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Top Tips On Web Site Design for Holiday Home Owners, Hotels, Vacation Rentals, Caravan Parks, Self Caterers and Bed and Breakfast Web Site Owners

THEY’VE GOT TO VOTE FOR YOUR WEBSITE FOUR TIMES BEFORE THEY BOOK

And the odds are against each vote.


This piece has been written with the holiday home owners in Scotland in mind. But it can apply to any vacation rental owner, hotel owner, bed and breakfast owner, even caravan park and camp site owner.

You can see this and more features on the subject at www.holidayhomewebsupport.blogspot.com


Your site gets many hundreds of visitors, thousands, each year. The vast majority are not prospects, they just clicked on it out of passing interest, and a lot of the “visitors” are the search engines finding your site regularly each week.


We get probably about 3,000 genuine visitors to our site out of total 20,000 or more site visitors each year. So why don’t more of them book? Sometimes we are booked for the date they want, but most of them book with someone else. We lose their vote somewhere along the way. Yet we have one of the most successful vacation rental web sites in the country.


Every visitor is looking for something different.

We’ve just had a booking for two weeks for October. He found us through keying in “Kentallen” our local hamlet, into Google. Virtually no one searches for that term, but he did and he found us as the only self-caterer on page one. Why? Because he and his wife have just bought a house up the road and they want somewhere to stay while they move in.


Luck, sheer luck. We can’t base a marketing strategy on luck. But in a funny way each of our bookings are “lucky” in some way in that each guest is looking for something different from the next guest.


We’ve got to get them to vote for our site four times when they search. How, is the question.


The 1st vote is for the “description” of our site on page one of Google (or any other search engine but Google is overwhelmingly the most important). The “description” also carries our site name, our “url”

Our url is http://www.bayviewkentallen.co.uk and it is a poor one. If we were doing it all again we would have registered a better url name such as www.lochsidecottagescotland.com This might have helped us get up to page 1 or 2 of a bigger search term such as “Scotland”. The following is a new site and the url is a good one. http://www.loch-lomond-waterfront.co.uk. It registers the place which very high on search terms and offers a distinct benefit about the property – a waterfront location.


Tips


You’ve probably got your site set up already, but you may care to consider doing a new one for the long term. No reason why you can’t have two sites for the one property so long as they are different from each other. You may use a web designer or do it yourself, no matter, you need to know as much as he/she does. Web designers do not usually know much about marketing. Half of the problem is technical and the other half is your marketing approach.


1.Think hard about the Url you are going to use and relate it to the search terms people will use to find you. Don’t go for little search terms such as “Kentallen” but bigger ones such as “Scottishhighlands” More on this in a later piece.

2.Write and re-write your description of your site many times to make sure it fits the search terms they will use. The description goes into the html code used by the web designer, but the text should go also into the opening paragraph at the top of page one, because this is what Google uses. More about finding the best search terms in a later piece.

3.The search engines do not see your complete site, they see each page separately. So for the most critical pages in your site not all of them you need to get the right url, I mean the small extension at the end of the url which identifies each page and ends in .html such as www.yoursite.co.uk/tariffs.html You also need to get the right description for each separate page just as you do for the opening page.


This might win you the first vote. You have a fleeting instant to do this before they move on to another site or choose another search term. You need them to click on your site because it is high up on the pages they search and the description makes it look good.


Using a directory to list you.

If you are using a directory, such as Assc, then the same issue applies but in a slightly different form. You must, you absolutely must appeal to people with the finest looking photograph on the page they are looking at. This might mean not using a close up photo of your property, but rather to go for the surrounding scenery. We show our little bay. The property is there in the distance what they want from us is the beauty and the surroundings. They want a memorable holiday.


You might object to this and say they want to see your property, but what is the point of taking a moral stance if they are not going to click on your entry in the directory. You’ve lost them without even trying. Someone who does try hard to present their finest features will win them.


Now we have a click on our site and we are into the 2nd vote when they look at our opening page. They click on many different sites most of which at not at all suitable for their purpose. Now they decide either to move on in 5 seconds – or to examine our site a little further. Most move on. We can tell from our “bounce” stats on the web analyzer. (Analyzer explained later.). When they see our opening page they must be impressed straight away.


Questions:

·Does our opening page present visitors with an instant, wow! reaction? A picture of the property’s front door is not going to do it. I take it all back if you are offering them a castle or a mill, but for most of us the property itself, the building, is not what turns them on.

·Does the first page draw them into the site? Remember they are looking for a very memorable holiday, does your site tell them they are going to get this? This is where lovely design comes into play.


Our site visitors who stay with us for a bit longer are those who find the answers to their immediate questions within a couple of our site pages. Is the property available when they want it, how many will it sleep, does it accept dogs/smoking, does it look clean, is it in a nice situation, what about price?


