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New website - constructive critcism greatly appreciated

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Don Draper

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Overall I really like the design. It is clean and simple, yet still conveys a sense of softness and elegance. Lots of information and the site is easy to navigate.
I would definitely put a picture of the two of you right on the front page...and also in the About Us and Contact Us sections...several different pictures of you both. One with you two together, and maybe for About Us separate pictures along with the bios. If you will be the face of my B&B in my absence I definitely want to see you!
Edited to Add: I just clicked on Contact Us and like the photos of you both that are there, but maybe a more formal "portrait" type picture for the home page (I would do one of you together) and then a more formal pic for About Us next to your About Us bios.
You're both cuties and look like natural hostesses
 

gillumhouse

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Larger type so these old eyes do not have to strain. the purple is a nice color, but bold it or something. Again these old eyes had a hard time reading it on the white background - or use a darker color.
I would have liked to see something about rates so I would not waste your time or mine finding out if I could afford you. Also in your references you list several inns as being to present which in my days of applications meant I worked thre from this date and am still there. Since there are only 2 of you and several inns show to present - I am confused.
Suggestion: photos of some breakfasts you have served; or something about the menus/diet needs/etc you have handled
These are the things that hit me on first look. I hope I am being helpful - I mean to be.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Sue, I love the clean look of the site. And so nice to see your smiling face!
But the photo cuts your head off at the top; if you can find that same warm smile in another photo (and I have a feeling that warm smile shines in all your photos), I'd use it.
And definitely I'd put those photos on the front page since you're putting your contact info there. The warmth and joy that comes through in both you and your sister's pix are definitely selling points; put them right up front.
I love love love the look of your banner/logo. Really works for me.
I'm sure that inn owners like seeing all the references. I'm always hesitant, though, to put references out there until I'm a bit more sure of the gig. Innkeepers are all so busy themselves, I don't want any of my clients to have to take up their time to help me, especially if I'm not even sure of the gig myself. But that's just me. Again, I'm sure inn owners will like seeing the names upfront so most of them will probably disagree with that.
But on the same note, I think the references would work better if you had actual comments made from each owner, rather than just their names. That's one way to avoid having their names on the site; include the comments without the name so as to avoid unnecessary phone calls to them. It also allows you to weave a story of your strengths and skills through those comments.
And speaking of comments, I really like the whole comments page from guests. Nice touch. Homey, warm, reassuring.
All in all, your new site functions well, looks clean and professional, and the photos add a warm touch. Nice.
 

Morticia

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Overall, it operates very cleanly. It's easy to find what I want. Now, whether you show up in a search for 'innsitters' I did not verify. On the home page you have a lot of opportunity in the title of the page to elaborate, ie- give yourself more keywords. Having it say 'Two-Hearts Innsitting- Home' loses a lot of opportunity.
From a web designer standpoint, your Meta tags for page descriptions say 'Joomla web design' they should say something about you and YOUR services. Meta keywords aren't all that important, but why not put something about you in there, too. Along with using the space in the Meta tag for 'page title' as well. If that's Greek, here's what I mean: this description content should be something like 'Innsitting services' then I would throw in some states that you've been to in case, as an example, I'm looking for an innsitter for myself, I might Google 'Innsitters my state.'
<meta name="description" content="Joomla! - the dynamic portal engine and content management system" />
I'm not thrilled, tho. To me, it looks like a blog template, so not professional enough. I'm also thinking it's not welcoming enough. I guess because it's innsitting I'm expecting a site that looks more 'Inn-like.' Maybe it's the colors. The colors are kind of 'funereal' and I LOVE those colors, but as an innkeeper I'm thinking you may be grim people.
I'd also offer suggestions for reasons innkeepers might need you. If you can do emergency situations, I'd include that you are flexible enough to handle emergencies as your calendar allows. (Obviously you're not going to run out on someone else.)
Listing the different states you've worked in is good.
Is the graphic under the 'About Us' section on the home page a paw print? Now I'm thinking you do pet sitting, not inn sitting.
It's hard to read the 'Dear Innkeeper' section with the gray/lilac text on a black background and going so far across the page. I have to scan too much back & forth and I'm losing my place and thinking 'this is too much to read.' I'd center that more and break it up more. From a writing perspective, lose all the 'have done's'...we have noticed, we have seen and make those active...We noticed, we saw... Maybe more present tense...We travel extensively, rather than we have traveled, that sounds like you're just hanging around at home now and not honing your skills.
On the references page...is it ok with all of your references that your next possible employer is using their 800# to find out about you? I might be annoyed to find out I spent 30 minutes on the phone telling someone about you only to find out I paid for that call.
I like the logo you designed with the hearts.
Just my opinion.
 

