Can you judge a company by its homepage?

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You never get a second chance at a first impression.

Can you judge a company by its homepage?

a beautiful homepage design is an essential piece of your website

 

JB - - No I am not selling websites, but I read this and wanted to share it here. I know the B&B overseas tend to smash every bit of information on their homepage, virtually destroying it. We have to be careful with that, plastering logos all over it is another way, imo, to kill an inviting homepage.

What things do you like to see in a homepage for a B&B? Can the photos ever be big enough, or is enough enough! I say that as it seems like there are no boundaries now for huge images on the header. Not always a great image either, not everything looks good BIG. Your thoughts? 

Do you change your homepage header image(s) in season or once a year?

TEST: If I took 5 homepages from this forum and laid them side to side - doesn't matter where they are located or what type of inn they are, or the color scheme we prefer over another - - they are all B&B's...how would they compare? Would some not look as good as the others (not in person, mind you, but by design on the homepage)?

Would they all feel the same? Would they all be selling beds? or would one pop out selling more than a bed, an experience, a feel that evokes the viewer to want to stay there?

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Breakfast Diva's picture
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The bottom left. I think it portrays an emotion. Warm & inviting.

 

Arks's picture
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Or maybe have a cheese plate by that spa tub. Eye-wink

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Innkeep's picture
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So, are we saying that an inviting interior photo is a better sell than the standard outside of the house for the home page?

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Innkeep wrote:

So, are we saying that an inviting interior photo is a better sell than the standard outside of the house for the home page?

I remember when we were in a state association B&B book. I paged through them all, and there were (I can't remember exactly) but something like 4 to a page. Every one had the front of the house. and it was at that point that I deemed I would try to not do that in my marketing. Have I done it since? Yes. But overall, I have tried not to. Now don't get me wrong, I like to see the front of the B&B's, I like these below, but this is only 1/4 of the page, imagine seeing them all this way... sure we have to filter by location, price, whatever from this list, but the first impression...

here is an example from BnBfinder:

Madeleine's picture
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You know how all the directories have the standard photo of the exterior? I used a food photo instead. No idea if it makes a difference. Just thought I'd try.

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Madeleine wrote:

You know how all the directories have the standard photo of the exterior? I used a food photo instead. No idea if it makes a difference. Just thought I'd try.

YES! That is what I was just saying before I read your comment. Does it make a difference? Who knows. I would like to think it does! 

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Innkeep wrote:

So, are we saying that an inviting interior photo is a better sell than the standard outside of the house for the home page?

Well, ideally the slideshow, but yes, if you just have one image, or perhaps the first one in the slideshow, maybe it should be something that invites the guest to put themself in the picture, and people probably want to picture being inside rather than on the street.

I recall reading long ago (long being 3 years) that rather than having models in that spa tub, you should just show the tub, and some wine and candles, and let the person imagine being the one in the photo.

We're playing with real psychology here!

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Well I'll say that I also want to stay at "lower left" in a heart beat, based just on the photo alone. Not just the stone fireplace, but also the 12 over 12 window, the chair that reminds me of one I saw them make on The Woodwright's Shop, the authentic-looking wood floors with the rugs, the dining table in the background. Everything about it says it's the kind of place I'd enjoy!

So I went to the actual website, saw more photos, and am ready to book a flight to Connecticut! Yes, a good first impression of a website makes a big difference to me.

I think it's kind of like buying a car. I always fall for one that caught my eye right off the bat, then study all the others but end up going back to the one I loved at first sight!

OnTheShore's picture
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Is this how to vote?

Top left: clean, spare design, a style that I personally like. I would look further. I think the navigation buttons arrayed around the photo work OK on the homepage, but not sure about how that would work on other pages.

Bottom left: like Maddie, I would stay 'cause I like the fireplace. I can not easily make out the name of the inn from their logo, though -- it doesn't work on that background at the scale that it is presented to us.

Top Right: my concern is that the building doesn't really look that much like an alpine haus, more like a standard colonial. Other than that, the layout and design of the homepage seem OK, doesn't turn me off, but doesn't really turn me on either.

Bottom Right: I find the layout/design too busy for my taste. That wouldn't turn me off necessarily if I were already looking for accommodation in that area, but it doesn't scream out to me that I've just got to go and stay there.

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dumitru's picture
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You can judge a business by its online presence, especially when said business gets most of its business from the interwebs. 

If your website is outdated by 10 years, it would be safe to bet that you don't have free Wi-Fi available, and if it is, then it probably will suck.

If the website is old, I always think that the furniture, sheets, plates, rugs, etc. will be old too. Just a psychological thing.

A modern website works for you, not against you, so it is unreasonable to keep it old on purpose.
Let it look old and vintage, but technically it needs to be modern and perform well.

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Arks's picture
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Maybe make a poll of those 4 from innsales, just asking, at first impression, which of these places would YOU rather stay tonight?

Don't get into critique of the fonts, proportions, the fold, etc. Just first impression, because that's often all you get before they hop to the next place to look.

Certainly you shouldn't select a place just based on the first impression of the homepage, but people do it every day!

Madeleine's picture
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Just looking at the teeny photos on my tablet I'd pick the one with the fireplace. I can't read any of the text I just love a good fire!

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Arks wrote:

Certainly you shouldn't select a place just based on the first impression of the homepage, but people do it every day!

Isn't that what we are talking about? You have 2 seconds to grab them or they move on...

Arks's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Isn't that what we are talking about? 

Yes, but right before my post, Maddie posted "I don't think you can necessarily judge the experience you'll have by the homepage. Maybe you can make a judgement on how tech savvy the owners are," so I thought it would bear repeating that people DO judge the experience by the homepage, for right or wrong.

Madeleine's picture
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I don't think you can necessarily judge the experience you'll have by the homepage. Maybe you can make a judgement on how tech savvy the owners are.

Large photos can get too large, yes. There's inviting and then there's in your face.

I do change the top photo seasonally. The slideshow stays the same.

Then again that spammy booking site has a horrible homepage and it suits. Why anyone would trust that site I don't know.

I have a different outlook on mom and pop websites. They can be a little funky in a bad way and not put me off.

I keep trying to come up with text that entices.

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Ice you hijacker!

Did you click the X on the right of the review on FB? Upper right corner, hidden unless you mouse over it.

Ice
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[quote=Joey Bloggs]

Ice you hijacker!

Did you click the X on the right of the review on FB? Upper right corner, hidden unless you mouse over it.

[/quote

I know I hijacked,  I never did it before, first offense!  No X to the right of review.  It looks like if they wrote something it has it but when they just lever star rating it doesn't .

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Ice]</p> <p>[quote=Joey Bloggs wrote:

Ice you hijacker!

Did you click the X on the right of the review on FB? Upper right corner, hidden unless you mouse over it.

[/quote

I know I hijacked,  I never did it before, first offense!  No X to the right of review.  It looks like if they wrote something it has it but when they just lever star rating it doesn't .

There is an X

it is very small upper right corner, not visible til you mouse over it.

I don't even see it, you said on your FB page, right? Oh I see it, and because I had to open MORE REVIEWS it doesn't show the X

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Here are 4 B&B homepages that are currently for sale on http://innsales.com/ to use as examples (larger view here):

Ice
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02/22/2010

On Facebook  I have a couple of reviews (star rating) one gave me a 1 star and another gave me a 3 star and they have never stayed with me.  I wrote to them telling them about it and nothing happen.  I'm about to post or comment that they need to stay with us then they will see we are not a *   or ***   But ***** !   What would you do?

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