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MTLLodge

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Here is my website wwwlodgeatmarktwainlake.com Tell me what you think, I know you guys will.
 

Breakfast Diva

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I'm sorry, but it looks like a blog and not a B&B website. Have you done this yourself?
I know that you are brand new and probably sunk a lot of money into getting the inn started, but your website is everyone's first impression of you. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a professional looking website (even if you do it yourself),
 

gillumhouse

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You really do not tell what there is about your inn to bring me there. You have Blog as a button yet the blog was the home page. Work on your home page. Also If it were not for the blog, I would have thought you only had 1 room. If you list Rooms as a button, you should list the rooms and have a minimum or either a photo or text describing the room (if not photo yet tell what the room will be and when it is expected to be available to be rented).
I have no comment other than the visual beause I know nothink about web site building!
 

aieechihuahua

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Hon, you need some help. It is ok to start out with a blog page template, but at least make the home page look like a home page, luring the guest in. They will forgive you for any other pages, initially, as long as they can navigate to the info they need fast. Rooms - price and availability.
While I highly suggest getting a professional to do your site, you may do ok for a short time by making some changes if you can.
Let the blog be a blog and get it off the home page. Get a real home page up as quickly as possible, with a more lengthly description of your inn and what you offer besides a bed. Brag on yourself and get some pictures up - good sized pictures.
Put all your rooms under one button - nice and easy to find.
The link to go back to your site from the availability calender takes you to another window that is the same as the window it overlays. Fix that fast and direct them back to the home page at very least...not to your policies or anything else.
There is absolutely no way to get back to the home page now, unless you think people are going to assume to use the blog button. They will not. The blog link will NOT be used by a good number of your visitors. They want to know about: INN-Rooms-Price-Availbility-Ammenities-anything else, maybe.
You have absolutely no keywords, metatags, or description in your code at all. People will never find your site in a million web searches without these things. The search engines have nothing to search for in your code. There is nothing there. This is more important that anything else.
I do not mean to put you down. I admire your willingness to go for it yourself. But using WordPress templates is not the wisest thing unless you know how to manipulate the code to serve your purpose. If you can't do it, get someone on it, making you a simple site as soon as possible, someone who knows something about Search Engine Optimization
 

swirt

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I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake".
 

EmptyNest

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Sorry my first impression is not good. This is a blog and this cannot subsitute for real website. Sorry. I am sure SWIRT has given you some good advice. Mine would be to find a professional to do a professional site for you.
 

Proud Texan

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I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake"..
swirt said:
I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake".
Swirt, How did she get her Webervations link (under availability) to pop up in its own little window? I looked at the source code, but couldn't tell.
 

EmptyNest

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I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake"..
swirt said:
I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake".
Swirt, How did she get her Webervations link (under availability) to pop up in its own little window? I looked at the source code, but couldn't tell.
.
Code:
Webervations link (under availability) to pop up in its own little window?  I looked at the source code, but couldn't tell.
Code:
I am  not sure and I know SWIRT would know..but the code says "lightframe" 
When I first saw it I thought it was similar to LIGHTBOX which is a script for photo slide show.
 

Proud Texan

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I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake"..
swirt said:
I agree with pretty much every thing said so far. Though with Wordpress you could do quite a bit to develop it as a full site. Wordpress can be a lot more powerful than other "easy build site" options. Here are a couple of things to do though to improve what you have.
  • replace the copyright statement with your address and phone number ... you want that on every single page. The copyright statement is pretty much worthless. Directory startups will still hijack your info anyway. :(
  • Your slogan of "the lake's newest bed and breakfast" is not worth much... it will scare away as many as it attracts. Come up with something more meaningful and less open to interpretation. example: B&B at the water's edge, romantic waterfront B&B..... tell people what they are looking for.
  • There are several seo plugins for Wordpress that allow you to specify the meta description and meta keywords. Meta keywords are useless, but the meta-description is valuable and the plugins bring them as a package deal. This page will help you decide on how to have your pages target the phrases you want
  • Opening the webervations in the lightbox is not the effect you want, because it leads to what Aieechihuahua mentioned with a confusing window with your site sitting atop your own site.
Give consideration to page titles. From a marketing and search point of view "Carol's blog" is not as beneficial as something like "Notes from Mark Twain Lake".
Swirt, How did she get her Webervations link (under availability) to pop up in its own little window? I looked at the source code, but couldn't tell.
.
Code:
Webervations link (under availability) to pop up in its own little window?  I looked at the source code, but couldn't tell.
Code:
I am  not sure and I know SWIRT would know..but the code says "lightframe" 
When I first saw it I thought it was similar to LIGHTBOX which is a script for photo slide show.
.
catlady said:
Webervations link (under availability) to pop up in its own little window? I looked at the source code, but couldn't tell.
Code:
I am  not sure and I know SWIRT would know..but the code says "lightframe" 
When I first saw it I thought it was similar to LIGHTBOX which is a script for photo slide show.
I just thought it added a little pizazz and looked a little more elegant than the somewhat primitive interface that is currently used by Webervations. They don't make it very easy to customize your individual pages. It's dang near impossible to do anything with CSS and the tiny window they give you for coding is exasperating.
ETS: Thanks for the Lightbox clue. I found the javascript online. It should be relatively easy to implement.
 

