-in box that offers a compelling freebie. Then sell to those who opt-in with a follow-up series of emails.

      Alex
      I agree with the first bit. Thinking you can get away with 300 words of drivel over-optimized for a dozen keywords will have the same effect on prospects as blaring a bullhorn in a donkey's ear.... they'll pick up and run. And kick you if they could.

      But there is no loss in SEO value from providing compelling, dareIsay hypnotic content to your visitors. Will it take you longer to rank than an overstuffed spamfest?

      Yes.

      Will it plummet 700 serp positions in the next algorithim twitch?

      No.

      Good content and patience is the way to win the game on that front m8

      Enticing prospects with a freebie is, of course, IM 101.
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      • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
        Originally Posted by Kreator517 View Post

        I agree with the first bit. Thinking you can get away with 300 words of drivel over-optimized for a dozen keywords will have the same effect on prospects as blaring a bullhorn in a donkey's ear.... they'll pick up and run. And kick you if they could.

        But there is no loss in SEO value from providing compelling, dareIsay hypnotic content to your visitors. Will it take you longer to rank than an overstuffed spamfest?

        Yes.

        Will it plummet 700 serp positions in the next algorithim twitch?

        No.

        Good content and patience is the way to win the game on that front m8

        Enticing prospects with a freebie is, of course, IM 101.
        I didn't say anything about good content.

        I said a site optimized for SEO and a site optimized for conversions.

        Content, good or otherwise, doesn't convert. Persuasive sales copy does.

        Alex
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    • Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post


      In this case, your best bet is to add an opt-in box that offers a compelling freebie. Then sell to those who opt-in with a follow-up series of emails.

      Don't overlook this golden nugget Alex mentioned here. You want to make your website more direct-response oriented. Get them involved. Get them to take action.

      Think of it this way. Studies across all business categories show that consumers generally make a decision to buy--from the time they start researching options--within 18 months.

      Only 15% will make a purchase in the first 90 days.

      A full 85% of them will not buy in the first three months of the search!

      The travel business may have a different time frame, but I think we agree most people take some time, perhaps a few weeks to a few months, to plan out a trip to Italy.

      They might come to your website during that time period. But the chances of them buying on the first visit is slim. And there is less chance they will be back unless you have world class content.

      I'm advocating that you take Alex's suggestion and capture emails--set up a follow up autoresponder. This way you can develop a relationship over the research cycle. It improves your chances of selling them much more.

      Why would they give you their email address? You have to have a truly valuable report, one that would be worth paying for. Something like:

      "7 Things You MUST Know Before You Book A Trip To Italy"

      "5 Italian Travel Tips Only Veteran Travelers Know"

      "9 Ways Travel Insiders Save Up To $4,000 in Italy"

      Something like this but with better copywriting and hook:
      http://www.dreamofitaly.com/public/F...a-in-Italy.cfm

      Get their email address, follow up with valuable messages.

      Profit.

      Finally, I agree you can improve the design, or at least the header.
      Check this out for ideas:
      Italy Vacation Packages, Italian Vacation, Italy Tours, Tour of Italy
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      Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
      - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author marks2424
    Sorry I didn't put a link to the site I keep forgetting what forum I am on because the others I am on has my site linked to my name. my site is my italian travels .com and it is on page 1 because it has lots of great articles, information and has the SEO done correctly, I also don't push sales in any way and that is why I think I don't get many. Thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    Here are my first impressions:

    1. The site is out dated looking.

    2. The site comes across like an information site (which is what your going for I'm guessing), but that doesn't make me want to book anything through your site. Mainly because it looks outdated and...

    3. I have no idea where I would book my vacation. You have a bunch of links, but why should i click them? Why should I book through you? Your site feels like an information dump with links on it. No thanks.

