Whit.by - Visitor Information for Whitby
When I first became self-employed my accountant recommended I build some kind of directory website for Whitby. It seemed a logical thing to do, and a good way of reaching out to potential new customers.
However, I've never found the time to do it justice. Until now. COVID gave me a valid excuse to build something which would benefit out town's small businesses, as well as potentially providing an additional revenue source for my business in the future.
I managed to register the domain https://whit.by via the Belarusian authorities a while ago. I couldn't resist it - even though it doesn't 'look' like a proper domain to most Brits. Since the end of last summer I've been working on building the site - with my part-time colleague Esgrid. It's still nowhere near finished, but we're now happy to talk about it and are encouraging businesses to sign up for free advertising.
Whitby Business Directory
Whitby Businesses have plenty of options when it comes to advertising, but we wanted to do something a bit different. More flexible, fewer limitations and encouraging use of 'deep links', which are links to specific pages within your website, rather than just linking to the home page.
Our directory is categorised by business type. Each advert can include a large image, unlimited text description (including relevant links and sub-headings), social media links, contact details and physical address where available.
We want to encourage visitors to explore the local area - beyond the town of Whitby itself. We're creating a series of 'Explore' pages, giving key information about nearby locations. These include Robin Hood's Bay, Staithes, The Esk Valley as well as activities such as Walking and Cycling near Whitby.
Speed and Optimisation
We've done a lot of work on site speed and optimisation. We're using an image CDN to delivery high quality images quickly and improving our Google Pagespeed Score. We're using a GDPR-friendly analytics system to monitor traffic.
This week we've also built a multi-language version of the site. This uses Google Cloud Translate API to create alternative language versions of every page on the whole site. These are then served directly on the website itself - at relevant language specific domains. So far we're supporting French, German, Spanish and Italian. This is a bit of an experiment as I've never created a multi-language website in this way.
Work in Progress
The site is, and will remain, a work in progress. It'll never be 'finished' as there's always more which can be added to a site like this. As well as page content to write, we've also got a few big features to finish, which we'll explain more about in a future post.