Feedback: Our first B&B website

26 replies [Last post]
Offline
Joined:
09/06/2011

Hey guys, we just finished our first website design and I was hoping some of you would be willing to check it out and provide some feedback.

Still waiting on some extra content and pictures from the innkeepers for a couple pages but the design is essentially finished. We're still learning what works best for marketing an inn so anything you really like or dislike about it would be great to hear!

www.thewoodfordinn.com

Edit: The rooms and restaurant pages specifically are unfinished and waiting for additional photos and content from the innkeepers to update.

__________________

David Pearce
Co-Founder, Trippo
Inn Marketing

 

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Really took a look at the room photos on the reservation link and the guest rooms need a lot more pizazz with the addition of artwork and accessories.  Also, they need tables and lights on both sides of the bed.  Lack of good bedside lighting is one of the most frequent complaints by travelers. I need more info about the rooms, too. 

Hopefully, they're still tweaking all of this...

__________________

People don't notice whether it's winter or summer when they're happy.
~ Anton Chekhov

 

EmptyNest's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

 Kind of blah and boring. Nothing really attractive to say WOW. Photo definitely need improving. Typical WORDPRESS set up which is ok, but just doesn't look welcoming. Ok for a normal site, but for a B & B...needs the wow factor upped. Lots more you can do with this theme.  I use this site for many of my clients. Love KARMA and their support!!

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

I know you have more pics coming... but no one else mentioned something that stuck out like a sore thumb right on the home page..... Make sure they change the pic of the front of the house... The rocker with a broken slat sticks out (pic a cartoon character's thumb after being hit by a hammer.)  I can see it clear in the other front view as well... would not notice it as easily if the other pic was not there!

Don't mind the twitter/FB stuff at the bottom of the page but do not think giving their FB page equal billing to the Inn and Restaurant page is the way to go.  While social media is the rage - especially by the younger set, they still come to the website to find out about the B&B/Restaurant NOT to go to FB.... 

Needs lots more info!!!  Rooms? there are 10 - what's the difference? do they have private baths? TV's,.....  people want to know. 

Nothing makes me say WOW I have to go to this place!  -  There is so much rich history in and around that area...  The attractions page just does not do the area justice.... get that innkeeper busy, I have tons of things to add to that page and it has been years since we romped in that area. 

 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

copperhead wrote:

I know you have more pics coming... but no one else mentioned something that stuck out like a sore thumb right on the home page..... Make sure they change the pic of the front of the house... The rocker with a broken slat sticks out (pic a cartoon character's thumb after being hit by a hammer.)  I can see it clear in the other front view as well... would not notice it as easily if the other pic was not there!

good eye, copperhead!  the porch pic zoomed past me so fast ... i didn't even take a second look when the pic came around again.  wow!

__________________

Wear cute PJ’s to bed; you never know who you may meet in your dreams.

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

 I thought the broken slat was busted off by the people consuming the booze on the header and used as a weapon.  Just sayin...

"Am lookin' for the man who shot ma paw!"

__________________

Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Joey Bloggs wrote:

 I thought the broken slat was busted off by the people consuming the booze on the header and used as a weapon.  Just sayin...

"Am lookin' for the man who shot ma paw!"

That's fine, JB. You deserve that double martini after a hard day's work!

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

oops...duplicate post hiccup....

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Sorry...feels like to me that you're wasting the prime real estate at the top of most of the pages but not having any photos.  I agree that this looks like another one of the pretty drab blog-like websites vs a truly creative, pleasing and informative site that really draws folks in to want to stay there.   Social media is certainly becoming more important but that's more of what I notice on this site, not the pictures or info about the inn. 

