With 2014 rapidly drawing to a close it’s time to plan where we’re going in the year ahead.
While spending most of the last year trawling through thousands of website submissions, in an attempt to drain the backlog and reach the elusive Inbox Zero, I made some notes of the many things that disturbed me.
As it seemed our Webmaster Guidelines were too often ignored, I thought it might pay to outline How Not to Get Listed on Travel Notes.
I hope to offer some form of consistency of what will not make the grade, in response to the growing use of similar SEO tactics and lack of consideration for website visitors in an alarming number of cases.
Search Engine Optimisation
If it looks like text on the page is meant for search engine robots to read, then only search engines should read it; if they can find it.
That means if the font is too small, light grey on white or contains too many dubious anchor text links, then we won’t be listing the URL for a spider to follow.
Turn It Off
If background music or videos on auto start stalls the loading of a webpage, we won’t encourage others to try and find the off button.
We don’t need a mailing list subscription form or Facebook Like widget to invade the content before we’ve had the chance to see if our visitors might find it useful. Thank-you for helping us make a quick decision for them.
Homepage Footer Links
If a service has been paid for it probably doesn’t need to be advertised on the homepage.
A travel website will need to be really exceptional if it’s stating that it’s ‘Powered by anything’, ‘Designed by anyone’ or promotes an Internet Marketing firm; no matter how small or unobtrusive the text link might appear.
Yes I Do Want to Leave The Webpage
If I get asked if I really want to leave the webpage, or every link I click on opens a new window or tab, I won’t be coming back and won’t recommend anyone else pays a visit to the website either.
Quarantine Period For New Travel Website Submissions
Many of the older website submissions lost in the backlog returned the dreaded 404.
As having to manually remove dead links after the travel domain name has subsequently disappeared, changed hands or become sponsored link placeholders is a chore I don’t need, I’ve decided to implement a possible quarantine period of 18 to 36 months.
This will apply to new travel website submissions using the free Add URL service; that maybe didn’t break any of our webmaster guidelines in place, but failed to convince me that they’d be around for the long-haul.
A second review of the travel website at a later date can often save the hassle of deleting the dead link in a year or two.
New Advertising Rates For 2015
For websites that maybe don’t get listed immediately but have time sensitive offers for travellers, there’s always the option of advertising.
We’ve changed our advertising rates for 2015, now allowing for campaigns to be run by the month rather than on impression-based buys.
I hope we’ll have more time to concentrate on improving our own travel content in 2015 and continue to share some of the best travel destinations with our readers.
About The Photograph
Horseriding in Swiss Jura - The High Plateau of the Franches-Montagnes in the Swiss Jura is the birthplace of the Franches-Montagnes horse breed. This horse is descended from native mares that were cross-bred many times. It is the only breed of Swiss origin.
The 2014 Travel Notes Calendar is out; featuring a collection of travel photographs taken while driving around Europe during the last twelve months.
Choosing twelve images to feature (one for each month) from a year of travel is not always easy; especially when one month seems to have had a little more action than another, or perhaps the weather just seemed better.
Last year, we featured an UNESCO World Heritage Site each month and I was tempted to do the same again this year; opting instead for a mixed selection.
Cover Photo: Tower in The Lake – Reschensee
Lake Reschen is the largest lake above 1,000 metres in the Alps. Located south of the Reschen Pass, in South Tyrol, Italy the area is popular with cylcists. A large car-park near the lake is handy for drivers seeking a quick photo opportunity.
Santa Caterina in January
The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso clings to a rock face along Lago Maggiore.
Bernina Express in Winter
This panoramic train is the highest mountain railway in the Alps. The section between Thusis and Tirano has been classed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Budapest in March
Budpaest at the end of March last year looked more like Budapest in February.
Built in 1287, Bethlehem House is said to be the oldest wooden house in Europe.
Palu di Livenza
One of the most ancient pile-dwelling sites in northern Italy, Palù di Livenza has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Biergarten in Summer
It’s tradition in Germany and Austria to enjoy an ice cold beer after a long day’s drive. Some beer gardens are an extension of an excellent kitchen, like this one at the Hotel Schrofenstein in Landeck, Austria.
The Rhine Falls near Schaffhausen (Neuhausen am Rheinfall), in northern Switzerland, is the largest plain waterfall in Europe.
Chateau de Cormatin
Located between Tournus and Cluny in the heart of southern Burgundy, the Chateau de Cormatin was built by the Marquises of Huxelles in the early seventeenth century.
The Bogenbrücke (arched bridge) in Binn, Valais is listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance. The Binntal (Binn valley) is also famous for its rich mineral deposits and is popular with hikers; but then where isn’t, in Switzerland.
Battle of Morgarten – Schwyz Town Hall
The Battle of Morgarten (15th November, 1315) is depicted on the façade of the town hall in Schwyz.
Chinon in December
The Royal Fortress at Chinon owes much of its current appearance to Henry II Plantagenet, Count of Anjou and King of England.
- If you like the photos, order the 2014 Travel Notes Calendar today.
With 2013 drawing to a close, it’s time to start planning travel for 2014. To help you make your travel plans, or just dream a little over the winter months, here’s some travel book suggestions for the year ahead.
Lonely Planet Travel Book:
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, every country in the world is covered in this amazing travel book. Explore some 229 travel destinations and be inspired by over 800 examples of travel photography.
Best in Travel 2014:
Lonely Planet’s staff, authors and online community present a year’s worth of travel highlights to think about in the year ahead. Consider this a best of the best if you’re looking for travel ideas in 2014.
Food Lover’s Guide to the World:
Travel is not only about the places we visit and the people we meet but also a culinary adventure of regional dishes and tasty flavours in the foods we eat.
And of course, here’s a great book to curl up in bed with or read while waiting for a bus, plane or train.
|Join the Travel Notes founder (that’s me) as he sets off on a literary adventure; a voyage of discovery in foreign lands.
Travel with Michel on trains and buses in Asia, then jump into cars with complete strangers in Australia; meeting the characters that bring Nomadic Gatherings to life.
Taking Off; Kimchi and Gold Medals; Little Sister; Colonial Gateway; China Travel; The Northern Capitals; Grasslands to Terracotta.