Redesigning The Catholic Traveler

For this 12th iteration of my website, I dug deep into my stats and searched for areas where I could better assist my visitors. This design is all about making resources easier to find, leading visitors to more relevant content, and adding some new ways to help people.

I spent quite a bit of time thinking about my business. While the ‘business’ side of things is designing and leading pilgrimages, what I enjoy most of all is helping people explore their faith through travel. I see the results of this on my trips of course, but I know that even more people use my resources for travel either on their own or to supplement pilgrimages or tours they’ve booked through others.

Analytics

I average about 5,000 unique visitors a day to my site. Some days it spikes to about 10,000 if I publish a blog post – which is admittedly all too rare.

The majority of my visitors are from the US, but 10% are from Rome – so about 500 visits per day are people in Rome looking for help while traveling.

I noticed that most of these visitors land on the page they want, through a Google search for example, get the info they need, and bounce – that’s the technical term. 🙂 While I love the fact that people can find what they need and leave, I’d love to be able to offer more assistance.

Though I offer quite a few resources for travelers, I admit that things are impossible to find on my site. That, hopefully, changes with version 12.

The new site went live on Tuesday, and there’s already a huge drop in bounce rates and a huge jump in the amount of time people are spending here.

Welcome to Rome

Realizing just how many people come to my site while in Rome was quite eye opening. I knew people used my site for planning their trips, I had no idea so many people used it while traveling. To help the planners and the travelers, I made my travel resources easier to find and added quite a few more. So now I can help people as they step off the plane, offer suggestions on places to eat, cool things to do, how to see the pope, and even ways to cleanse their soul.

Day Tours of Catholic Rome

I can’t tell you how often I receive emails from people asking for help in Rome. Things to see and do, places to go, cool churches to visit, etc. I always help, and sometimes even meet up with people and show them around.

I’ve now officially launched Day Tours of Catholic Rome. These day tours are sort of mini-pilgrimages for people who can’t or don’t want a multi-day group pilgrimage.

The Catholic Travelogue

I’ve now led 101 group pilgrimages! I usually share the experiences via social media, but I’ve also blogged about quite a few trips. This is a big project, but I’m currently working to bring all the data from past trips into one place, my Travelogue. I’m hoping it will eventually be a good resource for people planning their own trips abroad. I’m also looking forward to being able to see where I’ve been at a glance.

Credits and Tech Stuff

The great pictures of Italy were taken for me by Amanda Donaho.

Several of the Jordan pictures were taken by Jeffery Bruno.

I designed TCT v12 at a small pink Ikea desk in Rome, Italy, using Coda.

For TCT v12, I decided to move the site over to the Rainmaker Platform. I’m already seeing great results.

Enjoy.

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