You asked.... 

seashanty's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/02/2008

i didn't have a lot of time to spend on the site ... but i'll say this.  guests respond to pictures ... colorful, inviting, warm pictures.  on the home page, there are some pictures that quickly change.  i'd pick the favorite and let the page rest there for a bit before changing images.  i especially like the picture of the water and the trees, but i'd lighten up the picture of the inn. 

i understand you will be adding room pictures and restaurant pictures.  you need lots of pictures from different angles ... show detail and yumm ... invite people in. 

on addie's page button, i'd say restaurant and bar ... i didn't know what addie's was until i clicked on it.  some people (potential guests) will spend just a few seconds before moving on. they won't bother to dig in to find out.

i don't mind the social media marketing. 

oh ... one of the premier website builders/marketers for inns that i know of is whitestone marketing.  i'd take a look at their portfolio. (if you haven't already)  you'll quickly see what i mean. 

 

Offline
Joined:
09/06/2011

Man you guys are harsh Smiling

I understand the dislike with the color and images, and I'll discuss it with the client. Like I mentioned the rooms and restaurant pages are incomplete so those will be improved soon.

As for the Facebook and Twitter, while some might not like it being pushed on the website, the reality is that social media is a huge marketing tool and it's only going to get more important. Every day there are marketing articles from major sources about how important it is. Here's one from today: http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-business

Having social media accounts promoted on the website increases engagement (this particular inn has gained two new likes and two new followers in the few hours since I posted this). Wait until you see what Facebook unveils later this week (https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline). They are going to truly change the internet, and having a strong social presence will more than ever directly correlate to business success (in any industry).

I'm very curious about those of you making SEO comments. We have significant experience and a pretty successful history with website SEO before this B&B venture. I'm confident as this website ages and gains incoming links it will rank well for the targeted keywords (kentucky bed and breakfast, lexington ky bed and breakfast, versailles ky bed and breakfast).

Otherwise thanks everyone for the input, we'll definitely take all the comments into consideration and will make changes going forward!

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

David Pearce wrote:

Man you guys are harsh Smiling

I understand the dislike with the color and images, and I'll discuss it with the client. Like I mentioned the rooms and restaurant pages are incomplete so those will be improved soon.

As for the Facebook and Twitter, while some might not like it being pushed on the website, the reality is that social media is a huge marketing tool and it's only going to get more important. Every day there are marketing articles from major sources about how important it is. Here's one from today: http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-key-social-media-findings-that-affect-your-business

Having social media accounts promoted on the website increases engagement (this particular inn has gained two new likes and two new followers in the few hours since I posted this). Wait until you see what Facebook unveils later this week (https://www.facebook.com/about/timeline). They are going to truly change the internet, and having a strong social presence will more than ever directly correlate to business success (in any industry).

I'm very curious about those of you making SEO comments. We have significant experience and a pretty successful history with website SEO before this B&B venture. I'm confident as this website ages and gains incoming links it will rank well for the targeted keywords (kentucky bed and breakfast, lexington ky bed and breakfast, versailles ky bed and breakfast).

Otherwise thanks everyone for the input, we'll definitely take all the comments into consideration and will make changes going forward!

I thought Fac eboo k & Twit were supposed to be used to drive to the web site, not the other way around. My web site is where they can book a room and find out about us. I thought the social media was to catch their interest to tell others about us.

Breakfast Diva's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/26/2009

Sorry it seems harsh David, but you asked for the nity grity truth.

Sorry, but a company that really knows about SEO would never have the title bars reading the way that site has them. If your key words are basically the ones provided above, then you're missing out. SEO needs to be added for attractions, local landmarks, and many other things in the area. Most of our bookings come from search terms that have nothing to do with bed and breakfast! If someone is looking specifically for a bed and breakfast, then they'll find your inn. It's trying to grab the market that hasn't stayed at a b&b you want to convince to stay with you. Keywords and SEO need to reflect that. A 10 room b&b should also have key words of hotel, motel, boutique hotel, etc.

I know you're just beginning the site and are continuing to do work on it, but it still falls short on some basics.

We know social media is important and will be even more so as time goes on, but it doesn't need to be in your face in prime real estate. If you don't grab your target market with your home page and make them want to investigate further, then you've lost them forever.

Offline
Joined:
09/06/2011

Breakfast Diva wrote:

Sorry, but a company that really knows about SEO would never have the title bars reading the way that site has them. If your key words are basically the ones provided above, then you're missing out.

