EAN WordPress travel site: 10-step guide to creating yours! 51


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

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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:


About Jose Truchado

SEO Expert Jose Truchado has been working on Search Engine Optimization since 1996, he is a marketing coach, social media advisor, and entreprenuer founder of several successful start-ups within the travel industry. Jose has been providing SEO and SEM support to EAN partners since July 2009. Google+ profile: Jose Truchado on Google +


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51 thoughts on “EAN WordPress travel site: 10-step guide to creating yours!

  • family holidays

    This is really good stuff, thank you for finally documenting the tips in wordpress. I look forward to finding a few hours to have go and tweak a few wordpress blogs. Be interested to see how others have gone about integrating into their blogs and wordpress sites.
    Thanks again
    J

  • kay

    Thanks. I can’t be the only one who read this. Unfortunately when working with Templates a lot of things don’t go your way. “The current theme does not natively support menus, but you can use the “Custom Menu” widget to add any menus you create here to the theme’s sidebar.”

    I appreciate the Tip on how to incorporate the php plugin… but resizing your Forms to fit existing spaces is nearly impossible for me.

    2 things you could write about that would be very helpful are:

    1. DEEP LINKING – make it easy
    2. How to easily change the Title of the site for use on multiple sites from a single account.

    • llcheng

      Hi kay,

      Good suggestions!

      We have some “Deep Link Generator” tools that we use internally and have now put them up on the blog pages so all of our affiliates can use them too. They are not as user friendly as we would like since they were meant for internal use but hope it will plug the gap in the mean time!

      This is a simple one which is quite self explanatory: http://blog.expediaaffiliate.com/simple-deep-link-generator/

      This is an advanced one which exposes more of the parameters but it is less self-explanatory so if you are familiar with the system, you can try this out too: http://blog.expediaaffiliate.com/advanced-deep-link-generator/

      • Frank

        There seems to be a problem with format code showing up in the feed…using either solution, and the highlighting of the link also doesn’t show, so for example:

        2.5* hotel from $82 USD per night – Location. Located in Nassau, this beachfront hotel is close to National Art Gallery of the Bahamas and Pompey Museum. Other attractions include Atlantis Aquarium.

        Can you help?

        cheers!

        • Jose Truchado Post author

          HI;

          We’ve just changed the WordPress Integration Guide to use a different RSS plugin to show only the titles of the links with the correct format, the plugin is called “In Post RSS”

          • Frank

            Hi Jose,

            There are still a few issues with your rss feeds. In addition to the existing problems the feeds do not seem to want to work with non word press technologies. I am building a thriving community (over 5,000 users now) and those feeds would make a huge difference. If you can contact me directly I can show you the issues.

            cheers

            Frank

  • Mike

    Thanks guys, this post motivated me to overhaul my site with wordpress, I love it! Been getting by great so far but have one question that I can’t seem to find the answer to. In my header above and below my logo I’m getting these gaps that I can’t get to go away. How did you guys get it fixed?

    http://www.thepointol.com/skytower

    Thanks! -Mike

  • Jeff Manes

    One question: In the integration guide it recommends using a header and overall width of 770 pixels. Using a WordPress theme Arras the width is past that amount. Is it OK to upload a header over 770 pixels to make the theme?

    Thanks in advance,

    Jeff

  • llcheng

    Thanks for the comments! BTW, we have a pretty lively conversation going on on Linked-in (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=2970046) – join us here to discuss latest topics on SEO and marketing travel.

    We had some comments saying that there was a problem with the RSS to Post Plug-in that we recommended in this article. If that plug-in doesn’t work for you for whatever reason, here is an alternative plug-in that basically does the same thing. It is called “RSS in Page”. All you have to do is to install that plug in and then at the bottom of the post, you can add a line of shortcode like this:

    [rssinpage rssfeed=’http://therssfeedurl’ rssitems=’10’ rsstarget=’_blank’ rssdescription=’no’].

    Our seattle page deals was done using this alternative RSS plug-in ( http://www.exampletravel.com/wordpress/?p=44 ).

    Obviously, you will need to replace http://therssfeedurl above with the actual RSS feed. If you want to show descriptions, you can change the rssdescription from no to yes etc. – see the plug-in summary for more details.

