Have a Website You Can Be Proud of

I’ve seen it happen in many B&Bs: The website gets pushed to the bottom of the list, where there’s little money left in the budget to spend on what seems like an unnecessary expense. Minimal attention is paid to how it looks, and even less to what impression it might be making on visitors.

But my job—and my mission, it seems—is to help people realize that the website should be up at the top of the list, along with the bathroom and bedroom renovations. Indeed, from my perspective, it should be listed above everything else. This is why: All of your guests are searching for you online. That’s where you need to be, and where you need to be presenting yourself in the best possible light.

Good Design vs. Poor Design

Poor design harms more than it helps. It confuses the visitor, detracts from their experience, and leaves them thinking that the site owner just doesn’t care. It hurts credibility and trust. Good design, on the other hand, improves the visitor’s online experience. It leaves the user feeling like the owners are concerned with how they feel and what they know, and it actually lends more to the owner’s credibility than a Chamber of Commerce or BBB logo.

Good design is, unfortunately, found sparingly in the B&B world. Which is why your website will stand out even more if and when you implement it. Good design will add to your credibility, and ultimately, your bottom line.

So how do you know if your site is well designed?

Sign up for a website review! I’ve been in the design field long enough to separate the good design from the bad.

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Three Areas for Site Assessment

There are three areas I’ll focus on when doing a website evaluation: Design, Functionality and Content

Is your site up to date in its use of current design styles and conventions? Rainbow horizontal rules were all the rage in the mid-90s, when I built my first website, but they’ve definitely fallen out of vogue since then. Complementary color schemes, proper alignment, appropriate (and legible) typography, effective visual flow, and defined structure are some of the things I’ll look for in evaluating the overall layout of your website.

Does your site work the way it’s supposed to? The technical aspect of a website is just as important as its visual counterpart. The visual cues given in the design need to be backed up by the functions they convey. When your website doesn’t work, it can hurt credibility just as much as poor aesthetics. I’ll be looking for things like navigation bars in the normal places, working links and buttons, easy-to-use (and understand) forms, functioning reservation systems (if applicable), and whether your site can be viewed in all browsers.

Does your copy convey exactly what your B&B offers? Is your text worded well, and is it grammatically correct? The information on your site — the text, images, and other graphics, collectively known as the content — is where you let your guests know who you are and what you offer. Your content should strike the proper balance between cheesy sales copy and dry bullet lists, be visually pleasing to read through, and make ample use of good quality images and graphics.

After assessing your site using all of these criteria, I’ll put together a report and send it to you in PDF format. It’s just for you, personalized for your website. I’ll send you my assessments of your site in each of the above areas, and I’ll also let you know how you can fix your areas of improvement.

The Value of a Website Review

Normally, if you asked me to perform a website review for you, it would probably take me a couple of hours to go through a site completely, and to write up my evaluation. I would charge you $50 for this service, but today you’re getting it for free, just because we live in the same town, and I’m on a mission.

If you like, I’ll also include a price quote, so you can see how much it would cost for me to make the fixes to your site. Actually, since my rates are set at the industry standard, that would be about what you could expect to pay no matter who you hired.

I’d like you to use my services to improve your website, of course, but since I’m on a mission to improve the design of the websites in the B&B world, mostly, I hope that you use my info to improve your website.

Good design is imperative, because in this business, good design equals reservations.

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Or, if you’re ready to go for it, visit my contact page and give me a call or fill out the form.