    There's about a hundred different things I can point out. If you update your sites look and put some call to action buttons / images, I think you could get some sales. But it needs a lot more work if you want to make it succeed.
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  • The copy is too clinical. Build desire immediately by describing different trips people can take in Italy. What will I see, taste, feel, experience? Get them into the fun and excitement.

    Check out these resources:
    http://www.resmarksystems.com/travel...ebsite-design/


    Some of that is for guide companies and the like, but you will get a lot of good info.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brian Crass
    Can we see a link?
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  • Profile picture of the author whenryson15
    Please post the link bro so we can share what we could do.
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  • Profile picture of the author marks2424
    I did post a link on my second comment but here it is again. Italian Travel and Vacation planning Information. I have looked at many travel sites specifically other italian travel sites and they mostly look like my site so I don't understand the comment of looking out dated. I don't want a site that does nothing but book rooms or flights like travelocity, or expedia does because they don't give any kind of information for people who have never planned an overseas vacation.

    I also don't understand the comment of someone not knowing where to book anything then clearly each article tells all about booking that aspect of the trip, has a banner link on the page as well as a couple text links in the body of the article as well as explaining how to use the reservation service. Yes it is an information site but a reservation site as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
      Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

      I did post a link on my second comment but here it is again. Italian Travel and Vacation planning Information. I have looked at many travel sites specifically other italian travel sites and they mostly look like my site so I don't understand the comment of looking out dated. I don't want a site that does nothing but book rooms or flights like travelocity, or expedia does because they don't give any kind of information for people who have never planned an overseas vacation.


      Outdated = looks like shit. I wouldn't trust your site with any of my info because it looks so old. Go buy a template or download a free one.

      And you don't have to have a site like travelocity, but you want to make money right? You need to clean your site up and look presentable. Otherwise people will GO to travelocity to book their vacations and not through you. Get it?


      Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

      I also don't understand the comment of someone not knowing where to book anything then clearly each article tells all about booking that aspect of the trip, has a banner link on the page as well as a couple text links in the body of the article as well as explaining how to use the reservation service. Yes it is an information site but a reservation site as well.
      Putting links in your text isn't good enough. You need to do a little selling and ask them to book through you. Make it as simple and easy to follow as possible. A big call to action button or image will get your point across easier than a text link.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    I agree with Joe - the copy is too clinical and detached. It needs some spark.

    Instead of keeping the site visitor at arm's length while jumping back and forth between "we" and "I", put some passion into it. Make it sound like the adventure that it is, and share your excitement about the places you've been.

    Here's a travel site with sparkle and personality, like talking to a friend. Leyla puts out a good newsletter too, and gets people interacting with her site in various ways. Her enthusiasm shows, making the site fun and interesting to read. The narrative is engaging.

    The site is: Backpacking Women Travel: Women-on-the-Road.com

    I agree that your site would benefit from a fresher look, but making the copy more engaging (by showing some personality, encouraging interaction, building credibility and authority via demonstrated experience) would probably help the most.
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  • Profile picture of the author marks2424
    Thanks for the Ideas Steve I can understand the spark part because I am trying to give information so I kind of put the spark part in my little stories. I don't think I will be listening to the sales booster How could I take advice from someone who says the site looks like shit and he wouldn't trust anything on it. How stupid is that to say don't trust something because of the way it looks. Looks has nothing what so ever to do with how creditable the information on a site is.
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    • Profile picture of the author Andrew Gould
      Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

      Looks has nothing what so ever to do with how creditable the information on a site is.
      But they do have a lot to do with how credible the information is perceived to be.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
      Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

      Thanks for the Ideas Steve I can understand the spark part because I am trying to give information so I kind of put the spark part in my little stories. I don't think I will be listening to the sales booster How could I take advice from someone who says the site looks like shit and he wouldn't trust anything on it. How stupid is that to say don't trust something because of the way it looks. Looks has nothing what so ever to do with how creditable the information on a site is.

      Let me rephrase that...

      You site would look good. If this was 1995.