Morticia

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Larger type so these old eyes do not have to strain. the purple is a nice color, but bold it or something. Again these old eyes had a hard time reading it on the white background - or use a darker color.
I would have liked to see something about rates so I would not waste your time or mine finding out if I could afford you. Also in your references you list several inns as being to present which in my days of applications meant I worked thre from this date and am still there. Since there are only 2 of you and several inns show to present - I am confused.
Suggestion: photos of some breakfasts you have served; or something about the menus/diet needs/etc you have handled
These are the things that hit me on first look. I hope I am being helpful - I mean to be..
Good points about making this like an 'application' or an interview...tell me some problems that you've solved. Unless that was in the commetns section and I didn't read that.
 

JBloggs

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The pic is gone! you must be updating it, or else I can't view it in chrome.
Nice work SueE. Esp like the hand written letters section. If there is any way to make the Dear Innkeepers section larger font or brighter easier to read, since that is the main focus.
 

bbinnsitters

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Larger type so these old eyes do not have to strain. the purple is a nice color, but bold it or something. Again these old eyes had a hard time reading it on the white background - or use a darker color.
I would have liked to see something about rates so I would not waste your time or mine finding out if I could afford you. Also in your references you list several inns as being to present which in my days of applications meant I worked thre from this date and am still there. Since there are only 2 of you and several inns show to present - I am confused.
Suggestion: photos of some breakfasts you have served; or something about the menus/diet needs/etc you have handled
These are the things that hit me on first look. I hope I am being helpful - I mean to be..
Gillumhouse,
The reference page was originally slated as recipes, but I realized I had forgotten references - I think I can still add recipes and possible pics of food...
Was thinking of putting my rates on, but didn't know exactly where to put it!
"to present" means that these owners have used me several times since the 1st year listed and I am still going there on a regular basis. The reference list that I would send to people listed every single date that I worked - for instance The Bricktown Inn there are 10 seperate times - once in 2004, 2005 and 2006, twice in 2007, 3 times in 2008 and twice in 2009 - I thought that was a bit much to put on the website so tried to consolidate somehow. I'm not sure it worked if you are confused!
I appreciate your helpfulness!
 