Those keywords are the main keywords for the overall website. Each individual page is optimized for that pages content (including attractions for the attractions page).

As far as title bars go I can only assume you're referencing that the keywords should be the first thing in the title? While surveys and studies have shown this positively correlates to high rankings, it's a rather controversial topic. Titles are not only for search engines. They provide a significant benefit to real people as well. They are what the user reads and sees in the search engine, they're what show up in browser tabs, they're what show up when a user bookmarks your page, and they're what show up when a user shares your website on facebook and twitter.

What's important is that the keywords are in the title, how much their position in the title (first thing) really matters is up for debate. We think it's not worth the user-experience loss you get. And titles should be no longer than 70 chars which also limits the amount of keywords you should use.

Google has a history of changing their algorithm to provide the best experience for the user. When I search "Bed & Breakfast website design" I don't want a bunch of pages called "Bed & Breakfast website design", I want to know who and what those pages are. Google knows this and we think they're going to devalue the keyword position factor soon (if they haven't already). They change their algorithms over 500 times per year and much of what the SEO experts base their opinions on is stuff from 6 months ago.

Like I said we have significant experience doing SEO work on websites unrelated to this industry and have found a great medium between providing for search engines AND for real people.

If anyone wants a full break down of current SEO factors see the SEOMoz study: http://www.seomoz.org/article/search-ranking-factors.

There's better ways to rank high than to sacrifice the way your page titles read to actual people. In fact if you're not careful with your titles you can reduce your rankings, as the click-through-rate of Google to your website is a significantly growing factor in search rankings. If users aren't clicking your website because your title doesn't catch their eye then your ranking will decrease. We like our titles clean and pretty.

Alibi Ike's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/08/2010

No one is saying social media is not important. What we're saying (across age groups, I might add) is that we are not interested in how many friends a website has, we're interested in making a reservation. I'm not interested in a steak dinner that is 3 days old.

The client does not want the guest wandering away from the site to go look at FB or at Twitter because something interesting just popped up. So, have it on the site, just not so prominent. Guests have a short attention span. Get them to do what you want them to do before you send them elsewhere.

And when your client has guests who are tweeting their arrival on the home page and stating they hope there's something really special awaiting them because it's their birthday, let me know how that works out for the client. Because it will happen and something really special had better be waiting or that next tweet may not be a happy one.

http://www.danieledwardcraig.com/2011/09/social-media-coercion-how-far-s...

Ice
Offline
Joined:
02/22/2010

Hey trust me they know what they are talking about.  Thanks to them for their honesty, people now know I have a B&B. 

__________________

"Do not put off until tomorrow what can be put off till day-after-tomorrow just as well." Mark Twain

 

Breakfast Diva's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/26/2009

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ...boring! Sorry, but the site looks industrial. No warmth.

Get the FB off the main page, or make it smaller and put it at the bottom.

There is absolutely no SEO built into that site.

Personally, I hate it when the rooms are just numbers and not named. They have no personality and the photos that are on the reservation program are bad. The rooms need to be decorated, they just look sterile and uninviting.

I dislike the tweets, news, etc., on the bottom of each page.

Once you click to check availability, it's not obvious how to get back to the main site. It needs to either be integrated into the site or open in a different window.

With such boring rooms, it doesn't give you much to work with as as web designer as far as grabbing the prospective guest with emotion. It seems very hotel like.

 

 

 

 

EmptyNest's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

 Reservation Nexus always tells their clients to NOT have it open in a new window. The link back to inn is the upper left corner.

Offline
Joined:
05/30/2008

Yes, and a lot of web sites use their reservation page for their room photos and don't have a separate rooms page.  I think that's a mistake too.

Alibi Ike's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/08/2010

Not a lot of wow going on there. It's a standard WordPress form filled in with the client's data. (This is a pet peeve and I may be outnumbered. It looks like a blog, not a 'real' website for a business. To use the format, it has to bring in outside elements to dress it up.)