      You probably built it yourself so you're probably pretty prideful about it, but it seriously is outdated looking.

      I'm blunt about a lot of things because it gets the point across.

      You obviously aren't getting any bookings and you came here to get advice. I'm the only person who will tell it to you straight. Your site is outdated and looks like shit. How many sites on the internet still look like yours? Not very many...

      It doesn't take long to update the look of your site. If you won't even take 15 minutes to give your site a better appearance then don't complain when nobody books through your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Even though credibility is not necessarily dependent on the site's appearance, appearance is still an important part of the overall site impression. If the design looks old, they may think the information is too.

    Do you have a clear picture of who your site audience is? Is it students? Families? Retired travelers? Business travelers? Or is it just "anybody interested in travel to Italy?" Different audiences have different requirements, and will have different site expectations. A tighter focus would help in creating targeted content.

    As a quick fix, some font and graphics changes to the top header, top navigation bar, and the footer could easily make the site look more current.

    Detailed analytics information would reveal what the bounce rate is, how many people are leaving on the first page they see, how long they spend on the site, what the most popular pages are, paths through the site, new visits, return visits, traffic sources, and other information that can help to further troubleshoot the site problems.

    I'd still first recommend working on the text, giving it personality, making it more engaging, correcting the typos, and correcting the overly-long sentences.

    Another area to watch is links. For example, the link for the Cruise Direct website is something like www . kqzyfj . com - which I probably would not click on because it looks questionable. If you can link directly to the site while still passing your information, that could help.
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  • Profile picture of the author marks2424
    Thanks again Steve for the information. My google analytics says so far for this month my bounce rate is about 42 percent which from what I have been told isn't bad.

    I don't really know how to see what path people take once they get to my site to other pages because the land on different pages. I am a little surprised you said I had typo's on the site because I have had at least 4 different people one was a college professor and others college grads read over the site to find any and I corrected all they found not to mention using spell check but I will read over everything again.

    I also didn't realize the cruise direct link looked so odd I will have to see if I can cloak it. The one thing I didn't what with my site was for it to look like every other site with a dozen or so little article boxes all over the page. So many middle aged people I have talked to say it is a little confusing when the site looks like a checker board of articles and not knowing which to read.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Hill
    Don't forget, each page has its own bounce rate, as well as its own traffic flow and a wealth of other available information. A full discussion of Google Analytics capabilities is well beyond the scope of this discussion, but quite a bit of advanced web metrics information is available for skilled practitioners.

    Knowing where your traffic is coming from, where it is landing, and what happens from that point onward would be very useful. Those are just a few of the steps taken during a full site audit.

    There are indeed typos throughout, but then, this is a copywriting forum so we notice those things. There are two errors in the very first paragraph, for example, and others on that main page as well (such as "much cloths"). Many of the errors and inconsistencies would not necessarily be caught by a spell-checker, but the services of a good reviewer/editor could be worthwhile.

    While all of the things discussed here are relatively minor in themselves, collectively they add up. If you are serious about making this site viable, then you may want a professional full site audit (content, design, analytics, and SEO).

    At the very least, think about ways to make the content more relaxed and engaging, get a good feel for your visitors (where they are from and how they use the site), and get a good understanding of the information available through Google Analytics. You may then be able to increase your conversions.
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  • Profile picture of the author burke1024
    The first thing I would do is research other travel sites to determine how well they convert, so you can set some kind of a bar for yourself. Then use the same technique to determine how to position yours. Look at other travel sites that are hugely successful and figure out how they place things on their site that might help them convert. Everything on a huge companies website like one of the many travel sites is done for the purpose of conversion.
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  • Profile picture of the author tevnhk
    Congratulations on getting your site to the first page of Google. I am not a copywriter so mind my poor writing. I will just give you some free advice from an analytical business perspective. (Sorry I don’t have much time so I haven’t edited the information, so it’s a bit bulky… I’m setting a bad example here!)

