We too, started with just a blog, free from blogspot. It was up well before we were open, and steadily moved up in the rankings. When we did open, we did quite well, off of just the blog. No other paid advertising, just every free link we could find. I reserved our URL two years before I actually used it. I kept reading, first on the other forum, then here, implementing what I could on first, our blog, and now our newish site. I put into place the pertinent and possible suggestions as I have time. Do the best you can with your budget, and as you can, put into play the suggestions made here. Our bookings are up a third over last year, with the site, then last month: online booking. We also had a local kayak center go out of the lodging business, which helped us as well.
Great start. Just keep at it.
Don't make the visitors to your site work so hard. Post the rates WITH the rooms. The way it is now you force a visitor to go all the way through Webervations to find your room rates. People's attention span isn't that great. You have one shot at getting their attention and reeling them in. If you make them work for it, you'll lose them.
This is much better, but still has some significant problems.
Once you leave your home page, there is no way back to it
Each page needs to have your phone number, address, etc. Also, I have no idea what state you're in. It should all be very clear from your home page.
When you click on the photos of your rooms, again, there is no way back except to click the back button on your browser.
When you click to get a larger picture of the room, there needs to be much more information and more pictures. Your rate for that room needs to be on the room page. Don't make people search all over for it.
Webervations needs to be more integrated into all pages of your site. Right now it's not a button that is obvious. On each room page there needs to be "check availability", "book now" or whatever phrase you want to use.
There needs to be a directions/map page and info
More pictures, more pictures, more pictures.....more descriptions of your rooms and bathrooms....I have no idea what your rooms are like except the bed.
What's for breakfast? What kind of breakfast do you serve? Where do you serve it?
"Spend relaxing moments in front of the fire or enjoying the view of the lake after a day of activities." I see no pictures of a fireplace or a lake. What does your property look like? The site gives me no clue at this point.
Get rid of all those drowning and horror stories on the "News and Fishing Report"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unfortunately, you can tell that the person doing your website has never done a B&B/lodging establishment before...a tough lesson learned, but hopefully others out there will learn the importance of this. I'm sorry you're having to deal with all this nonsense when you're trying to really get your B&B off and running.
Hang in there, I'm sure more input will be coming. It has gotten better though!
Carolyn, I went to your url and once I left the home page I couldn't find a button "HOME" to get back it again.
The first thing I see is the fuzzy main image. This can easily be corrected. This is the main thing right there, so keep the main thing the main thing - make it large, inviting and clear.
Not sure why the header is obscure and not centered and not big enough, but this can be fixed as well.
I am sorry to say if you did hire someone, I would lay them off in quick succession and find someone else. If you want a simple clean basic website, find one you like and try to emulate it - not copy, but use some of the features. Go to any directory and find one bbonline or bedandbreakfast.com will have plenty or just google it.
And then, take as many photos as you can - I hope you have a digital camera - snap snap snap and you might have a few that work well on your site.
Carolyn, MTLLodge ~~ best advice i can give you is to stop working with your current web person and get someone else.
please don't invest any more time, money or effort with this person because i just don't think they are able to do what you need done.
i don't know what binds you to this person - friend, relative, neighbor, nice person ... but this is your business!
you are trying to convey the best possible presence online that you can. have you looked at other b&b websites in your area? how does yours compare?
good for you! it will be okay. in the meantime, get some really great pictures of your rooms, of the outside, of the area, of the things that are going to bring guests to your door ... so then you're ready for the new webMASTER to do magic for you!