    Here is an exact cut and paste of the shortcode we used at the bottom of the post:

    [rssinpage rssfeed=’http://deals.expediaaffiliate.com/Merchandizing/Hotel/RSS.ashx?cid=310453&destinationId=&city=Seattle&stateProvince=Washington&country=United+States&ongoing=True&arrivalDate=&departureDate=&sortMethod=9&numberOfResults=25&minStarRating=3&amenities=&currencyCode=USD&locale=en_US&maskingDomain=&hotelIdList=’ rssitems=’10’ rsstarget=’_blank’ rssdescription=’no’]

  • bk

    Does anybody know how to alter the Samsarin search widget so that I could return properties based upon an amenity? Say, for instance, I wanted to only return hotels that had a pool…. it seems that the code would be:

    and it would be put in the same area as CID and other input type=hidden code…. but that doesn’t work! Help please! Thanks in advance!

    B

  • Earth Hotels

    WordPress like other machines, definitely makes it easier to set up a new website or for person who does not want to learn html just to build his/her own hotel or travel site. Yet, such engines lack one thing: flexibility. With ASP, php or similar you can do virtually anything, with WordPress you are limited.

    • Jose Truchado Post author

      Hi;

      In order to install a new wordpress plugin (RSS to post included) you can go to the Admin section of your wordpress site, go to Plugins on the left side bar, then click on “add new” and search for the plugin you want, you can install it directly from the results you get of your search

    • Jose Truchado Post author

      Hi, in order to open the results in a different page you just need to ad the following attribute to the form tag:

      target=”_blank”

      So it should look something like:

      Where cname.travelnow.com may be replaced by your CNAME.

  • flybee.com

    Hey,

    I am wondering how I can customize the search box for specific region such as europe or asia.

    I am also looking for some coders who can help me make full use of ian APIs.

    Thanks for your help.

    Regards,

    Flybee.com

  • Eckhard

    I have the issue that the drop down menu is showing white characters on white background. It needs to hove over the text to see the word coming. Not very inviting for visitors.
    I had copied and pasted the CSS to user css as suggested
    Please reply in plain English and if possible which line to change the code.
    I like the background of the drop to be same color as the top bar
    Thanks a lot

  • Anders

    Hi. I have followed this guid and it works great, thanks a lot. I have just two issues that won´t work for me.
    First I get a spacing along with the logo that won´t go away, no matter if I resize tha logo or not. I understand that the line –
    “#branding { width: 980px; margin: 0 auto; padding: 0 0 0px; }”
    in the css would take care of that but it dosn´t look like it does.

    And also the menubar, I got a problem with the color of the text in the menubar. From the css I understand that it should be white but it just won´t work for me and also the menubar is to long, it should follow the logo.

    Do you think you can help me solve this?

    Thanks in advance.

    //Anders
    http://www.resetjanst.com/

    Do you think you can help me with

  • Donny Daryl Munez

    Hi,

    I’m trying to implement this to my clients website and I have a question regarding this step – “”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!”

    Where can I replace the CID so it goes to my clients affiliate site? Is this located on the code?. I have been going over the code for the body but I can’t find it.

    Thanks

    Donny

    • Jose Truchado Post author

      Hi;

      You need to look for the following line in the search box code:

      That’s where you need to replace 310453 with the CID that was assigned to your account when you signed up

      • Donny Daryl Munez

        Hi Jose,

        I already replaced the CID.

        This is the line right here “”

        but nothing happened. It still goes to your affiliate site. Please let me know what else to replace. I’m sorry but I’m still new at this

        Donny

  • Chris

    Hi, when copying and pasting exactly as noted above I get this error message: Search for
    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home1/fullsto1/public_html/wp-content/plugins/samsarin-php-widget/samsarin-php-widget.php(93) : eval()’d code on line 1
    Hotels

    What am I doing wrong?

    Thanks

  • John

    Hi!

    Was working on setting up the custom fields (city22) and wanted to know if there was a widget I needed to install to do this. I do not have the option of inputting a custom field when creating a new post or when editing posts. I currently use a Genesis Framework Theme and any advice would be great! Thank you

    • Jose Truchado Post author

      HI;

      You need to go to click in the top right corner link that says “screen Options” (next to Help) and select the select box that says “Custom Fields” then the Custom Fields options will appear underneath the post edit box.