    Your problem:
    Few buy from your booking partners

    To solve the problem, we need to first identify the problem. To do that, we need to consider the process:
    • People visit your site
    • Some of the people click onto links to your booking partners
    • Some of the “some of the people” buy
    Now assuming that your SEO works, you do not have a problem with web traffic into your site. Your objective is to retain as many people as possible from stage 1 to 2, and from 2 to 3.

    Stage 1 to 2: how it works
    i. they open multiple tabs from Google search and compare the sites. After a first glance, they close a few tabs
    ii. if they keep your tab, they have a quick look through your materials
    iii. if they are still keeping your tab then, they will read in more details
    iv. if they are persuaded, they click on booking links to explore further options


    Now, why do people go to your site? How did they find you? What did they search for on Google? Since you provide two things: information and links to booking, let’s say you have two types of visitors: people looking for info, and people looking to book a trip. For people looking to book your site won’t survive step i. people would want to go for established booking website or price compare websites instead of an information driven site. So your site is targeted at primarily people who are exploring trip ideas and are looking for info.
    People do not read on the internet, that’s commonly established: they scan. First impression is therefore everything. To survive step i., you will need a better website look (unfortunately, I will have to agree with previous posts that your web design is out of date and does not look “confident”). People are brutal on the internet, you may have given it a lot of thought and time; most people who stumble upon your website will give it around 2-3 seconds. It’s a fact and you will have to deal with it. With your current design, you are bound to lose a good number of readers at this stage already. Secondly, most people want quick information, the lengthy paragraphs and abundant information you have would ironically put off another good bunch of people.

    Many people may skip step iii, but step iii is your strength. Step iii is for people who want to read a lot of information and well written pieces (often more middle-aged people), but this kind of people are rare on the internet, people who like doing that buy travel guides (and they wouldn’t mind paying for them). Finally we have step iv. People who made it to step iii and liked it would click on links if they appear in appropriate places. Nevertheless, the majority of the people would be looking to go from step ii to iv. For people like that, they could struggle to even find out about your links because they don’t really stand out and they are in the middle of chunks of information even on the front page. As I said, people scan and they don’t put in much effort. If you don’t make things clear to them, they won’t be aware of them.


    Stage 2 to 3: There is little you can do about this. Your booking partners are the ones who bear the most responsibility. It is normal that many people shop around and very few buy (especially when it comes to hundreds/thousands of dollars), so do not be discouraged by that. With the internet, many people enjoy browsing around ideas without the intention to pursue/pay for them. Now let us explore further how this works:
    • they get on your partner’s website, find the price and availability
    • - they like it and buy it (the only outcome that’s profitable to you)
      - they like it and consider it, and might come back and buy it (directly through the partner’s website instead of your link)
      - they don’t like it
    The normal scenario would be considering it (most people don’t make instant travel plans), and they would buy it directly off your partners (they would remember Travelocity or the British Airways, they don’t need to go to them through your website). So what you need to work on is to get people to make instant decision: read your site, click the link and buy it right away. This is hard! You cannot change the price or Travelocity’s website. The only thing you can do is to influence your readers’ perception of your partners in stage 1, and extremely skillful advertising would be required.

    Now that you know the process, you can use web analytic to see which stage (or step) you lose the most people and work on it accordingly.

    While stage 2 to 3 would explain your problem, stage 1 is the part you can work on the most. First impression is key to surviving stage 1. My first impression is that: the website design is old, and it has a lot of info. That’s not necessarily a good thing. Your frontpage/intro is far too long that I lost interests – it’s too much information for a frontpage. The About Us is also probably by far the longest about us I have ever read in my life. These sections have to be brief or you will lose a lot of people before they could read all the good stuff you have on the site. Another thing is, I got confused when I first got on the site (scanning like most people do instead of reading carefully): it’s an information site then all of a sudden it’s telling me to book things on the reservation pages, and these are not even your own booking pages but others’, and they have “suspicious” hyperlinks attached to them. Moreover, the site tree seems complicated: “plan trip” and “plan your trip” are two different articles and their links from within the article send you all over the place. It took me a few minutes to learn how the website works. Now, most people browsing on the internet will not give it more than a few seconds. So if it is not user-friendly and straight to the point enough for a reader to understand your website in a few seconds, they will look elsewhere. You have to understand that things that are clear to you might not be clear to others, especially if they are your creation.


