Website design

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Stu
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Hey All. My wife and I will soon be running a bed and breakfast for the first time. i have been reading this forum for many weeks now and have learnt a lot from all you professionals. Thank you for all your posts. I do have a question, My wife has recently designed our website and I would love to get some feedback on it. Can I directly post the link on here or is that against forum rools. Thanks again for all the help.

 

Stu

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Ronda is on my list now. Thanks for sharing your neck of the woods with the forum! 

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Stu
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Joey, where are you based. It's always nice to look at other travelling destinations.

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Stu wrote:

Joey, where are you based. It's always nice to look at other travelling destinations.

www.ClaiborneHouse.net 

Stu
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Looks like a really amazing place you have there Joey. The elopement package sounds awesome although I don't think the wife would approve of me taking part!

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Way to go Samantha!! Much brighter and cheery!

Your quote "Our aim is to allow our guests to truly relax.Rural Spain will melt your heart,  with its stunning scenery,  and the delicious, local flavours will tease your senses: our job is to set you at ease... we want to make you smile." really need to be on your home page! Up at the top, under Rhonda. Along with the bright cheery home page it will let prospective guests know exactly what you are trying to provide. It will help give you an identity and will appeal to a demographic you're looking for.

When you do your room pictures, make sure you get one looking out at the view! I'm intrigued with what that view will be.

I really have to thank both of you. So often, we get new innkeepers on this forum that say they want input, but then fight us on everything we say. It's a pleasure for us to give you input and see that you're listening. RARE these days! Thank you!

I so wish we had time to come and see your place when we'll be in Malaga. Is it difficult to get to your place from Malaga without a car?

Stu
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Breakfast Diva. Thank you for your kind words, it has been so nice to have input from proffessionals. 

In answer to your other question, there is a direct bus service from Malaga to Ronda several times a day. The drive is quite spectacular passing through orange and lemon plantations and stopping off in a few of the typical spanish white villages on route. You can get bus times through the following link.

http://samar.es/horarios/autobuses/Malaga/Ronda/987/996

thanks again. Maybe we will see you in Ronda.

Stu
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OK. So the better half of us (My Wife) has been working really hard yet again on the website to take in all your comments, and done a full re-design. I think it looks much fresher and is more user friendly. 

If you still have the patience then do take a look, you are all soooo helpful

www.La-PerlaBlanca.com

The google bots are doing there rounds today then it is a question of getting a few links to other places, getting up the listings and hopefully we are away.

 

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Stu wrote:

OK. So the better half of us (My Wife) has been working really hard yet again on the website to take in all your comments, and done a full re-design. I think it looks much fresher and is more user friendly. 

If you still have the patience then do take a look, you are all soooo helpful

www.La-PerlaBlanca.com

The google bots are doing there rounds today then it is a question of getting a few links to other places, getting up the listings and hopefully we are away.

Nice!

Here is my suggestion re Trip Advisor, are you ASKING People to review you? or to LEAVE YOUR WEBSITE to go read the reviews? Why is that ICON there on the homepage?

If you have control over the TA listing, which you should, but maybe you don't as you mentioned the old innkeepers retained it, ie even the name, then get it the heck off of there! Otherwise if you DO have control over it, you need to use a BADGE that they offer, one that shows you heve been reviewed as EXCELLENT 53 times  or whatever it is for your place.

Get the badge. If you want to use TA on your website. Right now it is showing a different inn, with the name being different. You better get that sorted out AND FAST. 

PS Tell Samantha she is awesome, well done! yes

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Stu wrote:

OK. So the better half of us (My Wife) has been working really hard yet again on the website to take in all your comments, and done a full re-design. I think it looks much fresher and is more user friendly. 

If you still have the patience then do take a look, you are all soooo helpful

www.La-PerlaBlanca.com

The google bots are doing there rounds today then it is a question of getting a few links to other places, getting up the listings and hopefully we are away.

Nice!

Here is my suggestion re Trip Advisor, are you ASKING People to review you? or to LEAVE YOUR WEBSITE to go read the reviews? Why is that ICON there on the homepage?

If you have control over the TA listing, which you should, but maybe you don't as you mentioned the old innkeepers retained it, ie even the name, then get it the heck off of there! Otherwise if you DO have control over it, you need to use a BADGE that they offer, one that shows you heve been reviewed as EXCELLENT 53 times  or whatever it is for your place.

Get the badge. If you want to use TA on your website. Right now it is showing a different inn, with the name being different. You better get that sorted out AND FAST. 