  • Leo

    Nice, finally I get this WP Expedia tutorial after several months join as affiliate… :-)
    May I know all theme and plugins still compatible with WP 3.2.1? I found an error page in hxxp://www.exampletravel.com/wordpress/?p=44

    In the other case, I have 10 lazy expired domain in Yahoo directory and want to develop its use Expedia affiliate. Need your advice what is better site to get a good result, make WP site like this article or build a site like exampletravel.com? Thanks for your advice.

    • Jose Truchado Post author

      Thanks for advising, this was caused by the update of the theme Arras.

      For those of you that get the same error, you can fix it by editing the widgets.php file found here:

      go into your wp-content/themes/arras/library/widgets.php

      and change the following code in the file:

      $this->WP_Widget_Tag_Cloud();
      to:
      parent::__construct();

      This should fix it

  • mihai

    Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_VARIABLE in /home/hotelszi/public_html/wp-content/plugins/samsarin-php-widget/samsarin-php-widget.php(97) : eval()’d code on line 67

    i got this eroo on samsarin php…why?

  • Franz Rieser

    Hi, I am Franz from Austria.
    The following error occured by embedding the recommended HTML code into the
    Samsarine Widget.
    Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/vraantz/public_html/wp-content/plugins/samsarin-php-widget/samsarin-php-widget.php(93) : eval()’d code on line 1
    1st: How can I fix it ? (may be there is a mistake in the code ?)
    2nd I am following your 10-ste guide and have a second problem: Cannot find
    any “costume fields”.

    Would be very grateful for help. Thankyou!

  • Ken

    Hi there,

    Have an issue regarding “9. Setting up your sidebar”
    Sample CID(310453) works fine in my site but somehow my CID(369530) doesn’t return any result and always shows “Sorry, no available hotels were found. Please try alternative options. ”

    How can I resolve it??

    Thanks

  • Steve M

    Dear llcheng,

    Hope you are fine as I am. Just saw your posts in Expedia Affiliate Network and thought of requesting your assistance. Am very grateful for your helpful resource on this topic. I have a question that has left me confused on integrating wordpress with Expedia Affiliate Network: My new wordpress site is http://exotic-romantic-vacations.com

    1) How do I load my footer and header since its in wordpress in php format and the network only accepts html or htm files?

    2) How do I effectively and successfully integrate my site to be on romantic vacations theme? I should be grateful for response at your own convenient time. Kind Regards, Steve

    • Martin Macdonald

      Hi Steve,

      you are correct in saying that the network only accepts html or htm files – this is to maintain security for all affiliates in the network as malicious code could be left in a php file.

      In order to skin the header and footer quickly and easily, you could try saving a copy of your site locally in a compatible format then cutting just the parts that you need out of the template using a graphical editor such as dreamweaver (commercial software by Adobe) or NetBeans (free software available here http://netbeans.org/downloads/ ).

      As to how to integrate your site into the romantic vacations theme, that will be achieved using the colour pickers and styling tools available in your merchandising central.

      best regards
      Martin

  • saj

    Hi

    I am a new Expedia affiliate, trying to install the ‘Arras theme’ in my WordPress site; but the theme is not showing up in my search results.

    Can you please advice if its still available?

    Thanks

  • QuickHotels

    You guys fail to mention how all the existing websites in WordPress should do this as it cannot be expected that everyone is going to run the same theme/template as the one you talk about here.

    Also it is quite weird you guys did not find out a different method than having everyone redoing their footer and header to upload to your system. The integration of such will not integrate the wordpress menu, especially if the menu is dynamically updated.

  • Get A Trip Vacations

    What I would really love to see Jose Truchado or any other EAN staff member reading this, is exactly how we can integrate unique content into a website such as this Travel WordPress Arras Theme. In other words, how we can escape all this Duplicate Content ? Where exactly and how is the unique content filtered in?

    • Martin Macdonald

      Hi Roman,

      I would really love to be more specific, but if I can just say “watch this space” for now that would be great! Seriously though, the shortcomings of current template methodology and the need for unique content at a destination and a hotel level isnt something that we have missed, but right now we are working out the best way to approach the issue. As soon as there is a solution I will let you know!

      thanks
      Martin