They want fast answers to these questions. Later they’ll look again at the details, But for the moment we want to get on to their short list of properties. But they are more likely to stay on our site because they can see, for example, a wonderful view from the bedroom window which they will wake up to every morning. That’s the Wow! factor. See http://www.achnaskiacroft.co.uk/Acc.html

Grading is re-assuring to them but only half the properties in Scotland offer it. (Early results from a survey of Dmoz directory entries). It is not really powerful unless it is five star, although four stars get good bookings.


We’ve just had a honeymoon couple stay with us and they went diving in Oban harbour. That is our second pair of divers this year. The 3rd vote (5 minutes to make up their mind?) is more about “Is this area, this view, this situation going to give my family a holiday we’ll remember for a long time to come? We have this one big break a year, I’m determined that the whole family will love it” Does the area offer the kind of things my family is looking for? Is the property suitable for the family, is the kitchen equipment good, do the owners sound friendly and so on. Tricky this one, because each person is actually looking for something different to the next person and we have to meet everyone’s needs in our web site. At the end of this vote they might bookmark our site for their final short list and show it to someone else in the family perhaps. Relief.


At this stage they might e-mail us with an enquiry that’s one reason why I don’t like booking forms, I like the easy exchange offered by e-mails. I’d like to have them contact us before they’ve made up their mind.


Tips


·Have we got deep content in our web site, answering all their questions about the area? This is also important for the search engines. Does it cover every kind of guest interest adults, touring, small children, teenagers, special interests such as wild life, activities such as walking, cycling, fishing.

·Is every page well written, simple to read and contain its own wow! factor.

·Does the site sell the area, as much as the property. We are all competing with other areas of Scotland they could choose. Their alternative might be a short break in Spain – we’ve got to win them to us.


The final 4th vote is between their final short list of 3 or 4 properties. Notice it is still odds against us winning and this is an easy place to lose it with the small print or with poor photographs. How many enquiries do you get which do not turn into business? (Is the road outside the house safe for my children? Is there enough to do if it rains all the time? How far and how good is the local shop?)


For example, I’ve seen the most ghastly Terms of Business in s/catering web sites, written out as if the guests will be treated as potential scoundrels. There is absolutely no need for it, owners ought to relax and trust the guests. They can tie in Terms later in e-mails if they must. If we put them in the web site in a heavy-handed fashion, when people are comparing properties on their short list then we’ll lose the final vote. Pity.


Tips


·Take a lot of care with pages such as the booking form. I personally don’t use a booking form because as an internet user I absolutely hate and detest filling in forms. If I’m booking somewhere myself, I want to send sites an e-mail with the odd question and I want a reply quickly. If I don’t get a quick reply I move on fast. Not offering a booking form is what I call customer care. But then I haven’t got seven properties to fill.

·Get a friend to send your terms of business to half a dozen people who do not know you and ask them what they think of it and do they understand it, and does it put them off.

·Take care about putting unnecessary negatives and turn-offs prominently into your site, which you can reveal later, such as the need for a bond. In a nice way we do say “no smoking” and “no pets” up front because these are mandatory requirements for us but we also explain why, rather gently. Our terms of business are very gently expressed and are never needed.


The odds of winning each one of these four votes are against us. The odds of winning them all are very low indeed. That is why our site needs a huge number of visitors. We are each competing with Fife, Skye and the Highlands as well as with Southern Spain and other properties in our area.


There will be more detail on all of the topics later. The dark autumn nights are looming. Good time to review the web approach.


JW

You can see the way things have been sorted out if you look at the following site. I wish we had develop a better url site address.

www.bayviewkentallen.co.uk

Web Site Designers: Essential Tips To Get Your Web Site Popular

Most of the online businesses are looking for the potential customers to visit their esteemed sites.  If your web site is effectively launched, then there is a chance of getting high traffic to your page.  And also one thing to remember that your site must be well equipped and able to provide excellent customer services around the clock. If you are planning to build web pages for your business, internet is the best place to search for experienced web design companies.  There are so many design companies are establishing in internet.  Please make sure that you selected a sites company that must be an experienced in the market.  You need to consider two important points when you are selecting the web designing, design and style are the important points.   Obviously, there is thin line between design and style.  When it comes to designing, this is related to functioning and accessibility.  When any user can be able to operate the website effectively and easily, then it is considered as the good design.  You need to consider one point that style can create a brand name to your site.

Most of the designers will give a nice look and feel to the webpage. First of all, they would like to create a layout with the help of Cascading Style sheets.   If the site is designed for user friendly nature, then a user can surf the sites easily. Most of the sites are having a good look with visuals and media.    Most of the designers would like to crate a template, which will support the site to show the client before building a page.    However, mot of the designers would like to create their site in Photoshop, fire works and other multimedia tools like dram weaver and Macromedia flash.  The designer must have the knowledge about html and CSS to create some useful sites. Here are some important and essential tips for a designer.  

