Here at Not Your Average American, we are all about local guides! We want tourists to hire the best guides in Ecuador. One of the first steps a tour guide can take to introducing themselves to potential clients is to create a professional listing in our Guide Directory.  Make sure you create one of the best guide listings on our website!

Before you get started, you will want to open the “Add Guide” form. That way, you can follow along as we describe each section.

Create a Professional Guide Listing

To create an engaging and professional guide listing on Not Your Average American, we recommend a few suggestions. Before we explain them, we want to remind you that we are writing from an American point of view. We’re telling you what American tourists tend to look for. You may disagree and decide to do things a little differently. That’s okay, too. At the end of the day, we want your listing to reflect your brand, not ours. However, marketing is a cultural adventure with potential pitfalls. Be careful.

Write Your Listing in Your Native Language

We have made it possible for guides to submit listings in either English or Spanish. Our recommendation for the vast majority of Ecuadorian guides is to create a Spanish-language listing first. We give you instructions on how to duplicate and translate that listing into English, including asking us for free help in creating a fluent, easy-to-read product.

If you’re reading this article in Spanish, all links will take you to the Spanish-language forms. If you’re reading this article in English, all links will take you to the English-language forms (though you may see many of the words in Spanish as the new directory system auto-translates some fields based on your browser settings).

Let’s tackle the fields on the form one by one.

Name

Use your most recognizable name. It becomes part of your brand when you are a tour guide. It should be the same name across all platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and our website.

In Latin America, individuals often use three or four names including multiple family names. We recommend using a single last name in your branding.

Like Americans, many Ecuadorians use nicknames. However, Ecuadorian nicknames often look very different from a person’s first name. To complicate issues, Americans are rarely aware of the most common nicknames in Spanish (i.e. Pancho for Francisco). Therefore, when searching for the name of a guide recommended by friends, they are going to look for the name you used when you introduced yourself to that tour group. That name is almost always your nickname. Thus, we recommend using your nickname in your branding.

Guide Categories

Very few Americans are aware of the legal guiding categories in Ecuador. Therefore, we do not use them in this section. Instead, we have chosen categories that tourists are most likely to search for:

  • Adventure Guide with specialty in Climbing/Mountaineering, Diving/Snorkeling, and/or Kayak/Whitewater
  • Eco-Tour Guide with speciality in Birding and/or Naturalist
  • History and Culture
  • Local Guide

You may select more than one category. Only one choice can be the main category and will be marked by a blue circle. However, all marked categories will appear on your listing.

One term needs additional explanation: Local Guide. We know that in Ecuador, “Local Guide” is a legal term that reflects a type of license. In this instance, however, local guide refers to type of guiding you offer. For example, if you guide in the Historic District of Quito, you would be considered a local guide for Quito. You might select the categories History and Culture and Local Guide. If you specialize in eco-tours in the Cuyabeno, you are a local guide in Cuyabeno. You might select Eco-tour, Naturalist, and Local Guide.

If you would like us to add a category of guide, please contact us.

Your Story

Your Story provides an opportunity to tell us about yourself and your guiding profession. In fact, we want you to write this so that the search engines have an easier time finding your profile when people search for your name or for a particular type of guide in Ecuador. Our website performs well with the most common search engines. If you follow these tips, it will help your listing rise on those search engines as well.

The first recommendation is to write about yourself in the third person. For example:

“Angie Drake is the cofounder of Not Your Average American” is much better than “I am the cofounder of Not Your Average American.”

The former helps Google and other search engines know that this listing is about Angie Drake, cofounder.

Additionally, your story should include information about your guiding business. Tell us what a typical tour might look or your favorite places to visit. These words will be searchable on the Internet so be sure to include descriptive phrases that help tourists find you.

For example, if I was a tour guide, I might write:

“Angie Drake loves working in the Historic District of Quito where she offers tours in English, Spanish, and French. She specializes in small group tours with a focus on Spanish-colonial architecture and local food culture.”

Let us reiterate, the reason you should use your name in this portion is to make it easier for Google to know that this page is about YOU and YOUR guiding business.

Formatting Your Story

You have direct access to the advanced editor in fields that require text. The advanced editor is an important tool to help make your guide listing look professional. While the advanced editor looks complicated, it is actually fairly simple to use. 

First, you will want to click on the Visual Tab. Unless you are familiar with html code, you will not want to write in text. 

Click on the word visual to switch to the visual editor.

When you look at any of our articles on Not Your Average American, you will notice that sets of paragraphs are organized under headings. Every post and listing has a main title. It is always coded as Heading 1. There should only be one Heading 1 per post or publication. Therefore, when you are adding headings to your description, DO NOT USE Heading 1. 

 Also, there should only be one Heading 2 per post or listing. The first heading you use in your listing should be a Heading 2. After that, only use Heading 3. 

Click here to change your heading from Paragraph to Heading 2 or Heading 3
Heading 3 can be used multiple times.
Now let’s tell you how this works in practice. Go ahead and write your description. The first paragraph does not need a heading. Think of it as an introductory paragraph.

