New-on-the-scene do it yourself website templates and booking engine

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Joined:
09/26/2011

We're tiny. We've done our own Y ah oo  Si  te bu ilder site with a RN booking engine and its been good, but I just let RN lapse without quite making the jump to RK, and our website has needed a major overhaul for a couple of years now.

We need a new responsive site.  My site building budget would be about $400.  That and another $2 will get you a cup of coffee, so it has to be DIY.  I was thinking of Sq are space, but found it very clunky.  I've just today discovered a new kid on the block - Lo dg ify.  For $327.60 per year, paid 2 yrs in advance, I can get a responsive site template with a modern look, that will work for our two B&B rooms, our adjacent vacation rental and our soon-to-open new vacation rental in a close-by town.  The package includes a booking engine that looks similar to the old WBvtions, and online credit card deposit payment (via P ay P al) is included.  They also include the cost of domain registration (and you can use your existing) if you pay by the year or by 2 years.  No additional fees beyond P ay P al fees are taken.

Looking at using this vs paying separately for all these functions, and the time savings alone of setting it up, I'm going to jump on this wagon if there is not an overwhelming reason not to do so.

This is the single most informative review I have seen on this new service.  I apologize for the severe abbreviations of service providers many here are familiar with, but I don't want to encourage contact from them at this time.   I did put the new service's name in the search bar here, but found no earlier threads mentioning it.

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

I redid my site in wp last winter. Yes, it took me a lot of hair pulling to get started and that was with empty nest doing starter pages for me. I still find I don't know where anything is located when I need to make updates.

However. The price was $45 to buy the template, upgrades are included. My web hosting is under $200/year. The booking software is a lot more but that's my choice.

What I would be concerned with on a startup is how long will they be around, do they have all the safe guards in place to take credit card info, will someone be able to help you when it doesn't work in peak season?

WP has a ton of plug inns to do everything extra thing you might want.

But, yes, you do need to have time to learn it.

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Joined:
09/26/2011

Maddie, I think the referral you made earlier is going to work out.  I am truly grateful.

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Joined:
05/22/2008

You should know where it all is Smiling  Just look under PAGES. that is what you edit etc...no need to mess with anything else. But if you need to...you know who your customer support is.Smiling

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Joined:
10/07/2008

I will concur w empty nest. She is a gem who has her hands in these products every day, so a real benefit to get advice from. FYI.

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Joined:
05/22/2008

this post comes from someone else..but it says what I think so it saves me time retyping my thoughts Smiling

Disadvantages of Free Websites

1. No branded domain name

You don’t get your own domain name. You’ll be stuck with a domain like yourbusiness.weebly.com. This takes the focus away from your brand.

Domain names need to be short, easy to spell and easy to remember. Yourbusiness.weebly.com is the opposite — it’s long, hard to spell and difficult to remember. If people can’t remember your domain name, they won’t find you online.

2. You lose credibility

A website is a tool to demonstrate your professionalism and build trust with customers. The more they trust you, the more they buy. A free website tells customers you don’t take your business seriously. You lose credibility. You lose sales.

3. Little control of how your site looks

Your website should be unique, setting your brand apart from the competition. Free web hosting services force you to use a pre-made template. Even after adding your logo and changing a few colors, it will still look like a generic template.

Customers can spot generic templates a mile off. It tells them you are an amateur and not serious about your business. Off they go to your competition.

4. Limited website features

Free web hosts severely limit how many pages you can have on your site and how many images you can upload. They also restrict what features you can use and install — shopping cart, contact form, blog, email newsletter signup.

Your website won’t have the functionality customers want, so they go elsewhere. Wave goodbye to more sales.

5. Poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Free web hosting sites do not rank well in search engines. People can’t buy from you if they can’t find you.

Just because your website comes up when you google your business name does not mean it ranks well in search engines.

Think about how you shop online. Most of the time you know what you want to buy, but you’re not sure where to buy it from. So you search for the what, not the where. Your website ranks well when it shows up for those keywords, not your business name.

Google “handmade jewelry” and see if you can find a Weebly website in the first 50 pages of the search results. I couldn’t. Now google “handmade jewelry weebly” and you’ll see all those free Weebly websites that didn’t show up in your first search.

6. Third party ads

Your website should strengthen your brand. Free web hosts put advertising links and logos on your website. These diminish your brand and direct people away from your site.

