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Generic

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Okay, it's time to update my website. I started on the Karma theme years ago, but with the newest update, they are moving from WPBakery to Elementor, so even if I update the theme, I have to redo the whole website... there isn't really a way to port it. So, I thought, maybe I should move to something new, like X.

In any case, I want to look at it from a new perspective and cut down on the menus and make a more robust front page. And I was wondering about who else has seen a GREAT B&B website and/or had any ideas on a new organizational method for the front page.

At the moment, I have the slider. Then my rooms in a grid. Then testimonials. One website that I saw had several Parallax elements with text between them about the B&B. (Parallax are those pictures that change angle as you scroll). Then the grid of rooms... each just clear but when you hover over them, get the room name and sub header and click to a page about the room.

The menus were: rooms, photos, promotions, attractions, contact, about, kids, polices and a booking button.

What do you have? Have any new ideas? I want the website clean, because people have no attention span anymore.
 

Morticia

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I have to change things out too. My theme has made huge changes that I have not downloaded yet because they will require that I get a bunch of plug ins to do what the theme does now. I’ve never loaded a totally new theme so I have no idea how to even start that.

a new, clean theme sounds good. But I’ve got the blog portion and a recipe section and all kinds of stuff in the side bars that are no longer supported. It's a huge undertaking.

so, yeah, a new, clean look would be welcome!
 

Arks

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I want to look at it from a new perspective and cut down on the menus and make a more robust front page.
And just a few years ago the advice was to make the front page as simple as possible, everything "above the fold" then they pick from a menu of what the are really there to see. I think it's like the fashion industry, and they keep changing styles just to make more money.

I might add that the toothbrush industry does the same. It's a toothbrush, but they keep trying to make you think you need their new, improved toothbrush.
 

Generic

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I'm looking for B&B website that you really love. I'm a bit different in that I'm urban while many are rural, so I'm not going to be listing things like restaurants to go to and the such.
 

JimBoone

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And just a few years ago the advice was to make the front page as simple as possible, everything "above the fold" then they pick from a menu of what the are really there to see. I think it's like the fashion industry, and they keep changing styles just to make more money.
I might add that the toothbrush industry does the same. It's a toothbrush, but they keep trying to make you think you need their new, improved toothbrush.
Arks sums up my thoughts. I like my old toothbrush, change not so much, I'm probably not the one for Generic to check out. Four or five years ago Empty Nest guided me in setting up a new WordPress site, but LOOKS, it still looks pretty much like the first one I did in Frontpage back in the dark ages.

I suppose I'm the odd duck. I go to a website for information not entertainment. Where is the location, What do you have, How much will it cost. Too much else is distracting.
 

InnDeep

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Following this discussion closely as well. Our website needs updates also and the folks who managed it for the previous owners are pushing a rewrite to me hard. Another project on this winter’s agenda! Before I invest there, I’d also like to get a sense of where I want to go with it. I have a background in web design, but no clue how it applies to the B&B industry (I’m a government retiree). Also, the “fashion” change Arks is referring to may have shifted as a result of folks moving to the use of mobile tech - iPhones and the like don’t do as well with multiple menus - makes for clunky navigation. Longer scrolls work better I think but idk 🤷‍♀️ As far as attention span, I was told years ago in usability training, that one has 23 seconds to “grab” the attention of the average visitor to a web site. I believe it.
 

KenW

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My thought is that " simple is better" sure we could have a site that twists,turns and fades inside out but is that really what your guest surfing a place to stay really wants. You don't have but a few seconds to capture their attention. So having great photos is the key with a a few short lines of text to draw them in. We use little hotellier for our channel manager, management software and website. The website options are very basic but it works well for us. I have another business that I am in the process of changing the website and also as basic as possible and keeping it appealing. Dont make your potential guest waste time waiting for a something...give them as much info as you can as quickly as you can. These people have already read your reviews on the booking engines. I might also add that we manage two other properties that we have built basic websites for through Wix and Go Daddy and also each has a Facebook and Google Business page. It all helps with direct bookings which should be the altimate goal.
 