I am not a fan of hitting the guest in the face with Facebook, either. You want the guest to stay on the site, not go looking for friends. If your client absolutely insists on FB, etc on the home page, make it discreet. I have the same feelings about Twitter feeds. You don't want the guest distracted by tweets. Also, if your client is not tweeting a lot, that Twitter feed will look outdated very fast.

Altho the site is new, it will eventually have some history. In that case, a search for the inn name will bring it up right away. It should NOT be first in the title tag. You want the town/state/area first and then the inn name as more guests will originally be searching for the town/state/area than an inn they know nothing about.

Unless the client is wedded to those colors, there are a lot of hipper combos out there.

The first photo that loaded for me on the home page was the one of the whisley bottles. Not what I would be looking for in my accommodations.

Ditto what everyone else said about the room photo. 'Coming soon' is better than what's there. But, not a lot of guests will book without photos.

Frankly, the Attractions page is probably the nicest looking.

Guests don't understand 'book it' the way we do. You might consider 'reservations' or 'availability' for the buttons.

Highlands John's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/16/2010

I thought the general layout looks good, simple, clear, not too fussy.

Agree with the comments about room photos, having all the lights on is a must, even lamps. Makes such a difference, even if the sun is out.

Once you click "check availability" it's not immediately obvious how you get out of this back to the main web page.

Also, one of the photos that flash up on the home page is a close-up of bottles of alcohol, not sure that's the correct image you want to portray?

 

 

__________________

If you wanted hotel facilities you should have booked a hotel and paid hotel prices!!!

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Are you sure you want us to reply? This can be a brutal bunch here.

I opened it and immediately thought blah, too dark, not very welcoming or friendly. That is all, my first and only comment, nothing more on functionality etc. Even the only room photo is dingy, I would remove it until you get something welcoming and light on there.  

2 cents, over and out. 

(shared in love, of course, for improvement and because you asked) 

PS For some reason new websites all think they need to be an "elegant maroon" it is standard drill. Bring on the wow factor! 

Offline
Joined:
09/06/2011

Hey JB, yes we can handle the constructive criticism Smiling Completely agree with the rooms photo. We're also doing a separate website for their restaurant and the innkeepers are taking additional pictures of the inside of the inn and their food and all of the rooms so we're just waiting on them to give us those. If your only other dislike is with the color I can handle that, I'll go over it with the innkeepers when we meet again and see how they feel. Thanks!

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

David Pearce wrote:

Hey JB, yes we can handle the constructive criticism Smiling Completely agree with the rooms photo. We're also doing a separate website for their restaurant and the innkeepers are taking additional pictures of the inside of the inn and their food and all of the rooms so we're just waiting on them to give us those. If your only other dislike is with the color I can handle that, I'll go over it with the innkeepers when we meet again and see how they feel. Thanks!

Only did you say? It is not a dislike, just a comment, I think it is very nice. 

Well the fonts, okay, the fonts, give them some oomph. It is an Inn for goodness sakes. Smiling The website just looks too much like a template. Sorry dude, that is it, but the basics are all there, so that is a boon, and I know that is hard enough to get in place!  We find there are the websites based on functionality (which of course is 100% needed) but the guests book on FEEL< on emotion, it has got to be the visual appeal that attracts them. Remember you are selling a product, which is an experience.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Even the only room photo is dingy...

Yes, I'll agree with that impression, and was surprised that it was the only photo of the rooms until I got to the reservations page.

More photos needed, and brighter colors, maybe in the furnishings or something. People like to see a great photo of a delicious breakfast!

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Arkansawyer wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Even the only room photo is dingy...

Yes, I'll agree with that impression, and was surprised that it was the only photo of the rooms until I got to the reservations page.

More photos needed, and brighter colors, maybe in the furnishings or something.

WO! Here here! Get some framed prints on them walls, and fast and then TURN ON THE LIGHTS and retake them all.

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

My first impression of the website is good. You've hit most of the necessary points very well. Having a restaurant/bar on-site will be appealing to many (like me, for instance!). Looks peaceful and well-maintained.

On the About page, where it says, "Linda found herself in Versailles running the restaurant at Woodford Hills Country Club", you might add "KY" since after reading about culinary school some people might be thinking France.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.