Your following paragraphs should further describe your profession. I’ve used an imaginary example with my own name. This is just to give you an idea of what your story might look like. For each paragraph, choose a title and type it above the paragraph. Select those words and navigate to the Paragraph Menu. When it drops down, select a Heading. For your first heading, you may choose Heading 2. Every heading after that should be a Heading 3.

How to add a heading to your story.

Let’s repeat a little information. It is important to understand that this formatting not only looks pretty but is essential to telling Google and other search engines what information is important on this page. Google searches for one Heading 1, one Heading 2, and multiple Heading 3. If you have multiple Heading 1, Google grades the page lower. If you have multiple Heading 2, Google grades the page lower. You can have as many Heading 3 as you like and it will not adversely effect the page’s Google ranking.

Here is a visual explanation of what your final product might look like:

An example of how headings should be used in a listing

Tags

Tags are another tool to help your listing rank well on search engines. It helps make your listing easier to find. Choose a few keywords that are important to the way you guide. For the example that I have written above, I would choose these keywords: Historic Center, Quito, food tour, architecture, Spanish-colonial, small group, personalized tours.

After you type in a key word or very short phrase, add a comma. That tells the computer to enter the new tag.

Images

Images are very important on today’s websites. Use photos that are well-lit, sharply focused, and nicely cropped. If you would like to learn how to take better photos using your phone’s camera, check out this article in English: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/good-pictures-phone-tips

Or this article in Spanish: https://mott.pe/noticias/10-trucos-para-saber-como-tomar-fotos-profesionales-con-el-celular/

You will be able to load as many photos as you like on your listing. We recommend 5 to 10 quality photos. Better to have only three quality photos than 10 bad ones.

After loading your photos you may change their order. Your first photo will be your featured photo. Please choose a featured photo that shows you at work or highlights you and your work.

Add Image Title and Subtitle

Also, after adding photos, we suggest adding a title and subtitle. Scroll over the photo and click on the edit button. This will open a window where you can add the title and subtitle.

Scroll over the photo and click on the edit button to add title and subtitle.

By adding this information, you will be improving your listings ability to rank well on Google and other search engines. The best titles and subtitles include the name of the location as well as the city and country. Use the subtitle to add the photographer’s name. If you are not the photographer, it is your responsibility to obtain permission to use their photo.

Add complete titles and subtitles to rank well on Google

 A few suggested tips:

  • Smiles are better than no smiles. American customers prefer to hire friendly and happy people. A smile confers those emotions.
  • Avoid photos of large groups lined up for a static shot. It conveys stereotypical, large group tours. No one wants to be on that kind of tour even when it is the only tour they might be able to afford. Instead, show your clients doing the activities you describe above.
  • Even when taking selfies, make sure the background reflects the type of tourism you promote. For example, a bird guide might take a selfie while wearing binoculars with a view of hummingbird feeders or a thick forest in the background. A whitewater guide might take a selfie with the river and kayaks in the background. A mountaineering guide might take a selfie on top of a mountain with a glorious view in the background.

Languages

Choose the languages you speak well! You might want to repeat this information in “Your Story” above.

Native Languages

Choose the native languages you speak well! You might want to repeat this information in “Your Story” above.

Credentials

List your license type and/or any other certifications that are important to your job as a guide. This is especially important for national guides who work in multiple locations. We understand that some local guides may not have official licenses or may have expired licenses. This is going to be especially true after Covid-19 when many guides cannot afford to renew their license unless they are guaranteed employment. Most Americans will not ask about your license. They will be more interested in your reviews.

You may also format this section using the Visual Editor.

Licenses and Certifications

Load photos or other documents to show your Ecuadorian guide license or other proof of certifications. This is especially important for adventure guides working in fields that require a license like whitewater rafting, mountaineering, or diving.

Contact

Fill in as many of the contact information fields as you would like. If you have a main method of contact you prefer, please mention it in the description above (i.e. Angie prefers that you contact her via WhatsApp at +1-202-568-9080).

Contact – Video

Video is listed with other social media links. However, on your final listing, it will appear under “More Info”.

If you have a video that you would like to share, add the html source code in this box. (i.e. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/awdTzE_SwHs” frameborder=”0″></iframe>).

Special Offers

If you would like to offer clients who find you via Not Your Average American a discount, this would be a great place to mention it. Also, if you offer special deals like a free day of guiding with a purchase of a one-week trip or can offer discounts for museum entry, hotel stays, etc., this is the place to mention it.

Final Note

While this might seem a little intimidating, your professional listing will bring you new clients. Don’t worry about making a mistake. You can always come back and edit your listing. All you need to do is navigate to Profile > Listings. On the listing you would like to edit, click on the three dots and choose “Edit.” You can also delete your listings if you no longer want your information advertised on Not Your Average American.

In closing, we want you to know that we are here to help you. If placing a listing feels overwhelming, let us know! If Angie’s Spanish isn’t up to the task, we can make sure that a native Spanish-speaker can take you through step-by-step. Send us a note to let us know what kind of help you need.

Esta publicación está disponible en: Español