bbinnsitters

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Overall, it operates very cleanly. It's easy to find what I want. Now, whether you show up in a search for 'innsitters' I did not verify. On the home page you have a lot of opportunity in the title of the page to elaborate, ie- give yourself more keywords. Having it say 'Two-Hearts Innsitting- Home' loses a lot of opportunity.
From a web designer standpoint, your Meta tags for page descriptions say 'Joomla web design' they should say something about you and YOUR services. Meta keywords aren't all that important, but why not put something about you in there, too. Along with using the space in the Meta tag for 'page title' as well. If that's Greek, here's what I mean: this description content should be something like 'Innsitting services' then I would throw in some states that you've been to in case, as an example, I'm looking for an innsitter for myself, I might Google 'Innsitters my state.'
<meta name="description" content="Joomla! - the dynamic portal engine and content management system" />
I'm not thrilled, tho. To me, it looks like a blog template, so not professional enough. I'm also thinking it's not welcoming enough. I guess because it's innsitting I'm expecting a site that looks more 'Inn-like.' Maybe it's the colors. The colors are kind of 'funereal' and I LOVE those colors, but as an innkeeper I'm thinking you may be grim people.
I'd also offer suggestions for reasons innkeepers might need you. If you can do emergency situations, I'd include that you are flexible enough to handle emergencies as your calendar allows. (Obviously you're not going to run out on someone else.)
Listing the different states you've worked in is good.
Is the graphic under the 'About Us' section on the home page a paw print? Now I'm thinking you do pet sitting, not inn sitting.
It's hard to read the 'Dear Innkeeper' section with the gray/lilac text on a black background and going so far across the page. I have to scan too much back & forth and I'm losing my place and thinking 'this is too much to read.' I'd center that more and break it up more. From a writing perspective, lose all the 'have done's'...we have noticed, we have seen and make those active...We noticed, we saw... Maybe more present tense...We travel extensively, rather than we have traveled, that sounds like you're just hanging around at home now and not honing your skills.
On the references page...is it ok with all of your references that your next possible employer is using their 800# to find out about you? I might be annoyed to find out I spent 30 minutes on the phone telling someone about you only to find out I paid for that call.
I like the logo you designed with the hearts.
Just my opinion..
"Is the graphic under the 'About Us' section on the home page a paw print? Now I'm thinking you do pet sitting, not inn sitting."
HA! I'm not sure what that is - I will have to ask my web designer! Altho we do pet sitting if the owners have pets - I'd prefer to be told about it ahead of time tho!
Good point about the "800" numbers - will get that changed asap, as well as using present tense. Makes sense to me! Thanks! All the meta tag stuff was over my head tho!
 

bbinnsitters

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The pic is gone! you must be updating it, or else I can't view it in chrome.
Nice work SueE. Esp like the hand written letters section. If there is any way to make the Dear Innkeepers section larger font or brighter easier to read, since that is the main focus..
Not sure why the pics wouldn't come up - also not sure what "chrome" is and how that would affect it?
 

gillumhouse

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Larger type so these old eyes do not have to strain. the purple is a nice color, but bold it or something. Again these old eyes had a hard time reading it on the white background - or use a darker color.
I would have liked to see something about rates so I would not waste your time or mine finding out if I could afford you. Also in your references you list several inns as being to present which in my days of applications meant I worked thre from this date and am still there. Since there are only 2 of you and several inns show to present - I am confused.
Suggestion: photos of some breakfasts you have served; or something about the menus/diet needs/etc you have handled
These are the things that hit me on first look. I hope I am being helpful - I mean to be..
Gillumhouse,
The reference page was originally slated as recipes, but I realized I had forgotten references - I think I can still add recipes and possible pics of food...
Was thinking of putting my rates on, but didn't know exactly where to put it!
"to present" means that these owners have used me several times since the 1st year listed and I am still going there on a regular basis. The reference list that I would send to people listed every single date that I worked - for instance The Bricktown Inn there are 10 seperate times - once in 2004, 2005 and 2006, twice in 2007, 3 times in 2008 and twice in 2009 - I thought that was a bit much to put on the website so tried to consolidate somehow. I'm not sure it worked if you are confused!
I appreciate your helpfulness!
.
How about stating 10 times since 2004 - scheduled annually (or something to that affect.) for the repeats. I don't think you need to post recipes. Just tell innkeepers the dietary needs you have worked with successfully and pictures of your presentation.
As for rates - just your basic and whatever add-ons. How you get paid, you said you make money if they make money so explain how you charge. Travel? Whatever there would be a fee for.
 

