You know the familiar saying, “you only get what you pay for”…but does it always apply when you get something for free?
Here at Travel Victoria, for many years we’ve been offering free listings for tour or activity businesses within our tourism pages for locations throughout Victoria. There’s no catch, just a brief listing with a link to your website, providing a stream of visitors who are interested enough to click the link and find out more.
Importantly, the free listings offered by Travel Victoria aren’t buried deep within our website where few people will see them. They are placed on pages which are directly linked to every page published about that location in Victoria. That’s one click to get there, not 10. We’ll let the results speak for themselves by examining how many views of the 5 most popular tour and activity pages have occurred during 2010:
So if you were one of the businesses listed on our Lakes Entrance tours & activity pages, your business listing (the name and brief description) would have been seen by 11,694 people in 2010.
Now here is where it gets really interesting. Even if only a tiny 5% of people looking at the page your business was listed on actually clicked the link to your website, you would have gained 585 free visitors to your website. And those are people who clearly had an interest in your business to bother to click on the link. Try getting that same number of targeted visitors by using something like Google AdWords. Depending on the keywords selected, bidding amounts and competition, it could cost you $500 per year or even much, much more, just to achieve the same results as a free listing with Travel Victoria.
Sometimes you do get what you pay for…but other times, you really do get much more. Advertise for free in selected categories on Travel Victoria today.
It’s big business at the moment for companies that register internet domain names for you. Apart from the fact more businesses than ever are seeking to create an internet presence, there’s many people out there who come up with catchy domain names that they later plan to turn into killer websites. So they register them for “future use”.
Unfortunately that’s the easy part of the whole colossal plan – registering a domain name. The rest of the plan requires lots of hard work and usually plenty of money, with the fruits of labour often not ripening until years later.
It’s interesting to observe the daily list of expiring Australian domain names – that is, domains people have registered but eventually give up on renewing years later, and are about to become available for someone new to register again. Some grand plans you’ll find in there. Someone obviously mapped out the creation of a kingdom of Australian holiday rental websites by registering holidayrentalsaustralia.com.au, aussieholidayrentals.com.au, and a whole swag of other similar domain names. Websites were never created, and for whatever reason, the domains are about to expire for the current owner.
Speaking of visions, we at Travel Victoria had one last year when, quite by accident, we saw the domain beachstays.com.au was about to expire. A website was never ever created during that domain’s many years of ownership. So we decided to build a website dedicated to accommodation that was very close to the beach. We officially launched it in May 2011. So go and have a peek at Beach Stays – someone’s idea that went nowhere, now has life breathed into it by a new owner.
The merits of hosting a website within Australia, for an Australian business that expects most of its web traffic to come from Australia, are well known. Hosting in Australia has become much more affordable in recent years, so the question about where to host is now a no brainer. However, do you know what you’re really getting?
While you may choose an Australian-based web hosting company, your data and the server that makes it available to the world, may in fact be located overseas, possibly somewhere geographically distant from Australia, such as the United States.
There’s an interesting comparison by Netregistry of some Australian web hosting companies for their popular business grade hosting packages. Interestingly enough, Melbourne IT, with a name that geographically cements its base in Australia, hosts its business packages on overseas servers, which may be an issue for you if most of your traffic comes from Australia. See the comparison table (you’ll need to click on the tab “NR vs the Rest” towards the bottom of the page).
One of the things people love most about Twitter is its informality. Post a question to say one of Australia’s most affluent companies that have a presence on Twitter, and the response back may be more akin to that you’d expect when chatting to friends over dinner.
Some small businesses may take this a little too far and post strong, personal opinions, which may actually offend the very clients they are trying to attract. This is quite relevant to accommodation providers who are inviting travellers to stay on their property.
One example is the wonderful lady who runs a bed and breakfast which we advertise for her on the Travel Victoria website (we won’t identify her personally!). She’s quite a social media butterfly, however her political preferences are strongly conveyed in comments she makes using her business’s official Twitter account. As it so happens, the political leader she trumpets is currently “on the nose” with voters in recent surveys, so chances are more people will disagree rather than agree with what she’s posting. And for those people who live and breathe politics, staying at an establishment where the outspoken manager is clearly coming at you from the other side of party lines may actually be off-putting!
The best practice here is to have two Twitter accounts – one for business, and one for you personally. If the Gillard government’s carbon tax is the bane of your existence and you need to get that off your chest, then do so using your personal Twitter account. Use your business’s Twitter account for responding to queries, making announcements and commenting on the weather. That way, you won’t offend anyone or harm your business.
All staff here at Travel Victoriathat have access to our business Twitter account are advised that if they wish to indulge in general social commentary or get on their soapbox to the world, then they must do so using their own personal Twitter account. Maybe your organisation should adopt a similar policy.
Thoughts from us at Travel Victoria. A range of content for either travellers or visitors to Victoria and Melbourne, and for those working in the tourism industry.