Did your 2016 resolutions include “sorting out your website”?

Being professional web developers and owners of a large self-catering cottage business, we are astonished at the lack of importance that many cottage owners attribute to their websites!  It is the shop window for your business and as such should be easy to find and as inviting and attractive as possible!

Following the last round of Google search changes and with mobile and tablet access now the norm, it is more important than ever to have:

  • A mobile friendly and responsive website design which is easy to navigate
  • Engaging content which is SEO optimised and directly relevant to your target audience
  • Active dynamic, social media channels integrated with your website

Despite clear evidence of the benefits of having a best practice website (our clients typically see a 30-40% uplift in bookings on replacing their websites), some cottage owners appear to be relaxed about letting the best booking time of year slip through their fingers.  If you enjoy a chuckle, here are some explanations we have heard from cottage owners recently:

  • I have a friend who is out of work at the moment so I thought I would give him a go
  • I’m using a local company to make my current site mobile friendly, but I’ll be without a website for a week while they update it
  • I know the site is not up to the job any more, but I’ve had the same supplier for years and I don’t want to offend him
  • I have just lost a multi-cottage booking to a local competitor. The reason given? They have a better website
  • I know it’s important but I haven’t got round to doing anything about it yet
  • I did a bit of coding 20 years ago so thought I would give it a go……

These scenarios – and other similar howlers – might be perfectly acceptable to those owners who are not serious about filling their cottage weeks.

However, if your aim is to attract the right kind of guest and secure as many bookings as possible, you might want to take a long hard look at your current website and see whether it is doing its job.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to consider:

  • Is your website designed for people viewing from tablets or smart phones (responsive design)?
  • Are the pages really mobile friendly (or just very small!)
  • Does your website have a direct online booking facility?
  • Has your website remained unchanged for several years?
  • Is your website optimised for SEO?
  • Can you update your own content and add your own images or are you dependant on a third party?
  • Does the home page really summarise why people would want to visit you?
  • Is there any dynamic content on your website for example blogs, or news events being frequently added ?
  • Are your social media posts automatically displayed on your website?
  • Do you use Social Media at all? (it is a good way of adding pictures and up to date information to your website)
  • Does the home page really “grab” your audience with photos that showcase the full holiday experience – or will they keep surfing to find a better website instead?

If having done these tests, you realise your site is not working hard enough for you, give us a call and we can talk through the options to fast track the process.

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