MTLLodge

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Thanks for all the input. I DIDN'T do the website myself. I met with the lady who is doing my website on Sunday and told her about these things, an as of tonight nothing has been done. She know we are ready to take guest and I feel the website is really hurting us.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over? Thanks
 

swirt

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Thanks for all the input. I DIDN'T do the website myself. I met with the lady who is doing my website on Sunday and told her about these things, an as of tonight nothing has been done. She know we are ready to take guest and I feel the website is really hurting us.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over? Thanks.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over?
Yes, it happens quite often that one designer or company will take over for another. The thing to be cautious of is that not any designer could take over for that particular site. You need someone who knows Drupal (which is the software your site is built on, not WordPress like I originally thought). It is opensource so there are a lot of people that know it, but it is a smaller pool than those who know wordpress.
Quite likely, depending on who you find, they might talk you into starting over with a completely new site (not using Drupal). There is nothing wrong with Drupal...it can be used for a very powerful site (it powers this site) , but it takes a bit of tweaking and if a particular designer is unfamiliar with it, they may not want to take on the learning curve of the project.
 

Breakfast Diva

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Thanks for all the input. I DIDN'T do the website myself. I met with the lady who is doing my website on Sunday and told her about these things, an as of tonight nothing has been done. She know we are ready to take guest and I feel the website is really hurting us.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over? Thanks.
MTLLodge said:
Thanks for all the input. I DIDN'T do the website myself. I met with the lady who is doing my website on Sunday and told her about these things, an as of tonight nothing has been done. She know we are ready to take guest and I feel the website is really hurting us.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over? Thanks
Is this someone who is a friend/aquaintance or is it someone you hired?
 

Renee V

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MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well.
 

Breakfast Diva

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MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well..
Renee V said:
MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well.
I think the basic format of your site is good. It's easy to navigate.
Can I suggest a couple simple things to change?
  • Change the cottage picture on your home page. You need to grab them with how cute your cottages are and the picture there now doesn't convey that. The pictures on your cottages page are nice. Also, since you are definitely a family property, have some pictures on your homepage with kids or families having a wonderful time. The swing picture is very nice, but I would make it smaller and fit more pictures such as the pool and motel picture and families having fun. Grab them right away with how fun and relaxing time their family will have when they stay with you. Maybe you can think of a slogan you can put near the top about come and make lifelong familiy memories, etc.
  • Go through all your text on all your pages and instead of saying things like "They do not come with a fan, bed linens, towels, or a television. They do however come with blankets, pillows, and cable (if you decide you want to bring a television)", just have a list (like bullets) with things they do have and/or a list of items not included. It's always better to use a positive than a negative. Also, people tend to pay attention to a list instead of paragraphs. Keep it simple
Your family's property looks like a wonderful place. I love that it's sort of a throw back to the old days/simpler time, sort of the innocence of the 50s. I would play that up...there's not many places anymore where families can just go and have fun.
 

MTLLodge

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Thanks for all the input. I DIDN'T do the website myself. I met with the lady who is doing my website on Sunday and told her about these things, an as of tonight nothing has been done. She know we are ready to take guest and I feel the website is really hurting us.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over? Thanks.
MTLLodge said:
Thanks for all the input. I DIDN'T do the website myself. I met with the lady who is doing my website on Sunday and told her about these things, an as of tonight nothing has been done. She know we are ready to take guest and I feel the website is really hurting us.
I guess my question is would another webdesigner take over? Thanks
Is this someone who is a friend/aquaintance or is it someone you hired?
.
I hired her!

 

rrh

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Too much info about the outhouse IMO and then I checked the "News and fishing report"......seems everyone goes to your lake to drown! Get those drowning articles off there!!!
 

