Most hosts start their business with the help of booking websites. This is the easiest way to gain guests and it works well because these sites are popular, many travelers book there. But from the aspect of hosts, it is not the best solution. The reason is that the use of booking sites is very expensive; high commissions must be paid after the bookings monthly. If you want to be independent, you have to build and maintain your own website.
Building a website seems complicated for a layman but this is not necessarily true. Fortunately, there are website builders available that are easy to use without any special skills.
These software will guide you through the process of building a website without the need for programming or web design skills. Even with average user knowledge, it is easy to get by.
If you don’t want to pay much for a website, you have the opportunity to build it yourself – we will show you how!
First, you need a good domain and hosting. Without these, you cannot create a website.
The simplest way to describe the meaning of a domain name is that it's the title of your website, the one you type into your browser's address bar. In our case it is godirect.website but it can be almost anything.
The domain name is a word or phrase (SLD - second level domain), with an extension at the end (TLD - top level domain), and the parts are separated by a dot. In practice, the TLD is .com, .org, .eu, .website etc. at the end of the domain. SLD can be anything you want if it is free with the TLD you chose. TLD has impact ont he price of the domain.
At namecheap.com you can check if the domain you chose is free or not and you can also buy it.
You need something that's easy to find online, but not reserved. It may be obvious to have your accommodation's name as the domain name. People can identify your website easier this way.
Users will find your site more easily if it has a popular extension. For example, .com, .eu., .org. extensions can be used internationally or you can choose the usual TLD of your country as well.
If you want your website to be usable for visitors, it's important to choose your hosting carefully. This will determine, for example, how fast your site loads and how easily visitors can navigate from one page to another.
People will quickly leave a slow-loading website. You obviously don't want that, so when it comes to hosting, try to choose the best possible solution.
At namecheap.com, you'll find a solution for this too. If you don't know much about this subject, the site can help you: you can choose from a range of packages to find the right one for you.
Now that you have your domain and hosting, you can start building your website. Here's how you can do this using WordPress or Wix.
WordPress is a content management system (CMS) that was specifically designed to allow you to create a website without any technical knowledge. It offers a lot of opportunities, from the simplest blog to a complicated webshop.
More than 62% of all non-developed websites worldwide are WordPress-based - it shows perfectly how popular it is.
WordPress is backed by strong support. It is a stable and reliable system that is constantly being improved. It also has a lot of plug-ins to help serve all your needs. WP provides a wide range of templates to create a modern, user-friendly, responsive design.
First, sign up in the WordPress interface. You will need your email address, a username and a password.
Once you've done that, log in and start creating your website!
By clicking on the 'Create Site' button, WordPress will take you through the basics: domain and hosting, asking you what kind of website you need, what your website is for.
You can choose an initial design from the available options. Now you're basically done with the preparations, you can start the real work: creating your website!
This will be the editor interface for your WordPress site:
As you can see, the menu bar is on the left. Here you can upload images, videos, add text to your page, write posts. In the middle of 'My Home' section, you can find 'Update your design' point. Here you can edit the structure of your website page by page, add images, text, and vary the layout.
If you don't know how to get started, WordPress can help: tutorial videos show you where to change colours, fonts and how to make your page unique.
After you have got to known the inteface, you can build your website easily. A big advantage of WordPress is that it also covers the settings you need for SEO. This gives you a good chance of being found by Google with the right content.
After registration, the process of building the website in Wix is quite similar to WP.
You can see the interface below, where you can find lots of possibilities to create content, change settings, edit design etc.
If you build the website with Wix, you have 2 opportunities:
The first opportunity is quite simple: you click on the theme you would like to see on your site and choose a look from the options the site builder offers. Just a few clicks and you have a website! This is the easiest and fastest way.
With the second option, you can choose a template and edit it according to your preferences. After you chose a template, it will be opened in an editorial interface, where you can change anything in the template. This way your website’s design becomes unique, despite you are working with templates.
If you scroll down, you will see a field with tools which could be useful for your website and your business. With using these, you can see the traffic in your site, gain new visitors, create social posts or ads easier etc.
Of course, the answer to this question depends on personal preferences. Generally, we can say that WordPress gives more help to the design, you can find tips and tutorials which make your work easier. Another plus point for WP is that it is faster – Wix is sometimes really slow.
Despite these all, it is possible that you will find Wix easier and more user-friendly. Both website builders can work with a minimal budget and have a free version to test the website builders. If you would like to experience both, use this version!
Now you have a modern, attractive website. But don’t forget your original goal: to gain direct bookings. To reach it, you will need a well-functioning booking engine which is user-friendly and helps you with making everyday administration easier.
A good booking engine makes reservations easy and quick. The guests can give their needs in a few clicks and see immediately the free rooms with prices and the conditions of booking, of course. From the aspect of the hosts, a useful booking engine communicates with the guests automatically: confirms bookings, sends reminder e-mails before the term, synchronizes the bookings from different platforms and perhaps sends follow-up e-mails as well.
We present two options below.
WordPress is not only a basic website builder. It has a lot of useful plugins which can help you to make your website fit more to the visitor’s needs.
One of these is the WP Booking Calendar. This plugin has been developed for accommodation providers to be able to receive direct bookings automatically.
Guests see on the interface the free rooms/apartments and the free terms in a calendar. On the form under the calendar they can give their data, the number of guests (adults and children) and possible requests. After they filled the form, an e-mail will be sent about their booking.
The admin interface of WP Booking Calendar is quite simple. You can see the bookings in a list or in calendar overview. List contains more details but the calendar view gives you the opportunity to see the whole month in one calendar. Ont he admin interface you can handle the bookings: edit, delete, add to Google Calendar etc.
The use of the WordPress Booking Calendar is not difficult. It is a well-functioning and simple solution to receive direct bookings. But maybe there is better.
GoDirect offers you an embeddable booking calendar, where your guests can see the possible free terms after they gave the number of guests. The iCal calendar can be integrated automatically with other platforms, so you can see all of the bookings in one calendar.
You can easily set seasonal and weekend pricing, minimum and maximum stays, check in and check out days and even the currency. With GoDirect, the communication with guests can be automatized by customized e-mailes. You can set extra services, coupons, promotion terms or discounts – the booking engine will automatically count the prices with these conditions.