How to Build a Travel Website Using the Website Creator
In this tutorial:
If you're taking a trip and you want to share images, videos and experiences, then creating a travel website is something that you might consider. You'll find that creating a travel website with Website Creator is a breeze. With a little preparation, you can save yourself time and aggravation that you might encounter without any plan.
Before you begin
There are couple of things that you will want to think about before you create a travel website. First, are you going to build it while you're in the middle of the trip? Or are you going to capture all of your content on your trip and create the website after you're done with your travel? Do you need your content timestamped, or do you want to make pages that aren't going to change much once you have finished adding your content? With Website Creator you are using two main types of website pages that you can quickly and easily create - Posts and Pages. Posts are listed in reverse chronological order and can be configured to accept feedback. If you require that people interact with your website, then use Posts. If you intend to make a site that will simply display the highlights of your trip with little feedback, then use Pages. You can always use a combination of both, but knowing the nature of Posts versus Pages will save you some time.
If you're updating on the road, then plan where you will have access to both the internet and a computer. It's still possible to create updates purely from a mobile device, but you might want to consider the difficulty it might present. If you're creating content with large files or lots of text, then you may not want to be using a smart phone for making your website entries. You can easily use up your data plan if you have a limited plan. Also, you may be in a location where you can access your computer, but it may be expensive for you to transmit data that may include large images or video to your site.
Outline your trip
If you're creating a website, it's always good if you have a pre-written plan on what you want to create. Remember that you will have a home page that everyone sees first. This page will be at the center of all your other content and provide links to access everything. Plan the pages that you want to have on your website. Keep it simple. Don't worry about its initial size and scope. WordPress, the application that Website Creator is based on, is very easy to expand in both size and functionality.
Remember to consider the laws of the country that you may be visiting if you are going someplace outside of your country of residence. Some locations may have policies about internet access as well the content that you access or transmit. Consider using a device that is unlocked so that you can use a SIM chip attached to local services instead of your home mobile service. This may save you a lot of money. There are also mobile devices that can take multiple SIM chips. Dual SIM chip phones allow you to have a chip for your home location and also provide the option to add a SIM chip for the location that you are visiting. A little forethought and planning can save yourself money and also the frustration of trying to connect your phone to the internet while you're on your trip. Contact your service provider for information and options.
Hosting Service and a Website Name
Remember that when you build your site you will need both a hosting server and a website name (domain name). If you're trying to work remotely on updating a website, you will need to make sure that these two requirements are met before you take your trip. When you purchase the Website Creator the hosting service is provided, but you should make sure to think of the domain name you're using for your website. This will help to insure that your account is created without any problems. The creation of a Website Creator account means that WordPress is installed and a domain name is required for the WordPress installation.
Post via email
If you're creating posts remotely, then you may want to consider this option in your WordPress installation settings. In order to post to WordPress through email you will need to create a secret email account with POP3 access. Any mail received at that address will be posted, so you should keep that email address to yourself. The area in settings where you set this includes 3 examples for random strings you can add to the email address so that people can't find it and abuse it. You will also see the option to specify a mail server, the login name for your email account, and a password. You will also need to determine the default mail category (for your email posts). Here are the steps to enable Post via email:
- Log in to the BoldGrid Administrator Dashboard.
- Go to Settings in the menu at left.
- Click on Writing under Settings.
- Go to the section labeled Post via email.
- If you have hosting with InMotion Hosting, then you can find your email server settings here. You will need to specify your Mail server name. You can leave the port at 110 if you are not using the secure settings.
- The Login name is the name of the email account you are using to send your post.
- The password is the password for the email account that you are using to send your post.
- If you want to make sure that your posts are using a specific category, then specify it in the drop-down menu next to Default Mail Category. Click on Save Changes to save what you've just entered.
Capturing your Travel Content for your Website
There are a large variety of devices that you can use to capture your content while you're on your trip. Keep in mind that if you're using video, then it is recommended that you use a streaming service (e.g. YouTube) to serve your content. Streaming services like Youtube will both help to protect your content and also provide compression services that will allow you to present your content through your website. If you're using a digital SLR or action capture device to capture your video and you're capturing 4k video, it will be overkill for presenting on your website. If you're updating on the fly and don't want to spend hours in editing and optimizing your video, then make sure to keep your video clips short and save it to a streaming service so that people can access it without much trouble.
You will likely be capturing lots of images of your trip. Like video, images captured on different devices can be large or small. Keep your images relatively small and use a format like JPEG to allow for compression. If you want large images that are optimized and you are not familiar with using graphic applications for this, then you may want consider a plugin like Smush Image Compression and Optimization that can compress and optimize images for you.
One thing that you might be creating quite a bit is a gallery of your images. You can have several, so don't think that you are limited to one gallery on your website. A gallery allows you to select multiple images and then group them together for display. For more information on creating galleries, see How to Create a Gallery in WordPress.
Posts - Viewer Interaction
WordPress posts allow you to see comments from your prospective viewers, but they can also be subject to spammers. First, for every post that you create, you will see the Screen Options tab in the top right corner when you're creating the post in WordPress. If you want to enable comments, then you will first need to put check in the checkbox for Discussions, then scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that Comments is checked for that post.
Next, you will need to go to Settings in the BoldGrid Administrator Dashboard. Click on Discussion and review the options for approving comments as well as notifying you whenever a comment appears. You may also want using a free (or not free) WordPress plugin to help prevent WordPress spam. There are many free plugins that address this issue. To see them, go to WordPress Plugins and search for "prevent spam".
It's hard to recommend gear of any specific type for your trip as there are far too many solutions that can meet just about any budget. If you're going to a place that has a great connection to the internet and has good security, then you may consider bringing a larger set of equipment (e.g. digital camera, laptops, video camera). If you're with an official tour and with many people, then you may also want to consider that situation as being appropriate to bring expensive equipment. If you're by yourself or with only a few people, then you may want to consider more portable solutions that don't cost thousands of dollars to replace if it's stolen or lost. I have traveled with only a smart phone to capture content, but I would not recommend it if you're trying to capture quality images or video. Phone storage is still finite, and you might be surprised how fast you use up the space when you're taking lots of pictures and videos. As good as phones are getting at capturing images, you may still want to consider small devices like an action video recorder or smaller digital cameras. Smaller devices are much easier to conceal, keep secure and manage when you're running from place to place. Plus, many of these devices are waterproof or easily protected with an appropriate case. Tablets or smaller laptops with good keyboards are invaluable if you are continually making updates from your remote location. You will need to decide which works best for you. If you do decide to bring any gear, always consider travel insurance in the event that something unexpected happens.
If you have decided to update from the road, then you should first create the skeleton of your site using Pages. If you're creating everything after having completed your trip, then it's just a matter of uploading your content and creating pages. There are a few steps involved when you first startup Website Creator:
Fortunately, the WordPress backbone upon which Website Creator is installed allows you to easily accomplish these tasks. As you create pages, a menu is typically also automatically created. If you find that your menu is not automatically created, then go to Customizations page, click on Menu and you can manually create the menu there. For more information on menus, see Creating Custom WordPress Menus. Follow your outline, and you'll find that your trip content will provide you with plenty of material to create your website.
A trip to a vacation destination is typically an adventure that you need to share. Using a website to show the highlights of your trip is one of the best ways to do that! With a little planning you'll find that creating your travel website using the Website Creator can be a simple and fun task. You don't have to be a programmer, and there are options that allow you to securely and remotely update your site from just about where ever you go.
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