“Follow the plan outlined here and you can create your own website from scratch without writing any code for less than $300.”
TripAdvisor is a well-known website that provides varying amounts of information such as hours of operation, locations, reviews, and more.
As the most extensive travel website in the world (over 500 million reviews), it is a go-to website for travelers and locals alike. It makes sense to use TripAdvisor as a model for your business.
If you are creating a similar website, you want to make sure you are not making a cheap copycat. You want a quality design that is both user-friendly and simple for you, the creator, so you can create a website that will rival TripAdvisor.
Can you build it on your own?
Usually, if building a site from scratch, a team of designers and developers would be required to build and maintain the website. However, with the tools available today, that’s a thing of the past.
Now you can make a travel directory site from scratch while using already pre-made software, eliminating the need for designers and programmers. This leads to huge financial and time savings.
In this guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know to launch your version of TripAdvisor using WordPress.
How much does it cost? With the tools recommended in this guide, you’ll be able to get a beautiful site online with all the features you need for less than $200.
The site you’ll create
WordPress uses themes to change how your site looks and plugins to add new features and functionality. With themes and plugins, anything is achievable.
Here’s a look at how your finished website will look:
While this is a good representation of the site’s design, it can be radically altered thanks to the customizable fonts, colors, and layouts.
Here’s another design you can use as well:
You will create an operational website that feels at home for users. And you will be able to do all this without coding. It just takes a few simple steps.
Steps to build a site like TripAdvisor
Five steps are all it takes to create an interactive directory like TripAdvisor.
- Decide on a domain name
- Select hosting for your site
- Create your WordPress site
- Install your theme
- Launch your site
Pretty simple, and once done, you’ll have a new website ready to go. Let’s break it down even more and go into detail for each step.
1. Domain Name
To have a website, you’ll need a domain name. Your domain name is the address for your site and usually ends in “.com,” at least that is the most common and easiest for people to remember.
Having a good name for your domain is essential because this will affect your branding. You want something simple that represents your business, while still appealing to your customers.
Finding a good domain name that’s still available can be tough, so you may need to get creative. Once you find one, don’t buy it until you read this next step.
2. Hosting your site
You have a name; now you need a reliable hosting company. The web host you choose will store your website’s files on one of their servers and load your site when people visit your domain.
In other words, no hosting means no website.
Bluehost is the host I recommend because they are affordable, reliable, and they will auto-generate a WordPress site for you when you signup.
Bluehost will also give you a free domain name if you sign up with them, so hold off registering your domain until you create an account with them.
3. Install WordPress
Again, this step is done for you if you use Bluehost as your host. Otherwise, you’ll need to complete an installation process.
Most hosts have an installer to help you out, so it will just require filling out a form.
WordPress is the best site builder to use for building a site like TripAdvisor for a few reasons.
- Themes and plugins – WordPress developers are continually creating new themes and plugins so you can create a powerful and unique site.
- Large community – you can always find tutorials online and help in the WordPress support forum.
- No coding required – you don’t need any prior knowledge of coding or even website design to create and manage your site.
- Affordable – Did I mention that creating a WordPress website is completely free? WordPress is an open source project and will always remain free to use.
Follow this WordPress site building guide for more detail on creating your first website with WordPress
4. Find a Directory Theme
If you want to replicate a website like TripAdvisor, you need a WordPress theme.
There are tens of thousands of themes available, but just a few that can handle a site of this complexity. The theme that stands out amongst the rest is ListingPro, and I’ll go into more detail why below.
Listing Pro works as a directory theme allowing you to manage and promote establishments whether they’re hotels, restaurants, or other destinations. It is exceptionally customizable and is known as the #1 Best-Selling Directory Theme of 2017 and 2018.
With the functionality included in this theme, you could make a directory for:
- Local search business
- Tour and travel
- Software reviews
ListingPro is the number one choice as your theme for a site similar to TripAdvisor because in addition to the directory features, it also has community tools so users can register, leave reviews, and message each other all on your site
The design is also very user-friendly. The AJAX-powered search quickly accesses results as you type in your search, and there are plenty of filters for further narrowing down the results.
Of course, ListingPro isn’t just for end users. Businesses can also register and list their organizations on your site. Here’s a preview of the business submission page:
Business owners can always edit their entries and also pay to promote their businesses with just a few clicks, creating even more profit for you.
And to keep things convenient, ListingPro offers multiple payment options. Some of the built-in payment gateways include Stripe, PayPal, and 2Checkout. Users appreciate the convenience of various payment options.
They have recently updated with a 1.2 release that offers even more possibilities for your website. In turn, you can provide more to your clients. Listing Pro aims to address the needs of your clients while maximizing return on investment.
Some additional ListingPro offers include:
- Smart Search
- Smart Filter
- Near me
- Targeted Ads
- Review and rating
No paid plugins are required, everything offered within Listing Pro. A swift set up with this theme, and you’ll be all set to launch.
Listing Pro also consults with industry experts from Silicon Valley, so you know you’re getting top of the line quality.
Listing Pro Alternatives
While Listing Pro may be your best theme, you may want to check out some alternatives. There are some other decent choices like Qibla and Listable.
Qibla is an excellent directory style for local business owners and promoters. Included are some plugins, and you have the options of purchasing others at additional cost.
Events, hours of operation, and an archive page are some of the benefits boasted by Qibla.
Listable aims to support your needs by offering clients “the right thing, in the right place, right when you need it!” It is an easy-to-use system that is pleasing to the eye.
Additional free plugins can be installed to increase functionality. Listable’s use of WooCommerce allows for transparent commissions so that you can increase profit.
Launch your version of TripAdvisor
You’re at the final step.
With this guide, you discovered the tools you need to build your own site like TripAdvisor and how they all fit together. To summarize these steps once more:
- Find an available domain name
- Get hosting with Bluehost
- Install WordPress
- Get a theme (I recommend ListingPro)
- Launch your site
I’ll leave it to you to decide how you want to market and launch your site. With the beautiful, profit-ready website you’ll create with the first four steps, you’ll have no trouble impressing every visitor you bring to your site.