Innkeeper To Go

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Larger type so these old eyes do not have to strain. the purple is a nice color, but bold it or something. Again these old eyes had a hard time reading it on the white background - or use a darker color.
I would have liked to see something about rates so I would not waste your time or mine finding out if I could afford you. Also in your references you list several inns as being to present which in my days of applications meant I worked thre from this date and am still there. Since there are only 2 of you and several inns show to present - I am confused.
Suggestion: photos of some breakfasts you have served; or something about the menus/diet needs/etc you have handled
These are the things that hit me on first look. I hope I am being helpful - I mean to be..
Gillumhouse,
The reference page was originally slated as recipes, but I realized I had forgotten references - I think I can still add recipes and possible pics of food...
Was thinking of putting my rates on, but didn't know exactly where to put it!
"to present" means that these owners have used me several times since the 1st year listed and I am still going there on a regular basis. The reference list that I would send to people listed every single date that I worked - for instance The Bricktown Inn there are 10 seperate times - once in 2004, 2005 and 2006, twice in 2007, 3 times in 2008 and twice in 2009 - I thought that was a bit much to put on the website so tried to consolidate somehow. I'm not sure it worked if you are confused!
I appreciate your helpfulness!
.
I think Kathleen's right. You don't have to think of this in terms of a resume so it's not a work history that you're showing. If you've innsat for a particular inn for several times, that's impressive. You can show the number of times or just state that these are repeat clients for who you continue to regularly provide innsitting services each year.
 

bbinnsitters

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From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!
 

bbinnsitters

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Larger type so these old eyes do not have to strain. the purple is a nice color, but bold it or something. Again these old eyes had a hard time reading it on the white background - or use a darker color.
I would have liked to see something about rates so I would not waste your time or mine finding out if I could afford you. Also in your references you list several inns as being to present which in my days of applications meant I worked thre from this date and am still there. Since there are only 2 of you and several inns show to present - I am confused.
Suggestion: photos of some breakfasts you have served; or something about the menus/diet needs/etc you have handled
These are the things that hit me on first look. I hope I am being helpful - I mean to be..
Gillumhouse,
The reference page was originally slated as recipes, but I realized I had forgotten references - I think I can still add recipes and possible pics of food...
Was thinking of putting my rates on, but didn't know exactly where to put it!
"to present" means that these owners have used me several times since the 1st year listed and I am still going there on a regular basis. The reference list that I would send to people listed every single date that I worked - for instance The Bricktown Inn there are 10 seperate times - once in 2004, 2005 and 2006, twice in 2007, 3 times in 2008 and twice in 2009 - I thought that was a bit much to put on the website so tried to consolidate somehow. I'm not sure it worked if you are confused!
I appreciate your helpfulness!
.
All dos are completely removed as are the toll free numbers! Thanks everyone!
 

JBloggs

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From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!.
suellen222 said:
From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!
tell the webdesigner the image is not visible in chrome. :) I would have guessed it is under the about us, but can't see it, not even the typical missing image icon.
I do see images under the CONTACT US :)
 

EmptyNest

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My first impression was ok. Nice look.... But thought too much reading on the home page but...it works. Do not like the comment page at all. This looks bad to me. I would rather see the text not photos of their handwriting. You need to get professional photos...these do not do you justice. Can you put your references in columns rather than having to scroll down the whole page to read them. Overall I like it.
 

Morticia

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From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!.
suellen222 said:
From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!
I do not see an increased font size and all your keywords meta tag says now is 'two hearts inn sitting' in a variety of spellings and forms. NOT going to get you much traffic unless someone is specifically looking for 'two hearts innsitting' in which case they already know abut you. The keyword meta tag is not the important one, the title and description are. Also, you should have a header (uses the <h></h> command) to make more use of valuable space on the site. Each page should have one that the visitor can read that tells in a short sentence what they will find on this page.
You need to come up with a title for the page and a description of what the page is about and tell your web designer to put that in there. The description should describe what the page is about so Google knows what it's 'looking' at when it indexes the site. Unless your web designer has specifically said they are wizards at SEO you'll need to come up with these tags yourself and tell them to put them in.
An example, taken from most B&B sites, the title of their home page is generally (in this order) where they are (town and state and country, if necessary), the words B&B, bed and breakfast, inn (whatever their choice is, don't stuff words in there) and the name of the B&B, more toward the end.
You want words that will help find you, but that also make sense to someone looking at them. So not a string of keywords.
 