PS Tell Samantha she is awesome, well done! yes

I'm thinking road trip!   

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Stu
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TA gone until we get it sorted thanks.

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I clicked on the TA button and it took me to the right place.  This is one of  the many badges they offer.

Look closely...spanish name..but same place and photos.

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Oh so much better, but you are still being restricted by the confines of the W. Templates. I would make the text font a darker color. Harder to read in light grey.

It still needs a big "in your face" image to give a really great impression of your BEAUTIFUL PLACE!

I think you need to spend some time and take some more and better photos to show off your new place!

If you want to try a Spanish Hosting company, my friends says this is a good one. http://www.arsys.es/

You can check it out and see. My Spanish is not great and the translator didn't do real well either.

 

Stu
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Thanks Emptynest, text turning darker grey as i write. For the time being we are sticking with weebly but may change in the distant future. Thanks for your input

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Once you get some better photos, I would switch over to one of their templates with a full width slider or larger background image. They have lots to choose from. I was just in their site looking. You need something that will WOW folks when they first visit your home page.

All best of luck!

Stu
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Updated photos next week

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Oooh Stu we want to come stay with you. We have a tiny vineyard ourselves!

Riki

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Come! Let us show you the beautiful Monticello Appellation!

 

Stu
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Egoodell. We would love you to come and stay. Maybe we could do swapsy on wines! Thanks for the encouragement.

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Stu, I did a google search for your b&b and was very confused initially. I couldn't find it! Then I realized that yes, it was there, but with a slightly different name and domain address with your old website on it. I took the link to your TA reviews and it's with the longer name.

What are your plans for the domain names? If you don't want to lose all the google power that the older website has attained, you must make this change VERY carefully! Is there a reason you're changing your name and domain? There are others on here that can help you with this much more than I can with this and I'm sure they will chime in.

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Breakfast Diva wrote:

Stu, I did a google search for your b&b and was very confused initially. I couldn't find it!

Note that Stu has previously said, "My wife and I will soon be running a bed and breakfast for the first time," and "Its so nice having  professional people see the site before it properly goes 'live' to the public."

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Arks wrote:

Breakfast Diva wrote:

Stu, I did a google search for your b&b and was very confused initially. I couldn't find it!

Note that Stu has previously said, "My wife and I will soon be running a bed and breakfast for the first time," and "Its so nice having  professional people see the site before it properly goes 'live' to the public."

Yes, but his FB page has the new domain as his website. I wonder if the old site was purchased with the b&b. I guess we'll have to see what he says.

Stu
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Ha ha, you guys are like detectives! Eye-wink we have taken over the property from the landlord. The last people running it left 5 months ago to run a bigger place, but unfortunately they have kept the old website going. Any ideas how we can get rid of it? Also is it possible to keep the TA reviews? Thanks as always

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If they still own it there is no getting rid of it. Is the URL from FACEBOOK a redirect to your URL ..was that the domain you purchased. Guess I am confused a bit.

Found these links which you may want to look over. My friend will check on Spanish hosters and I will let you know.

http://weeblyforums.com/2011/08/limitations-of-weebly/

http://www.webnots.com/drawbacks-of-weebly.html

http://www.websitebuilderexpert.com/weebly-vs-wordpress-whats-the-differ...

http://www.buildwebsiteguide.com/using-weebly-website-builder/

Stu
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The previous tenants wanted us to buy the website, but i fell it would be very expensive, and my wife wanted to create her own

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And Stu, don't be afraid to USE YOUR B&B name every time, all over the place. Pop it in every time you mention your B&B or yourselves, this will help with your search engine optimization, every time someone searches in photos and web you will be there.

 

"A young, British couple with roots in Spain are showing their fresh take on a 'casa rural'. Their boutique bed & breakfast La Perla Blanca has a casual, elegant atmosphere, and is set in its own working vineyards near the historic city of Ronda."

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One big advantage you can offer vs. in town lodging is easy parking. That's something you should brag about. It's a good reason to stay there!

The website is looking much better already!

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" Our aim is to allow our guests to truly relax.
Rural Spain will melt your heart,  with its stunning scenery,  and the delicious, local flavours will tease your senses: our job is to set you at ease... we want to make you smile."

Perfect! This is what the whole website should portray to the guest. Every page.

By the way, the photo of you and your wife portrays this attitude! It's lovely.

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Wow, I'll be in Malaga at the end of April! Will be there for 3 nights near the town center though. From your google map I couldn't quite tell how far away you are from town.

