BATW event at BAMPFA on Website Renewal

By Lee Foster

About 40 content creators met in Berkeley CA on 031718 to discuss websites/blogs aimed at the worldwide audience, especially regarding travel info and insight. The discussion had implications for all writers, journalists, and authors in all subject area.

The event was a monthly meeting of the Bay Area Travel Writers (, as now managed by president Judith Horstman.

The meeting was encouraged by Visit Berkeley (, led by Dan Marengo.

The event transpired in the Atrium of the sparky new Berkeley world-class art venue, known as BAMPFA, as in Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive ( The outreach communicators there are Ann Wiens and AJ Fox.

I was privileged to organize, introduce, and present (first of three presenters) on the issue of the moment, which was:

Does Your Travel Journalism WordPress Website Need a Refresh in 2018? 

Beyond the three presenters, there were many distinguished practitioners in the audience. I invite all, including observers in the public, but not present, to participate in this doc. Send your thoughts to me at [email protected] and they will be appended below.

The event was live theatre, so there is no visual or verbal record of the day, though there are PowerPoints and commentary/comments/reflections from the presenters (and possibly others). Comments from the attendees and the public are welcome.

I was first among our three presenters:

Lee Foster
PowerPoint (click on the link to download the PowerPoint):
2018 BATW Website Renewal Talk

Then appeared
Jeffrey Samorano, website designer, from Chico CA
Jeffrey has summarized his talk in a YouTube video that is lucid, concise, and helpful:

and finally
John Sundsmo/Lee Daley
PowerPoint (click on the link to download the PowerPoint):

Below you will see my verbal synopsis of my PowerPoint. I invite the other presenters to do the same. Comments from others are also welcome and will be placed below. Send any observations for inclusion to [email protected].


Does Your Travel Journalism WordPress Website Need a Refresh in 2018?

Presenter 1:

Lee Foster

Summary of what was presented: 

My “New” Website  is at

Why have a travel journalism website?

  • Connect with an audience
  • Earn income, various ways
  • Shape the world of travel
  • It’s your art form
  • It’s fun


  • All of the above


What kind of travel journalism website?

  • Resume of links to your traditionally published works
  • Showcase of your work in your structure
  • Blog
  • Full publishing effort, in direct competition with all media


  • All of the above


Why use WordPress as a website structure?

  • Widely popular, many contributors
  • Open source, no one owns it, keeps evolving
  • Themes keep getting better
  • Lots of plug-ins for tasks
  • About 100K worldwide designers


Engage a designer vs use a template
from GoDaddy, Hostgator, Wix?

  • My strategy: Designer Jeffrey Samorano
  • Get design help, do routine content swaps yourself
  • Do-it-yourself will have challenges
  • Issue: Who will be there to help when you have problems?
  • Issues occur when WordPress updates
  • Will a template provider have good phone support? Is your website “portable?”
  • Will a template have plug-in and SEO flexibility?
BATW event at BAMPFA on Website Renewal


Who should be your website host?

  • I use WPEngine, expensive, installed by my designer
  • Other options: GoDaddy, Wix, Hostgator

Issues are

  • Security, getting hacked, backup and restore
  • Speed time of loading, lose customers if slow
  • Reliability, will you be “down”?
  • Personal handling in an emergency
  • Cost


Why improve your website now?

  • Google encourages it if you want Search results
  • Need to be Mobile Friendly
  • Now 40% of my traffic is mobile
  • Need to be https secure-encrypted data exchange
  • See the little green lock, consumers want it
  • Google provides 80% of my traffic via Organic Search


  • New themes are better, less need for “custom” design


Evolution of my website

  • 1995 Html website
  • 2009 WordPress by Bradley Charbonneau
  • 2017 WordPress by Jeffrey Samorano using Theme Newspaper and SEO Yoast
  • Avada is most popular theme today, but I chose Newspaper


My new website theme Newspaper is better than my old one

  • Light and airy, swipable
  • Shows multiple clusters of options at once, improved discoverability of ranges of articles
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Https secure for encrypted data
  • Better SEO Yoast
  • Better reporting of data, Google Analytics
  • Better printout look
  • Better Integration with my 5 Social Media


My new website has better SEO discoverability than my old one

Yoast is my SEO plug-in

  • Yoast is a learning ecosystem for SEO
  • SEO All in One was my old one, also good


Plug-ins will be needed for

  • Good printouts
  • Collecting emails, maybe Mailchimp
  • Contact form
  • Ecommerce, maybe Woo Commerce


Details: Problems arose with change for my 500-plus articles

  • Focus Keyword phrase needed
  • Featured Image needed
  • Slideshows need to be non-Flash


Details: Where is the income?

Lesser, but accessible:

  • Ads, Google and private, and sponsorship
  • Selling products (books, ebooks) and services (consulting)
  • Affiliate income such as Amazon, and SF Tours City Sightseeing

Major, but more difficult:

  • Licensing
  • Assignments


Details: Link your Social Media to your website to increase traffic

  • My plan: Weekly new post or updated post, announced in Social Media
  • Pace Yourself, commit to something you can deliver

My Five Social Media, in order of importance:

  • Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram (new)


  • Twitter, Google +

The End for Lee Foster



  1. A lot of information, in bullet form. Nice. Twitter is first in importance for me, then Flipboard.

  2. Thanks, Charles. It is helpful for all of us to understand what Social Media works best for which authors. To what would you attribute your success on Twitter?


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