New Niche Directory (not yet lauched needs feedback!

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Beach girl.

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Hi
We are in the process of launching a new Directory www.beach-rooms.com . Yes I hear you all sigh, not another one but at the end of the day choice is good for us all.
We are hoping to offer something a little different, it is for a niche market of properties close to on or waterfront of some discription wether it be a lake, river or coean. The idea is to find a spot for ourselves and our Innkeepers amongst a very crowded marketplace, but with a site that is well done and not a mega site where properties can become lost. We hope to launch sometime in late spring, but the site is up and goggle has already ranked us very high for the keywords 'beach rooms', but we need feedback. If any of you have the time would you please take a look at the site and send us your thoughts.
We sincerely want to offer a decent product, we are Innkeepers ourselves and want to create a site that is a pleasure to be a part of.
Thanks for your time.
Kerry Goodwin
www.beach-rooms.com
info@beachrooms.com
 

Copperhead

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I took a quick look at your home and submission pages and I am only looking at content, no behind the scenes stuff, which I leave to the techies on the forum.
First, your post here mentioned the site was for properties on or NEAR waterfront but from what I gather you mean it must have a beach area just like your domain name descibes. This is fine just need to promote it as such. I am near a river (very near), but it doesn't have a beach area except via boat and your drop down list really does leave this type of listing out. I am near a lake and the ocean but not within your drop down list on the submission page. I would make sure the criteria for submission be listed above the form or on a Welcome page prior to going to the form.
I would rethink having the buttons for each state as you have them as you most likely will have more states to list than you have room for on this page.
I assume that the listings on the US page rotate? Or is there a 'featured' fee?
Info under the listings just reeks of 'get me hits at all costs' type of travel sites like E X P E D I A and others.
I do not like the Google ads!
 

Morticia

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I guess this is what we usually tell new directories- don't make it about the innkeepers, make it about the guests looking for a place to stay. Having a big 'innkeepers sign up here' or similar link makes it look like it's something for innkeepers and not for tourists. That sort of button should be discreet.
Right now I have my 'good' glasses on and I can't read the font at all. If your target market is 18-24, that's probably ok. If you'd like anyone over 40, you might want to consider changing the font to something more legible.
The title of your home page says 'free.' If the 'free' is telling me, the innkeeper, that this is a free listing, that's nice. But again, direct everything at the tourist. As a tourist, if I found this site, I would assume some of the lodging was free, like maybe buy one, get one or something.
Also, you have a 'GoDaddy' logo on the home page. Nothing screams 'amateur' like GoDaddy. And if I go to click on 'Show your website to...' (another thing directed at the innkeeper and not the guest) it shows it is going to take me to a completely different site. Which looks like I'm about to be hit with some advertising I wasn't expecting.
Someone else said they saw Google ads. I have ads blocked so I'm not seeing that in particular, but that would be a turn off in multiple ways.
We went thru this before with paid sites popping ads on our listing pages for our competition. Free or paid, it's just not good to do that to someone's listing.
Did not take a look at any of the coding to see if you're getting any SEO points.
Clean up the home page by getting rid of the ads directed toward the innkeeper and direct the entire page toward the guest and you might have something there. For all of the 'advertising' info, put up another page for 'innkeepers' and load that with all the info for the properties. Save the prime real estate for the tourists!
Overall, the layout is easy to use, clean and fresh. It 'looks' beachy!
 

JBloggs

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I had a quick look and without being able to click through to any examples of listing, I can't give my feel for it. So far the featured listings just seem to be in my way - but I can't get to the others anyway.
Color scheme is nice. Why do you have all those extra state/country listings at the bottom of the page as well as the search feature? And then you have the description with all the key words really where I want to look - it is fairly cumbersome. I do page down, as I am sure other people do too.
We would not be listed as we are not near a beach, but in the mountains.
 

seashanty

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what it looks and 'feels' like to me is vrbo or homeaway ... a directory summer homes and cottages for rent ... but with the focus on beaches ... not a b&b directory. just my impression.
 

swirt

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In addition to all the things Morticia and Joey mentioned, The page seemed to take forever to download and render. On-page and worse yet on-element style definitions suggest to me that you are grinding this all out by hand which is just way too much overhead for a site that would be getting the kind of traffic you would be hoping for.
SEO is kind of mediocre and porrly executed (property id numbers in the title tag, lack of meta descriptions, weak alt attributes ...)
You show the godaddy ssl certificate for you https connection on the form, but the form goes to http . jotform so it is not secure (not that it really needs to be anyway) but it suggests that this is all kind of cobbled together.
The "Shop" tab ....seriously?
What are the limitations (so many miles to a natural body of water? within sight line of water?...)
 

Beach girl.

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Thank you so much for the comments so far, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to look over the site.
It seems we got to remove some goggle ads, it makes sense on the listing page, who needs the competition and the comment from Morticia was eye opening, being Innkeepers ourselves we have been focusing very much on what Innkeepers want, but at the end of the day, what we Innkeepers want is bookings!! Right now our major focus has been in trying to appeal to Innkeepers, as without the listing we do not have much for visitors to the site to view. As for the beach location comment from Copperhead, you are right it is a little vague, but in a way it is suposed to be, as long as you are near a picturesque body of water, that can be walked along, used recreationally or has a beach then the site is open to you, but maybe this needs to be made clearer in the application, so thanks for that.
The homepage may seem a little busy for some, but major text wording is needed in order to rank high with the search engines, so it is a bit of a catch twenty two!!
We are grateful for all comments, please feel free to keep them coming.
Cheers
Kerry
www.beach-rooms.com
info @beach-rooms.com
 

gillumhouse

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In West Virginia, going to the beach means Myrtle.
 
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