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reYOOPERed

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We just got our site going. The previous owners had a nice site but it was a bit dated with the photographs and directions etc. This site is a work in progress and changes daily but I wanted to see what you guys thought and if anyone had any comments or suggestions.
http://www.kiplinghouse.com/
 

YellowSocks

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For a work in progress it looks great!
I'm sure the others will have all kinds of advice, but I am kinda busy today...
=)
Kk.
 

Morticia

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I like the overall layout but the pix look a bit 'grayscale'. Kind of a 'noir' look to them. Not sure if that's what you were going for or not.
 

jkarennj

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Looks like a good start for the web site. A few suggestions, if you don't mind:
Put a high-quality, professional image of the inn as it is today on the home page...it might work to leave the vintage photo on the front page to show the change over time. Guests want to immediately see what the inn is like today, so don't make them hunt for those photos.
Under the accommodations link, you have some good photos, but not nearly enough. Inngoers what to see photos of the exact room(s) they are looking to book. Break down the accommodations page, so it shows photos and features room-by-room.
I would suggest upgrading the photographs in the "Kipling House Photo Album," and include photos of bigger beds. The first thing I looked at was this photo album, and I saw what appears to be a twin-size bed. My initial thought was, "this inn has very small beds." That might not be the first impression you want to give. The photos used in the top bar of the home page has some very nice images. I would try to keep the images at that level.
Under "Reservations," do you plan on offering an online booking tool that shows availability?
I love the "About Us" page and the photo of the two of you. It makes me want to stay there and meet the two of you!
Those are just a few thoughts. I'm happy to review future drafts.
Best of luck to you!
Jay Karen
 

mjsgeorgia

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Looks great! Very professional looking, clean and not cluttered. I did notice one spelling error on your Accommodations link..."king" is spelled wrong. As an innkeeper of a new B&B (6 months) I would recommend online reservations too, at least half of our reservations have come from online reservations.
Looks like you're well on your way...contact me if you have any questions, I may be able to help with the "new innkeeper" questions!
Mary Jo
 

GeorgiaGirl

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Is it me, or do you not have your room prices listed yet? I too would like a picture of the way the house is right now on your homepage as well as I would like to see some outside pictures.
 

stephanie

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Congratulations on the purchase and the wedding! Wow, that's a lot in one year.
I think the website is a nice balance of professional and home-spun. Agree with the other posters that you need more photos, but I'm sure those are coming once you settle in.
I'm a stickler on spelling, and the "Accomodations" link missing a "m" is a biggie. There's also "dinning" misspelled somewhere.
Great start! I hope more photos, rates and online reservations are coming.
 

swirt

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I agree with the other comments made about your photos.
Online booking...gotta have it.
On to SEO. (disclaimer: all of the following links are to my website)
Currently your page titles (the part that shows up in the blue part of the browser window) are all the same and only have the name of your B&B. This is the single most powerful on-page factor for not only how well you show up in searches, but how you attract people to click on you when you show up. It needs to be unique on every page, and each needs to be well thought out.
Your address at the bottom of the page needs to be actual text, not a graphic.
All your links to your home page should be to http://www.kiplinghouse.com/ not http://www.kiplinghouse.com/index.html
You need a meta-description and ought to have meta-keywords uniquely on every page as well as headings and alt attibutes.
Your image links in your main navigation needs alt attributes and title attributes. This gives meaning to meaningless images that search engines can't read.
 

Samster

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Congrats on two momentous events in such a short time!
Pictures are worth a thousand words...you need more of them & each room needs its own description with photo. I'd like to see a present day photo also of the house on a web page. Frankly, I'm not one to dig into the photo albums (even though I have one on my own site...haha!)
You need to check the entire site for spelling errors as there are a few of them.
Best of luck!!
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Congrats on the new website!
My first impression is "Is it that dark and drab in MI?" The color scheme tends to suck some of the color out of the photos or maybe you chose photos to coinside with the color layout on purpose? But as an inngoer I would want to stay at a more cheerful bright place.
A photo of a grey sky vs a sunny blue sky is never that inviting over a B&B. Even if you added a faint yellow to the background of the page - the rooms photos would jump out and seem cheery. You have yellow on the house image on the header. You could tie it together or it might seem a bit too yellowjacket-ish?
Being male you probably prefer it to be more clean and even toned. I am not sure what the stats are but can pretty much assure you the majority of B&B rooms are booked via females. They might type their husband's name on the rez, but they booked the room. I would bring a bit more color into the whole layout.
I know pics and text are all under construction. So that is my 2 cents. Thanks for sharing with us.
 