I agree totally with the other comments. Definitely choose a different color palate for the site. You place looks beautiful and a black background is very depressing. It also makes the text difficult to read. You've heard it all above...bigger photos, more text on home page, etc. Also on the home page (and others), play up the fact that you're located in a peaceful location yet close to town. Tell them all the positives of being away from the center, since your target market will be people who want a quieter stay, but can easily do everything they want within minutes.

On your dining page, include the local restaurants (if any) and/or links to the nearest ones and ones you recommend. One of the reasons people hesitate to book at a rural b&b is lack of services nearby. If you have them, include them.

I don't know how many pages you get on your free site, but as someone mentioned earlier, each room should have their own page. Also, you should create a separate page each for weddings, and a separate page for events/celebrations. I know you're new owners, so you may not have enough photos yet that show weddings and events, but if you do, use them!

In your breakfast description, you offer breakfast in the courtyard for an additional charge. Take pictures of what that would look like. Europeans LOVE to eat outside and I'm sure you could take advantage of that. If the weather is nice, I would always choose to dine al fresco whenever possible.

Does weeb ly offer a slide show? I see that in the Pro version it says that it offers professional multi media features. If you can get a large picture at the top that rotates (slide show), it's a great way to wow the prospective guest with beautiful images.

You've got a good start. It's a difficult task and an ongoing one!

You said this site has not gone live yet. Do you have a site that you're using right now? If so, can we see it? I'd love to compare the old one.

Congratulations for having thick skin....criticism is difficult to take, but keep in mind we're all here to help.

 

 

Stu
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Thanks Breakfast Diva, it sure is non stop at the minute. I can't believe how long it takes to sign up to a few websites for advertising purposes and create a professional looking website. Hope all is going well with you. 

We are about a 1 hour drive from Malaga but it is a beautiful easy drive to get here. If you get the chance I will give you a tour of the vineyard. Enjoy Malaga.

Stu
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Again thanks for all you comments. Changes have been made today but I know we have got a long way to go before it gets anywhere near perfect. Emptynest, who do you recommend for hosting the webite?

Any more comments 

http://www.la-perlablanca.com/

i am learning sooooo much from this Forum. Thanks everyone.

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also while I havn't checked every room page I would consider putting a book now button on each one - its all about making it easy for the customer don't make them go back and then click on something etc

You can use the Weebly add button option and then  link it to your booking page - easy peasy.

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I agree this slogan " Rural Spain will melt your heart,  with its stunning scenery,  and the delicious, local flavours will tease your senses: our job is to set you at ease... we want to make you smile."

should be your tag line on the home page

I am afraid I don't know much about web hosting in Europe. But I have a programmer friend in Amsterdam who might have a suggestion. I will let you know. He is one of the author's of this theme.

Stu
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PS there is even a photo of us both on there too! Yikes

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Stu wrote:

PS there is even a photo of us both on there too! Yikes

I saw it, keep on blogging, get photos on the blog, as you change things, of the area, etc. 

Stu
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Thanks Joey, a little encouragement goes a long way.

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a super king sized? That is actually a king sized, two twins. Otherwise it would be a queen sized bed. A king sized bed USED two twin sized bed box springs.

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A remarkable improvement already Stu and Samantha! yes

Stu
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Your comments are all noted. Thank you sooooo much and keep them comming. Its so nice having  professional people see the site before it properly goes 'live' to the public. Thanks again.

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Stu wrote:

Your comments are all noted. Thank you sooooo much and keep them comming. Its so nice having  professional people see the site before it properly goes 'live' to the public. Thanks again.

By the way, please tell your wife she has a good start on the website, but there is lot more to it, and getting free advice here is worth ten times what some web designer marketer would make you pay for! You have guts offering it up, and that speaks volumes! All the best, may your table overflow with laughing happy guests! heart

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Ronda!!! I leave March 30 for 3 weeks vacation in Grazalema!! We have a very good friend in Marbella who is letting us stay in his family vacation home in Grazalema. This is really a small world!

Your place looks wonderful. If we did not have free accommodations in Grazalema, i would have loved to stay with you.

Certainly, photos tell more than text, but I think your homepage should have a little more text. You only have two sentences, and both use the word enchanting, a word we rarely use. I would add a little more text to the homepage, a few descriptions of why someone would want to chose your place over another place.

I might change the first sentence to, "Nestled among vineyards beneath the historic city of Ronda" and for the second sentence perhaps, "Our stately farmhouse can serve as a perfect base for your vacation in Andalucia."

