Yoast.com’s WordPress Plugin Competition—My Entry

by Paul Wilson

 

WordTravelOne of my favorite bloggers, Joost de Valk, launched a wordpress plugin contest for Sunshine.co.uk, a travel booking company. The prize he is offering is a MacBook Air, and I must admit that I have been thinking of converting to a Mac for sometime (sorry Bill, I don’t want to be a PC).

The plugin I finally decided to create focuses on the marketing side of travel. Why do you go to a travel/vacation website in the first place? Most of my friends I asked shared that they were looking for either a good deal or a particular vacation package.

The plugin I devised (with the programming help of Milan Kaneria) gives a traveling website the power to focus on their most important call to actions with their users. Whether it is cheap airfare, a vacation package, or just information about different locations around the world, this plugin offers a visual but unobtrusive solution to keeping in touch with the user while on the site.

The genesis of my plugin comes from the Available For Hire plugin by Alex Girard. I had tested out this plugin a few months ago, and thought it had great potential. I especially liked how the plugin offered a bar that followed you no matter where you were on the page or site.

However, I felt that the plugin wasn’t customizable enough and also didn’t really focused on the true beauty of the plugin—visual navigation. Due to these weaknesses I dreamed up, and Milan programmed, the plugin I now call WordTravel.

You can see WordTravel in action at my development site: mytestsite.com/sunpress. On the development site I setup WordTravel to show it’s customizable features. I have half of the icons with text and half without. All icons have a text field in the plugin admin for you to add any text you want (or lack of text you don’t want). Also, you have complete control on where the icons link to.

wordtracker-admin-c

In the top left hand corner of the banner there is an anchored title to the latest post on MyMarketer. In the plugin admin you can either add a RSS feed or a line of text. If you want to add text we made the text field so that you can also add in html, in case you want to make an anchored text.

tutorial1_c

Currently, there are 16 possible travel icons you can use with WordTravel. In later versions of the plugin I will have Milan incorporate an uploader so that you can use whatever images you desire.

Overall, my whole goal was to create a plugin that helped highlight the important aspects of the site and make it easier for users to know what they are expected to do on the website. It should be interesting to see how WordTravel affects conversions with this in mind. Personally, I see it increasing a site’s conversions because the call to action is quite clear and accessible.

I will shortly create a post that will have a link to download WordTravel and also more instructions. If you have any questions please leave them in the next post. ~Paul W.

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