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CoffeeTreks

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In any case, I want to look at it from a new perspective and cut down on the menus and make a more robust front page. And I was wondering about who else has seen a GREAT B&B website and/or had any ideas on a new organizational method for the front page.


The menus were: rooms, photos, promotions, attractions, contact, about, kids, polices and a booking button.

What do you have? Have any new ideas? I want the website clean, because people have no attention span anymore.
When I was looking to redo my site, I took a look at recently produced sites from Whitestone, Acorn and Insideout Solutions. I loved sites from each of them and got ideas I am one of the rural inns. You might want to consider highlighting breakfast (if you provide it)...and although I know you mentioned not doing it, if I were to go to an urban area, I would want to know about dinner delivery. Its something I would look forward to and be relieved there was an option where I didn't have to deal with parking and a city I"m unfamiliar with.
 

Generic

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When I was looking to redo my site, I took a look at recently produced sites from Whitestone, Acorn and Insideout Solutions. I loved sites from each of them and got ideas I am one of the rural inns. You might want to consider highlighting breakfast (if you provide it)...and although I know you mentioned not doing it, if I were to go to an urban area, I would want to know about dinner delivery. Its something I would look forward to and be relieved there was an option where I didn't have to deal with parking and a city I"m unfamiliar with.
I'll take a look at those.

I have an entire page dedicated to parking, because some people are stubborn about not paying for parking, others don't want to bother and I have parking only for a third of the rooms. It's the inner city, a parking spot can sell for $50K to $100K now, depending on location and amenities. My regulars book my garage without even worrying about it.

But, I have about 100 restaurants in easy walking distance. And at the moment, almost everyone delivers... because there is no eating in a restaurant. But then, it's a RED zone, so there aren't any visitors either.
 

Morticia

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Following this discussion closely as well. Our website needs updates also and the folks who managed it for the previous owners are pushing a rewrite to me hard. Another project on this winter’s agenda! Before I invest there, I’d also like to get a sense of where I want to go with it. I have a background in web design, but no clue how it applies to the B&B industry (I’m a government retiree). Also, the “fashion” change Arks is referring to may have shifted as a result of folks moving to the use of mobile tech - iPhones and the like don’t do as well with multiple menus - makes for clunky navigation. Longer scrolls work better I think but idk 🤷‍♀️ As far as attention span, I was told years ago in usability training, that one has 23 seconds to “grab” the attention of the average visitor to a web site. I believe it.
That 23 seconds is down to 5. When I first startedscrolling was a no-no. Now people are used to scrolling. Google keeps telling me my links are too close together because of the smaller real estate on a phone. I have over 100 pages on my site so I needed menus to find everything. But, big menus are out.

Google is doing its best to insure no one ever goes to your site but gathers all the info they need directly from Google. Thus the charts that show your pricing and availability. The box on the right side of the screen that shows your address, phone, and hours. All designed to keep the looker on the Google results page and not your website.

Sorry, Generic, we’re highjacking your thread.
 