Some of the text on the About Us page might be good to put on the homepage. And on the About Us page, perhaps tell some personal information about you, the innkeeper. Nobody expects to know about the manager of a hotel, but when someone chooses to stay in your house, that is different. They want to know a little about who you are, and how you came to run a bed and breakfast. Make it more personal, less formal. People like people, not things.

When I arrive at the homepage, everything is in English, so I don't understand the purpose of the Translate button that says "Translate to English" when I hover the mouse over it.

Pop-ups like the "Translate to English" message do not work well for people using touch screens.

As others have mentioned, potential guests would prefer more and larger photos of each room on the Rooms page. Rather than listing 3 rooms on a single line, perhaps give each room its own line to allow for more photos.

Also, people what to know the room prices when they are comparing the rooms on the Rooms page.

On the Photos page, you have several photos of the outside, but not many of the inside. People want to see more of the inside.

On the Book page, the background is black and the text "Check in date" and "Nights" is also black. Very hard to read.

But the website is looking good! I hope your business does very well!

Stu
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Arks, If you get chance or have a spare few hours/ day you must call in and say hello. It would be great to meet you. Thank you for taking the time to look at our site and comment on it. It is very much appreciated.

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Welcome Stu!

If you do nothing else, take those big bold beautiful stunning room photos and make them full size somewhere on the site, rooms page or home page, forget the pop up! Make them stand out = THEY WILL SELL!

Change BOOK to Reserve or Reservations (I thought you were selling a book, no, really) 

Your home page "header image" has some weird funky blue border at the top and strange dashes on it, Get rid of any and all of that, let the image speak for itself.

Your B&B name SHOULD BE BIG AND VISIBLE UP THERE.

That is called "above the fold" and the most valuable real estate on your website. Use it wisely!

This comment:

" The most
enchanting rural house
and a truly beautiful
vacation. "

Is just weird.

It does nothing to invite me to stay. 

Your main image at the bottom is TRIP ADVISOR DRIVEN? YIKES! Get that the heck outa there. Do not let an image on TA be part of your homepage.

That is probably enough for now. Welcome to the forum!

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You can post the link to your website, that's fine. We'll be very honest so if the site needs work please understand we're not being 'mean' we're being helpful!

Good luck with your new adventure!

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Stu
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Hey, thanks for replying, i would love any constructive critisism .

website is

www.La-PerlaBlanca.com

 

Thanks for your replies

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Greetings!

When I read "la perla blanca...I thought I would see a very light and airy website to match the name. Sad  The color for me is a downer. I envision bright and light. I definitely would go with a brighter and lighter color scheme. Here is a site that might inspire some colors. Weebly free sites are really not a good way to go even though you do have your own domain.

You really need more text on your home page. Something to inspire people to want to stay with you. And for SEO as well.

I also agree with the TRANSLATE comment someone else made.

PICTURES PICTURES AND MORE PICTURES!!! But make sure they are good one and don't make them small. Let them jump out at you to attract people to your lovely location and inn. It is ok to have a ROOMS page, but each of the room names / photos should LINK to a separate page for each room. There you should play up the amenities of each room and feature photos of that room. People want to be able to vision what the room really looks like. Not just one photo. You could do a slideshow and have each small photo open to a large full size view in a lightbox.

Dining: "glittering array of fresh contents," What is glittering about breakfast. Not really an adjective I would use to describe breakfast. PHotos should reflect what people might be getting in their basket and alternately, breakfasts that can be purchased. Are those photos reflective of what is being served. If you are going to open it up in a slideshow, it shouldn't be the same photo you are seeing on the page. It should be large size individual photos of foods served.

Photos Page. Again, small photos should open up into a large size photo slide show. These are just small images used elsewhere. Put captions on things so people know what this shows.

Directions: Can you give some basic text about getting to your location? I see no way of getting directions from this google map.

Reservation page needs to have a bit more explanation. Don't put the bookin g s. com coming. Just put it there when it is done.

I guess that is it for me.

You look like you have a really lovely place. PLAY IT UP and SELL it.

 

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I'm just going thru this quickly so bear with me...

The pool photo... Retake that with the tables in the foreground with some drinks. Right now it's a huge expanse of tile and not inviting.

You have an advertisement at the bottom of the site for some website developer.

Your about us page is confusing but that may be the translation. It seems to be implying that the library will make me want to play a board game or have breakfast.

It also sounds like the heat and air are controlled by the WiFi. again, this may be translation problems.

I did not look at your seo at all, just at the basic site the way the guest will see it.

I would like to see larger room photos.

I love 'lashings' of amenities.

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