7. Slow loading times

Bandwidth determines how fast your site loads. Free websites have some of the lowest bandwidth on the web, which means they have the slowest loading times.

Slow loading times drive your customers away. Given a choice between a site that takes one second to load and a site that takes thirty seconds to load, customers will pick the faster site.

Slow loading times also negatively affects SEO, putting you even further down on the list of search results.

8. Poor support

Free web hosting services offer limited, if any, support. Since you’re not paying them, they don’t have money to hire customer service staff. If you need help with something, you’ll be on your own.

9. No guarantee of availability or longevity

Your website can be removed at any time, for any reason. Free web hosts don’t make backups. You will lose everything.

Since you don’t pay for your website, there is nothing to hold them accountable when something goes wrong. Technical problems with your site? Website hacked? Website disappeared? There is no guarantee they will fix your website. Again, you will lose everything.

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Joined:
09/26/2011

Not a free service.   They're geared toward lodging, specifically  vacation rentals and are already synched with that air service. That means not having to manage two calendars.  They've identified a need.  Their prices are geared to the smallest operators.

I spent some quality time building last night and so far have got the home page and slide show nearly done.  I can't work more on it today but have to say that for ease of use,  so far, so good.

This morning I woke up to find an email intervention of sorts,  so may end up going a more traditional route after all, but these guys have identified a need, priced it right, and if SEO is decent and a bigger player doesn't do an end run on them, they may grow fast.  

Como Depot's picture
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Joined:
06/25/2008

I am not aware of a free service? All the ones I have seen will charge somehow. The Themes require buying and hosting and then a booking engine add on and then what you do for CC processing.

I use Facebook as well, but that does not have a booking facility own domain etc etc.

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www.comodepot.com

 

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Joined:
05/22/2008

Weebly and Wix are FREE sites. That was what the post is referring to not the site she was referring to.

Como Depot's picture
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Joined:
06/25/2008

EmptyNest wrote:

Weebly and Wix are FREE sites. That was what the post is referring to not the site she was referring to.

I am familiar with Wix, anybody with a Business is not going to be using there entry free option.

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Joined:
05/22/2008

Wrong...i have seen plenty of them.

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

Como Depot wrote:

EmptyNest wrote:

Weebly and Wix are FREE sites. That was what the post is referring to not the site she was referring to.

I am familiar with Wix, anybody with a Business is not going to be using there entry free option.

You'd be surprised. There was an innkeeper on here a few years ago who thought that the free version was just wonderful.

Como Depot's picture
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Joined:
06/25/2008

I had a look on the Lodgify site and it looks pretty good to me. It would not surprise me if more competition does not come along. 

The nature of the market is that all IT is relatively new and how many of us use systems from new start ups, my tablet is full of them.

I prefer to have access to my reservations if the Internet is down, seems this as with many others is Cloud based.

Something else to consider, I want to re vamp mine for next summer, thanks.

 

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Joined:
09/26/2011

Haven't looked at Weebly but will now after your positve words.  Thanks.

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Joined:
05/22/2008

Weebly and Wix are two good freebie sites. But you are limited to what you can do and they don't return the best SEO for you either. But if  you just want a new look, you could give it a try.

Joey Camb's picture
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Joined:
04/02/2010

We love Weebly - costs $80 to start then about $30 a year for domain registration - dead easy to use and automatically adjusts to mobiles - its worth a look, my problem is just not enough fricking time to work on it!

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Joined:
05/22/2008

you couls do your own by buying hosting, a responsive theme and a few plug ins for less if you have some skills. I agree to dump Y a h o o! I have been trying to redo a site for an innkeeper with them and it has been nothing but trouble and they give no support whatsoever!!!

I am moving her site and redoing with a responsive Wp theme

Never heard of the one you mentioned.

Based in Barcelona...Start up...that screams watch out to me. How  equipped are they to handle a US site? this makes me dubious..sorry.

 

 

 

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Joined:
09/26/2011

Yep the start up thing makes me a bit wary too, but I'm pretty slow at most software, and just cant seem to get over the first hurdles with WP. Time is a huge issue right now.   My back up is getting some help with Sq are Sp ace, then adding RK, and keeping all else the same.    But at this point, I'm about ready to dive now, and clean up the mess later if need be.

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