swirt

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reYOOPERed said:
The previous owners had a nice site but it was a bit dated with the photographs and directions etc.
It was good that you saw the old site needed to be re-worked. But it seems you went wild and ended up ditching 8 years of built up history for the site by changing all the page filenames and not 301 redirecting the old file names to the new filenames.
There are still three of the old pages that I can see in Google's index so I would suggest renaming all the new pages with the old file names or as option #2 put 301redirects like the ones listed below in place:
redirect www.kiplinghouse.com/accomodations.htm to http://www.kiplinghouse.com/accommodations.html
redirect http://www.kiplinghouse.com/about_us.htm to http://www.kiplinghouse.com/about.html
redirect http://www.kiplinghouse.com/location.htm to http://www.kiplinghouse.com/location.html
and if you know the original file names (I can dig more up, but I'll leave it to your web person) you should do them all.
History is one important factor in Google and it is one of the only factors you either have or you don't (its not something you can overcome artificially through money or tech) so when I see web designers throw it away, it makes me
and
 

EmptyNest

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The grey color is not very appealing. I would love to see a larger better image of the house. Rooms are not identified. You need on line availability and reservations. SWIRT knows the real technical stuff..and he knows it well. Listen to him.....we all do:)
 

reYOOPERed

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Thanks for all of the input. We are still working on a lot of the stuff you guys mentioned but this input will help us out a lot. Thanks for the spelling stuff pointed out I am a horrible speller.
My wife's brother is a professional photographer (kinda
) and we are waiting for him to send us the pictures he took so hopefully that will happen soon and I think that will make a huge difference.

We kinda ran into a situation where we had to throw that site up quick because we switched from one server where the previous owners guy was hosting it to my friend’s server whom host it for us now so that is a big reason why it looks less than complete right now.
I wanted to have the rooms broken down with individual descriptions and pictures but I haven't had a chance to take the pictures because we have been busy and the rooms have been full on the days I am available to do it. That will happen soon.
 

Penelope

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I really like your site. I agree with JBJ (I think it was her) that mostly females will be the bookers of the trips, but your site was right up my alley. It was clean, not cluttered; pretty, but not frou-frouey; enough history and heart-string pulling not to be cheesy.
I also agree with the rest about a Book It NOW feature. You will never go wrong with that.
A few more minor tweaks and I think you are ready to go~
Good luck
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Thanks for all of the input. We are still working on a lot of the stuff you guys mentioned but this input will help us out a lot. Thanks for the spelling stuff pointed out I am a horrible speller.
My wife's brother is a professional photographer (kinda
) and we are waiting for him to send us the pictures he took so hopefully that will happen soon and I think that will make a huge difference.

We kinda ran into a situation where we had to throw that site up quick because we switched from one server where the previous owners guy was hosting it to my friend’s server whom host it for us now so that is a big reason why it looks less than complete right now.
I wanted to have the rooms broken down with individual descriptions and pictures but I haven't had a chance to take the pictures because we have been busy and the rooms have been full on the days I am available to do it. That will happen soon. .
reYOOPERed said:
Thanks for all of the input. We are still working on a lot of the stuff you guys mentioned but this input will help us out a lot. Thanks for the spelling stuff pointed out I am a horrible speller.
My wife's brother is a professional photographer (kinda
) and we are waiting for him to send us the pictures he took so hopefully that will happen soon and I think that will make a huge difference.

We kinda ran into a situation where we had to throw that site up quick because we switched from one server where the previous owners guy was hosting it to my friend’s server whom host it for us now so that is a big reason why it looks less than complete right now.
I wanted to have the rooms broken down with individual descriptions and pictures but I haven't had a chance to take the pictures because we have been busy and the rooms have been full on the days I am available to do it. That will happen soon.
Until you get the room names at least make them a MOUSE OVER so guests can see which is which. That is what I would do. Maybe "Mt Ada Room - $125"
 

reYOOPERed

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Is webervations the way to go with the on-line booking? Is it hard to set up? (sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this.)
 

swirt

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Is webervations the way to go with the on-line booking? Is it hard to set up? (sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this.).
I'd suggest comparing at least the 4 listed here (online reservations for B&B).
It may help you decide whether you simply want reservations, or whether you want guest management too. If you aren't already set up with Credit Card processing, Rezovation becomes a good option to keep life easy.
 

egoodell

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Is webervations the way to go with the on-line booking? Is it hard to set up? (sorry if this is the wrong place to ask this.).
I found webervations relatively easy. I receive 95% of my bookings this way, and it's very convenient.
Riki
 

IronGate

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I like to see a zoomable map right on the "Location" page. I didn't notice your link to mapquest until I had been on that page three times. When I popped up the map and discovered you were virtually on the lake I got WAAAAAY more excited about your place, and then the lake photo at the top of the page made more sense to me. Is that the view from your place? (Those photos on the banner read like stock photos to me, since I didn't find them anywhere else on the site.)
From the West:
Travel east on US-2 & 41 and M-35 to Gladstone . . .
The driving directions seemed a little confusing to me, because they don't tell me where to start. The "West" is a little too broad. ;) Do you mean Duluth? Minneapolis? San Fransisco?
 

reYOOPERed

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I agree about the driving directions. They were taken from the old site and I don't like them but they are there for now. Our little town has a lot of unmarked exits and streets so it's hard to have good directions. I would love to incorporate a map, I hope I can do that.
 

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