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Dear Small Ski Areas, Don’t Fret Over Design, Just Use WordPress. Sincerely, Me

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I’m all for a custom website design, perfectly tailored to your resorts needs. A good designer can help your brand’s online presence work for you 24/7, like having a not-so-freaky third arm growing out of…well…somewhere.

Bad analogy. But my claim stands: custom design is awesome…for some.

Because for you small resorts, no matter how much you’d want hip, form-fitting web fashion for your brand, it’s just not feasible. Instead, you take one of a few alternatives including leaving the current 2001 design as is, asking the [insert random employee who says he knows HTML here] to do it, or hiring an “affordable agency” (usually no such thing).

Instead, I’d just use WordPress. Remember, this is for smaller resorts and ski areas. Bigger brands need specific attention to their presence, have the resources to do so and should. But you fall below a certain level of skier visits or revenue or whatever, and it just doesn’t add up.

So, here’s a shopping list for a great site that will do everything you need for less than $100 + some time to get the copy moved over.

1) A Basic Web Host – less than $20/mo
Smaller resorts simply don’t need a dedicated server for their site. If you are using shared hosting, you probably don’t want to go for the rock bottom plan, but don’t feel like you need to pay $50/mo either. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’ve run popular sites on $3/mo hosting plans without a hitch.

2) A Fresh WordPress Install – FREE
Many web hosts these days have one-click WordPress install tools built right into their dashboards. WordPress is a powerful, yet super easy-to-use website platform that has a built in blog, tons of free plugins, and is completely free and open source. It’s what powers SlopeFillers and I use it for almost everything I build.

3) A Slick, WordPress Theme – $70
Here are two I’d love to see a small ski area use. Each is fully customizable in terms of hero images, navigation, and has the WooTheme’s ecommerce plugin built right in. The are even fully responsive, right out of the box.

Scrollider (live demo)

Whitelight (live demo)

At $70 a piece, it’s hard to beat. Plus, with WordPress, there’s tons of free support out on the web for everything from tweaking your design to integrating commerce and adding social media functionalities.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask
Hopefully between Social7, the social dashboards, a daily blog post for the last 2.5 years, all of which are free, you’ve figured out that I’m here and happy to help in any way I can, however meager that usually ends up being.

If you’re a small resort and would like to upgrade your site to a WordPress setup, give me a call or shoot me an email. I’d be happy to help. Big resorts owe you a lot for the beginner skiers you feed them year in and year out, and I owe you for my favorite skiing memories (that have almost all been at small areas).

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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