bbinnsitters

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From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!.
suellen222 said:
From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!
tell the webdesigner the image is not visible in chrome. :) I would have guessed it is under the about us, but can't see it, not even the typical missing image icon.
I do see images under the CONTACT US :)
.
Joey, pics are only on the contact us page.
 

bbinnsitters

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From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!.
suellen222 said:
From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!
I do not see an increased font size and all your keywords meta tag says now is 'two hearts inn sitting' in a variety of spellings and forms. NOT going to get you much traffic unless someone is specifically looking for 'two hearts innsitting' in which case they already know abut you. The keyword meta tag is not the important one, the title and description are. Also, you should have a header (uses the <h></h> command) to make more use of valuable space on the site. Each page should have one that the visitor can read that tells in a short sentence what they will find on this page.
You need to come up with a title for the page and a description of what the page is about and tell your web designer to put that in there. The description should describe what the page is about so Google knows what it's 'looking' at when it indexes the site. Unless your web designer has specifically said they are wizards at SEO you'll need to come up with these tags yourself and tell them to put them in.
An example, taken from most B&B sites, the title of their home page is generally (in this order) where they are (town and state and country, if necessary), the words B&B, bed and breakfast, inn (whatever their choice is, don't stuff words in there) and the name of the B&B, more toward the end.
You want words that will help find you, but that also make sense to someone looking at them. So not a string of keywords.
.
Morticia,
I appreciate your input, but you are correct - most people find me (however they find me - sometimes it is me finding them) and then I will share my website info. I used to have to snail mail a brochure and references. This is just a replacement (saves me postage, paper and copy costs). The Vistaprint website was working fine, but was limited (no room for references) so my nephew was willing/able to help me out for not a lot of $$. I like to keep costs down - my husband calls me cheap - I tell him he doesn't know how good he has it! I am not a spender/shopper! I love a bargain!
I went 5 years without a website - thought I'd get into this century! We are getting busy enough that I thought an availability calendar was needed also.
 

Morticia

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From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!.
suellen222 said:
From my web designer: In response to these comments, I increased the font size across the site and customized the meta data.
Ba da bing!
I do not see an increased font size and all your keywords meta tag says now is 'two hearts inn sitting' in a variety of spellings and forms. NOT going to get you much traffic unless someone is specifically looking for 'two hearts innsitting' in which case they already know abut you. The keyword meta tag is not the important one, the title and description are. Also, you should have a header (uses the <h></h> command) to make more use of valuable space on the site. Each page should have one that the visitor can read that tells in a short sentence what they will find on this page.
You need to come up with a title for the page and a description of what the page is about and tell your web designer to put that in there. The description should describe what the page is about so Google knows what it's 'looking' at when it indexes the site. Unless your web designer has specifically said they are wizards at SEO you'll need to come up with these tags yourself and tell them to put them in.
An example, taken from most B&B sites, the title of their home page is generally (in this order) where they are (town and state and country, if necessary), the words B&B, bed and breakfast, inn (whatever their choice is, don't stuff words in there) and the name of the B&B, more toward the end.
You want words that will help find you, but that also make sense to someone looking at them. So not a string of keywords.
.
Morticia,
I appreciate your input, but you are correct - most people find me (however they find me - sometimes it is me finding them) and then I will share my website info. I used to have to snail mail a brochure and references. This is just a replacement (saves me postage, paper and copy costs). The Vistaprint website was working fine, but was limited (no room for references) so my nephew was willing/able to help me out for not a lot of $$. I like to keep costs down - my husband calls me cheap - I tell him he doesn't know how good he has it! I am not a spender/shopper! I love a bargain!
I went 5 years without a website - thought I'd get into this century! We are getting busy enough that I thought an availability calendar was needed also.
.
Ah. Ok then. I find a lot of guests find me 'somehow,' and have no idea I have a website.
 
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