Renee V

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MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well..
Renee V said:
MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well.
I think the basic format of your site is good. It's easy to navigate.
Can I suggest a couple simple things to change?
  • Change the cottage picture on your home page. You need to grab them with how cute your cottages are and the picture there now doesn't convey that. The pictures on your cottages page are nice. Also, since you are definitely a family property, have some pictures on your homepage with kids or families having a wonderful time. The swing picture is very nice, but I would make it smaller and fit more pictures such as the pool and motel picture and families having fun. Grab them right away with how fun and relaxing time their family will have when they stay with you. Maybe you can think of a slogan you can put near the top about come and make lifelong familiy memories, etc.
  • Go through all your text on all your pages and instead of saying things like "They do not come with a fan, bed linens, towels, or a television. They do however come with blankets, pillows, and cable (if you decide you want to bring a television)", just have a list (like bullets) with things they do have and/or a list of items not included. It's always better to use a positive than a negative. Also, people tend to pay attention to a list instead of paragraphs. Keep it simple
Your family's property looks like a wonderful place. I love that it's sort of a throw back to the old days/simpler time, sort of the innocence of the 50s. I would play that up...there's not many places anymore where families can just go and have fun.
.
Thanks B. Diva, those are good points and things that I was actually thinking about changing. The first picture on the home page isn't one of the cottages, but our office. The plaque on the wall is a bit shadowed by the trees, so it is kind of hard to read in the picture, I either need to go out on a much sunnier day, or like you say change it to show one of the cottages. And I have been meaning to add more pictures of families enjoying themselves, but its one of those things that I think I will need to rope my own family into rather than invade anyone else's privacy :)
 

Breakfast Diva

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MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well..
Renee V said:
MTL, I couldn't open your website on my browser, maybe it only works on IE? It sounds like good advice coming from the others; it's nice to see everyones comments and honest critiques. Although it does make me a bit nervous about our website that I redesigned last fall. I have heard nothing but compliments from our guests old and new. But part of that might be because before I worked on it, the family was using the same website that they had for like 14 years, only updating the rates, and only displaying a handful of pictures. So I took lots of pictures, (the number one thing that people ask for when booking) and redid it myself using Rapid Weaver on a Mac. I do not have a B&B but I help run my family(by marriage) business which is seasonal. http://www.pinehurstcottages.com/index.html Please take a look and give me some feedback as well.
I think the basic format of your site is good. It's easy to navigate.
Can I suggest a couple simple things to change?
  • Change the cottage picture on your home page. You need to grab them with how cute your cottages are and the picture there now doesn't convey that. The pictures on your cottages page are nice. Also, since you are definitely a family property, have some pictures on your homepage with kids or families having a wonderful time. The swing picture is very nice, but I would make it smaller and fit more pictures such as the pool and motel picture and families having fun. Grab them right away with how fun and relaxing time their family will have when they stay with you. Maybe you can think of a slogan you can put near the top about come and make lifelong familiy memories, etc.
  • Go through all your text on all your pages and instead of saying things like "They do not come with a fan, bed linens, towels, or a television. They do however come with blankets, pillows, and cable (if you decide you want to bring a television)", just have a list (like bullets) with things they do have and/or a list of items not included. It's always better to use a positive than a negative. Also, people tend to pay attention to a list instead of paragraphs. Keep it simple
Your family's property looks like a wonderful place. I love that it's sort of a throw back to the old days/simpler time, sort of the innocence of the 50s. I would play that up...there's not many places anymore where families can just go and have fun.
.
Thanks B. Diva, those are good points and things that I was actually thinking about changing. The first picture on the home page isn't one of the cottages, but our office. The plaque on the wall is a bit shadowed by the trees, so it is kind of hard to read in the picture, I either need to go out on a much sunnier day, or like you say change it to show one of the cottages. And I have been meaning to add more pictures of families enjoying themselves, but its one of those things that I think I will need to rope my own family into rather than invade anyone else's privacy :)
.
Renee V said:
Thanks B. Diva, those are good points and things that I was actually thinking about changing. The first picture on the home page isn't one of the cottages, but our office. The plaque on the wall is a bit shadowed by the trees, so it is kind of hard to read in the picture, I either need to go out on a much sunnier day, or like you say change it to show one of the cottages. And I have been meaning to add more pictures of families enjoying themselves, but its one of those things that I think I will need to rope my own family into rather than invade anyone else's privacy :)
Why don't you just go to istock.com and find some wonderful stock photos of families playing on a lake or water, etc. They are only about $1.00 per photo. It doesn't need to be your lake, just something indistinguishable. Also, the office photo even on a bright day is not the first impression you want to give...people won't be staying overnight in your office.

 

JBloggs

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In the end it pays in revenue to have a decent website with decent photos. This should be innkeeping 101 and seems to be ignored for some reason. First impressions are most important in this business. Gotta get em in the door.
I think many innkeepers are more likely to advertise and put their marketing $ into that and not into their website, which is sink or swim for any BnB.
 
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