First of all, the page should not have been more and more imaged. You need to have sufficient images and generally, if you are inserting more images, then it will take more and more the time to load a page.   If your sites are taking more than five seconds, then your users will go to other sites.  And also it is better to use some other attributes to load your page faster than other sites.  And also it is mandatory to give permission that user can create a new browser window. The best ting you can do in your sites is use fonts.  Finally, there are some well established and experienced sites designers are there to provide sites to their valuable clients. For more information and details, please visit their web site.

Few things that might be useful to find a web designer and web design directory. Take action right now. Click on that link and change your life, like hundreds of other people like you have done.

Building your Website in 2010, here are some interesting Web Site Designing Tips

Everyone would like to have the best looking and most successful website out there! But have you ever wondered what it takes to have a web site that not only looks PRO but also is a hit with your audience? Here are some interesting tips that you may need to keep in mind when designing your website.

Content of the Site

Snazzy animations and colorful banners can make your site look pretty – but it also puts off a lot of serious customers who may be looking for your products and services. The foundation of any site must be made of great content. Your content must be fresh, unique, relevant, concise and compelling. Fresh content means, content that gets updated on a regular basis, unique means – no copy paste from another site. Always avoid content copied from other web sites. Content of your site must be relevant to your products and services and must be comprehensiveness. Content plays a lot of role in sustaining, bringing the new visitors. Moreover content plays the major role in search engine optimization process.

Site loading Time

Make sure that your site pages will not take much time in loading. Use of animations or large image banners and videos hits page load times making your site slow. No one is going to wait for 2-3 minutes to see your site. Remember pages of your web site should be opened like as you turn the pages of a magazine. Use flashes, videos in your site only when it required most. So by reducing the unnecessary flashes, videos you can make your site more user and search engine friendly.

Navigation

Suppose you click on the one hyperlink and get stuck in the page where you don’t know how to go back to the previous or home page – means you make your visitors very angry. Your web site must have a constant navigation bar that has fixed position on every page of your site. Make sure each page of your site have good number of links to other pages. Your navigation should be short and to the point.  Avoid too flashy, fancy, dark color navigation buttons or complex navigation menus, that don’t work smoothly.

Meaningless, Useless Page titles

This is the most common mistake by a lot of web designers. Either page has no titles or useless titles like ‘welcome to mycompany name’. Some careless designers even leave the page untitled, which is really unprofessional.  Moreover you will see the same page title for all the pages of your site. These type of page titles are useless and for both the visitors and search engines. Page titles are meant to offer a brief description of each page in your site. Your page title must have major keywords of your business, if you plan to look at improving your website search engine ranking.

Browser Support

In the early days, there were just 2 popular browsers, but now, there are at least half a dozen of them – and each will render your webpage differently to your audience. And in the case of Internet Explorer, itself, there are 3 different versions, and all 3 of them display pages in different ways. While designing ensure that your web site is compatible to at least the most popular of browsers. Many web designers do not check site compatibility with major browsers like Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari etc. The best way to check the compatibility of the site is to check it with Lynx, the popular text- base browser in Linux. After checking the site compatibility with Linux, you can work on your way in other web browsers.

URL Structures & Site Map

Basically there are the two types of URLs- Dynamic and Static URL’s. Dynamic urls are generated as a result of a search of a database driven website and sometimes looks like http://www.yoursite name.com/product/productid?= 2345&sort=date. This is very confusing both for users as well as for search engines.  Make sure that the urls of the pages of your site must be static, which looks like this http://www.yoursite name/products/shoes.html. Static URLs are helpful for both users as well as search engines.

Also make sure that your site has a sitemap. Sitemap’s serve as navigational maps for both visitors and search engines. Obviously you have to generate 2 kinds of maps for each of them. A website that has many inner pages can create confuse your visitors, and a sitemap can get him to the page of his choice. Similarly sitemaps will help search engines to find as many pages as possible, and also help in tracking those pages that have frequent updates and changes.

Outdated Pages

As we saw in the beginning when we discussed about having relevant content in your website, it also means that content has to be refreshed and outdated content removed or archived on a periodic basis. Web sites which offer current news, events and updates cannot afford to put stale news and outdated information, as it makes your audience a bit wary about your company and brand. Make sure all the sections of your site are updated time to time, giving your website visitors and search engines something to chew on every time they visit.

Being over-creative

There are some web sites which show lots of flashes, dark backgrounds, background music and sound while opening the pages of the site. Besides the owner of the site, these sites are hard to understand for visitors. Being over creative in web designing is same as being over smart. Try to make your web site as simple as you can.

These are some of useful web designing tips which every site owner can follow and hope to achieve his goals and web objectives.

Radical Networks has more than 9 years of experience in web designing, web development, seo,e commerce solutions. Radical Networks has worked with a variety of customers, and helped them in their web presence and internet business needs.

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