Many of our affiliates find it easier to build a site using open source content management systems and blogging tools such as WordPress, Joomla and Drupal than to code their pages using static HTML.
See an example of what you can do with WordPress on our example site here: http://www.exampletravel.com/wordpress/
It took us around 3 hours to set this up. It may take longer if you are a newbie but WordPress is a great tool and definitely worth learning!
Below is a simple, easy to follow step by step guide to how to create an EAN travel site using WordPress with minimal coding. We assume that you have already signed up for an EAN account and received your six digit affiliate ID (“CID”). If you haven’t done so yet, sign up now on http://www.ean.com and then come back to this guide.
1. Installing WordPress on your servers
There are two ways to start using WordPress: you can sign up for a hosted version on WordPress.org or you can install on your own server space with your hosting company. We recommend the latter as one of the best things about WordPress is the many terrific free plug-ins that developers have created and you can only use them if you have installed WordPress on your own servers.
There are many hosts on the market that provide one click installation of WordPress in their admin panel. Some hosts that we have used before include Siteground and Hostmonster. Below is a screenshot of cpanel within Siteground which provides a one click installation of WordPress.
Once you have installed wordpress on your servers, you should be able to access the WordPress admin panel by going to: http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin and logging in with your administrator password.
2. Choosing a theme
Once you are in the WordPress Admin
Panel, you should click on “Appearance” to choose your theme. For our example, we decided to use a free theme called “Arras“. Search for this theme and activate it as your default theme.
3. Installing some useful plug-ins
After you have installed your theme, you can click on Plugins in the Admin Panel and install the following list of useful plug-ins. The great thing is… all of these are free!
- Samsarin PHP Widget: this is required for the search box on the right hand side of the site
- In Post RSS Feeds: this is optional but allows you to show RSS deal feeds at the bottom of each post
- Platinum SEO Pack: this optimizes your site for search engine discoverability
4. Customize your top navigation to link to your EAN template
As you can see in the example, when you click on hotel, or car rentals etc. it directs you to a different part of your EAN private label template. Use the “menu” function under the “Appearance” tab inside WordPress to customize your menu. For example, for the hotel tab, just link that to the URL below – remember to change it to your six digit CID.
Hotel Tab URL: http://travel.exampletravel.com/hotel/search/search;jsessionid=5A68325E4F884942AD1EC66668C8C65C.tn06tc06?currencyCode=EUR&additionalDataString=vrBookingSource|null&locale=en_gb_US&cid=310453
5. Customize the header and homepage settings
Go into the “Arras Theme” tab inside WordPress as shown below and upload your header. While you are in here, go into “home” and under “featured posts”, change the title to “Featured Destinations” and change the “Show Category” drop down to “sticky posts”. These settings determine how your homepage will look.
Upload your logo or top banner in the “Custom Logo” section that you will find in the “Design” tab of the Arras theme options panel.
6. WordPress settings
Go to the “Settings” tab at the bottom of the WordPress menu and change your Site Title to something appropriate and delete the tagline.
7. Editing style sheets
Now, if you need your site to have different colors than the default theme, you will need to go into “Appearance” -> “Editor” and select the user.css file. You can then copy and paste in our code (or put in your own edits) and this will override the default CSS settings.
You can copy and paste the code that we have used from here. Our code basically turns the header section to white, turns the top navigation bar to blue and adjusts some font colors etc.
8. Now, create some sample posts
In this example, each “post” is one featured city or destination. Create a separate post for every city that you want to feature. Put “Hotels in xxx” as a title and put some unique content about the destination in the content of the post. In this example, we have decided to categorize our destinations by country. You can obviously also categorize by theme and so on.
Important: We have customized the code of the search box to use each post’s city so before you publish your post, you should scroll down towards the bottom of the page until you see a section called “custom fields”. Add a new custom field called “city22″ and type in the name of the city that this post relates to. This field will be referenced by the search widget in the side bar to automatically populate the search box with say “New York” when you are on the “New York” page.
We have also added some additional functionality here. The Arras theme that we have chosen looks great because each post has a Featured Image. Make sure you add a Featured Image for each post:
In addition, you will see that on say the “Boston Hotels” page, we have 10 live RSS feeds showing the latest deals in Boston. You can do this by enabling the In Post RSS Feeds plug-in (make sure you actually go into the settings to enable the plug-in) and then just paste in the URL for the RSS feed.
You can create these links by logging into the EAN affiliate center and using our “Create a Campaign” functionality. There are more details on how to do this inside the affiliate center. Note that this tool is still in beta.
9. Setting up your sidebar
In our example, we have two widgets on the sidebar: a search box and a generic RSS list of deals. Go to “Appearance” in the Admin Panel and choose “widgets”. Drag and drop the “Samsarin PHP” widget to the primary side bar.
In the “Title”, paste the following code.
In the “Body”, paste this code in. Please MAKE SURE you replace our CID (310453) otherwise your traffic will go to our site, not yours!
10. The Final Step!
Now, the wordpress section of your site is finished! You can add lots of unique content to your site to help it rank on search engines. Read our SEO posts for more details on how to get traffic without spending a lot of marketing dollars.
The final step is to upload your header in our affiliate centre so your EAN template actually matches the look and feel of your WordPress site, if you don’t know how to do that you can find out following this guide.
Example Sites created Using This Guide: