Almost a must for many web agencies: but can what was born to create a blog be adapted to a hotel website?
Proudly I write the first article of the "new" blog, a gift from my friend Alex. I know that many will not notice (at least at first glance) important differences and I also know that many will turn up their noses because of this article. Unveiling the arcane I notify you that my "old" Blog, unlike this one, was self-made and developed in Wordpress.
And then with the opportunity and veteran of the experience lived in first person, I want to answer a question that I am often asked by my friends-customers on the opportunity to use Wordpress for the web of their hotel.
Important preamble: Wordpress is a CMS (Content Management System) and was born to create blogs quickly, free and accessible to those who do not have deep knowledge of languages such as HTML or other programming codes. I apologize for the technicians but, to make it understandable to those who are not web experts, we can say that Wordpress is a template, a model already built, with which anyone with a minimum of practicality in the use of modern software, can build a website.A site developed "by hand" is on the contrary the dress that the craftsman makes for us, in this case a person who writes the code for our web.
In addition to the graphic result that at first glance may seem very similar (I must say that I have seen sites made in Wordpress really very beautiful), there are technical differences that have always led me to discourage this platform for a hotel.
Wordpress works with Plugins, that is, extensions or additional functionality: do you want a visit counter? Do you want a form that allows users to sign up? Do you want a text editor that has the "justify" function? For each of these features you'll need to download and install a plugin. My old blog had basic functionality but it still required the installation of about 15 plugins. The problem is that every extra plugin means a lot of code (sometimes even superfluous) that goes to weigh down your site making it a little more frustrating the browsing experience.
I had the proof with this Blog: even if we have the same hosting (so with the same line performance) banal operations that before took a few seconds of waiting are now almost immediate.
Just to have an idea I show you the graph of the "page-time", that is how long it took to open a page before (with Wordpress) and what happened after publishing the new blog.
Leaving aside the convenience of those who work there every day, think about how crucial it is for a hotel to have a site that performs well in terms of speed. We all know that converting a visit to our site is already a difficult operation. If then we have a slow web or not correctly usable....how much do you think our potential guest from Japan is willing to wait for the page of our site to open?
To get an idea of how much the speed of our site determines its fate, I invite you to read this article: very detailed statistics explain how the speed of loading pages and the percentage of site abandonment are closely linked together by a relationship of direct proportionality.
But it's not just a speed issue. Plugins are developed by third parties as a hobby or even for business (some are free, others are paid) and it often happens that one of them contains a security bug or an operating bug. Translated into operational terms this means that you have to keep the platform constantly updated: it's not a coincidence that continuous updates are released to solve especially vulnerability problems.
If you are passionate about the subject and want to have an idea of the magnitude of the phenomenon of which I am talking about then read this page that summarizes the attacks on Wordpress sites in September. From personal experience I can tell you that as soon as my "old" blog started to have some visits it started to get spam attacks advertising boner pills and similar things. Obviously I had to install another plugin to fix the problem.
From recent research by W3 Techs it seems that almost 25% of the world's dynamic online sites are Wordpress.
Now even the most loyal supporters of Wordpress will agree that originality is not the strong point of sites made with this platform. Of course making a graphic template is much more complicated than downloading a free WP template (or even a paid one) but we must keep in mind that that template will be used by thousands (or rather millions) of people. If we want to impress our visitors then let's go for different solutions. We have a few seconds to impress our visitor: speed, graphic appearance, photographs and usability of content are the elements that will transform a visit into a booking.
I agree Wordpress is a free platform but, unless you want to do it yourself (which I strongly advise against for a hotel), who will create the site will rightly be paid. And even if he will use a theme from a few dollars he will ask you - I repeat rightly - a probably important amount.
The problem is that by now everywhere I run into web agencies that work only in Wordpress. Of course, excuse me but nobody will convince me otherwise, it's much easier and above all within reach of many geeks. But this doesn't mean you are a graphic or web professional: maybe you are a communication professional. But we're talking about different things.
My personal conclusions
When I decided to write a blog I did it for fun and curiosity: it was out of the question to invest in a web project made by professionals and Wordpress was the best solution. Without spending anything and with a bit of testing (and a lot of pissing off) I managed to create the blog and I started to get a fair number of visits. But just when the blog started to work more problems arose in terms of speed, security and many small needs that I could no longer satisfy.
Wordpress in short did very well what it was designed for: a blog.
A hotel website is not a blog.