    What you need to do:
    - Get a better web design
    - Heavily shorten the front page (remove all descriptions of the sections, the titles are intuitive), make your writing/purpose clear and to the point
    - Cut down on unnecessary/intuitive/repetitive information in the articles. People are not going to read your site like a book, they will just pick out sections. Try and aim for no more than 500 words per “article” without sacrificing key information.
    - Make your “useful links” clear and easily accessible throughout your site
    - (subtly) Advertise your booking partners and refer to them in relevant articles

    General comments:
    I think you have a great idea there and it’s good to have things like this on the internet. Since it’s like a guide mixed with travel blogging, I think it’d be a fun read as a book. As a website, it just contains far too much information and it will only be able to target a very small pool of audience (as in you could get a lot of traffic, but you would only be able to retain a few people). It is unlikely that you will be able to make a (decent) living off this website, but again, you should be proud that you are providing useful and very comprehensive information for travelers. I am sure people will find it helpful. Good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author chrisnos
    Originally Posted by marks2424 View Post

    I have spent a lot of time getting my travel site on page one of google bing and yahoo and now that I am there I am having a hard time figuring out why people visit and return but don't go to my links to book anything.

    I know from my own experience that I go to a site many times when planning a trip before booking but after they get all the information from my site and go to my booking partners to get a room or flight or whatever to check prices very few end up buying anything.

    I know from my other sites I use trigger words and such to get them to buy what I am promoting but with the travel stuff how would I go about pushing something like this since it will be a lot of money when they do decide what to do. I don't want to drive them away with a big sales spiel.
    Lok over your site through a customer's eyes/needs/mindset, and consider what their motivations are when they arrive at your site, and what might be stopping them from buying anything; obviously if they're not buying they don't have a problem that your products solve for them (or it's not priced according to their need).

    Edit: okay, I just had a look at your site, your problem is you're giving your customers too many options right off the bat, and your customers are not likely to find what you're promoting.

    Take a look at my site as an example; there's a limited number of options based on EXACTLY what people are looking for when they arrive at my site, there is NO WAY to get confused, lost, or have a touch time deciding what to look at/focus on, the navigation is clear and concise; in a nutshell, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to get lost in finding what the ideal visitor to my site is looking for no matter where they go, and everything comfortably fits on the screen the moment the reader lands on it, and I'm directing the visitor to directly what I want them to do no matter where they go (sign up for my email newsletter and commit to the next logical step).

    You need to decide what's important to your customers' needs on your site (or at least on the homepage) and eliminate everything that isn't needed.

    Why would your customers even know to buy anything? There's so much on your site I get lost just trying to find what I'm looking for (for example, maybe replace all the menus/options throughout your page with clear, sectionalized, navigational drop-down menus at the top so visitors can quickly/easily navigate through what they're looking for).

    Basically your site has 1,000 things going on; a customer's brain gets confused and doesn't know where to look first when they arrive at your site... you've got pictures, language learning, activities, hotels/flights, tours... what is the FIRST thing you want your customer to do when they arrive at your site?

    Decide that, then make that your focus (your "about us" page is a great example of a focused, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand, concise page that just gives a visitor an instant overview of where they are, and how to find their way around the site)... then decide what action YOU want them to take because it's your job as the "expert" to lead them through the process you want them to go through when they land on your site... and even if you have many options always put the next step right in front of them on every single page! =)
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