liz1001

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Full disclosure, I own Maia Internet Consulting and have helped a number clients build their own websites in a consulting capacity on an hourly basis. I just wanted to mention a couple of thoughts as you go through the process.
  • Use sticky notes on the wall of your office to layout the pages you need so you can move them around and think about what you want on the site visually.
  • A local restaurants page always does well but usually after a guest has decided to stay/come to the area. The top three pages are always Home, Rooms, and Specials.
  • The Astra theme Astra – Fast, Lightweight & Customizable Free WordPress Theme - Download Now! is a great one to use, it is fast, and the code is clean. It is also set up for Elementor and you can make it look a 100 different ways with all the various settings.
  • Purchase Elementor Pro as it does have some extra features you will probably want to use and is worth the extra money.
  • Be careful when adding Yoast as a plugin for SEO as it will slow the site down. Try https://wpslimseo.com/ instead. Yoast has become very bloated over the years and slows the site down.
  • Test your site speed on GTmetrix | Website Speed and Performance Optimization as you build and see if any of the plugins you are using might cause it to slow down.
  • Think about your mobile visitor first, about 65% of the traffic I see to a site now for the industry is mobile. Elementor will allow you to create a section that only shows on mobile or on Desktop, just like in Bakery Builder so you can make content specific to the user.
  • Make sure you have a Privacy Policy page and a page about ADA accessibility at the property (even if you don't have an ada room/s), missing them could result in a fine.
  • Adding a booking widget helps bring more conversions.
  • A great tool for editing photos down to size is Photo editor online - Pixlr.com - has a lot of the Photoshop features but is free.
  • Run images through TinyJPG – Compress JPEG images intelligently to help optimize them for speed.
If you have any other questions, just let me know. Happy to offer any consulting as well as you go through the process.

Liz
 

Generic

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I just spent most of the day with a theme builder. UGH! They use a plugin for the gallery... it's one of the worst plugins that I have seen Envira... The lightbox doesn't work. When I tried to link to a google map link (for the 3d Sphere Photo), it won't link properly. A whole DAY and I'm willing to toss in this whole template.

I figured that I would try to replicate my current page in the new system and see where it goes. I did okay... until it came to the gallery. Now, I'm willing to throw in the towel.
 

Arks

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  • A local restaurants page always does well
Lately that is the biggest headache in my life. Nearby restaurants keep closing or changing to take-out only or... it's something to change/maintain every single day. What an awful year! "Normal" does not exist anymore.
 

Generic

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Lately that is the biggest headache in my life. Nearby restaurants keep closing or changing to take-out only or... it's something to change/maintain every single day. What an awful year! "Normal" does not exist anymore.
No sit down service at all. It's been a while. When we have had guests, we always set up dishes so they can eat their meal at the dining room table.
 

FHI2426

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It's hard to comment on anyone's site without seeing it. The suggestions from the pro above are good. Restaurants we are in small urban area Annapolis and we wrote a blog on restaurants that gets a ton of hits and so does our happy hour page. We used a small but very professional and well known company Acorn Internet Services to publish our site, they have a low cost, fill in the template ... I can provide contacts if needed. Our page- flaghouseinn.com
 

Morticia

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Lately that is the biggest headache in my life. Nearby restaurants keep closing or changing to take-out only or... it's something to change/maintain every single day. What an awful year! "Normal" does not exist anymore.
My restaurant page is the most visited page on my site. The only info I give is how close it is to the inn, the street, the phone number, what cuisine it is. I do mention if it’s seasonal, but no hours. I update it a couple of times/year. Ditto the page with all the stores. Update a couple times a year with a disclaimer that stores come and go. (It’s time to update them again. But I’m not listing who decided to close for the winter.)
 

CoffeeTreks

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It's hard to comment on anyone's site without seeing it. The suggestions from the pro above are good. Restaurants we are in small urban area Annapolis and we wrote a blog on restaurants that gets a ton of hits and so does our happy hour page. We used a small but very professional and well known company Acorn Internet Services to publish our site, they have a low cost, fill in the template ... I can provide contacts if needed. Our page- flaghouseinn.com
Looks Great!
 

Generic

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Well, I posted in the support forum and they not only answered, they actually set up a page for me with examples of how it's done. Definitely NOT as easy as my previous system, but simple enough that I can follow most of the information. It's quite a learning curve.

I wonder if I should suggest that they actually put in an example of a step-by-step like the one they did for me.
 

JimBoone

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Well, I posted in the support forum and they not only answered, they actually set up a page for me with examples of how it's done.
I wonder if I should suggest that they actually put in an example of a step-by-step like the one they did for me.
Likely helpful to anyone using their theme, I often need to be walked through the first time to best understand.
 
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