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Bed & Breakfast / Short Term Rental Host Forum

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liz1001

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@Arks - correct, very difficult right now to keep an updated Restaurant page with all the problems but it is also a good page to drive traffic especially now as guests have no idea who is open and who is closed. BTW - I worked for another small well known company for 6 years, I was the design director at White Stone ;) so I have a little experience.
 

VegMapper

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I came into this discussion fairly late but a few thoughts came to my mind. For disclosure, I own a Bed & Breakfast, but I also have a web design firm called Silphium Design LLC (www.silphiumdesign.com). Some of the thoughts include:
  1. ADA Compliance for the property and for the website.: Liz stated about having an accessibility statement about the property, but the website itself also has to ADA compliant to at least the WCAG 2.0 AA standard, but generally now it needs to be WCAG 2.1 AA compliant. I have heard in some forums that by the middle of 2021, sites will be aiming for WCAG 2.2 AA compliance. In fact, the new WordPress 5.6 that came out about three days ago has accessibility as one of the hallmarks. What does the above mean?
  • Your color contrast (text to background) should be at least 4.5:1, and if possible, 7:1 (for the new standards).
  • Your website should have proper heading levels. That is, if you have an H1 heading at the top, then you should have an H2 heading below it and so on. You also do not want to skip headings (go from H1 to H3 or H2 to H4 and so on). The heading sequence should be in logical order so your site can be tabbed through and be used by screen readers.
  • I noticed that you stated your current site had a slider. Generally for ADA accessibility, sliders are a no-no. Sliders cannot be easily read by screen readers and cannot be tabbed. In some cases, they can become a tab trap. You also do not want anything that starts automatically, such as sliders, videos, pop-ups, or sound. You need to give the user the option to turn these features on or off. You also do not want to have any flashing pictures or lights as this can trigger migraines or anxiety in some users.

  • Some websites use accessibility overlays (those things with the wheelchair or person in a circle) such as WP Accessibility or Userway. While these overlays look good to those of us who do not have a disability, they can often make it harder for those with disabilities if they are even able to access them. The point is to make your site accessible to the WCAG standards without the use of an “overlay.”

  • Some tools that can be used to achieve the above include 1) Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool-- A Chrome Extension, 2) Web Aim Color Contrast Checker-- Checks colors, 3) ADA Website Checklist—A document put out by Kris Rivenburgh, an attorney on Website Accessibility. Kris also gives webinars on the newest guidelines based on case law. There are a lot of others also, just search under web accessibility tools. The gold standard is to use a screen reader simulator and there are some simulators that are open-source.

2. A few others mentioned that you need a privacy policy, which is needed for the FTC, CCPA, and GDPR. Arks and JimBoone talked about the continual need to update websites, well this is one of those things. The privacy policy guideline has come about in the last few years.

3. About Page as a menu item: This is a new trend coming from the 5-second rule stated by Morticia. A number of the leading designers are now stating that it is good form to have your about text on the landing page and not as a separate page. Preferably, if you can, above the fold or near the fold.

4. Like #3, most leading websites are trending towards having a CTA (Call-to-Action) above the fold. In our cases with B&B’s it would something like “Book-A-Room” or “Reserve your Stay” or similar.

5. The use of a Parallax header or a Hero (a header with a pictorial type background) has sort of a split following in the web community. I think some of the indecision comes from being able to meet the color contrast requirements (text vs. the background) in WCAG. It can be done, however, and one way is to add a color overlay on the picture or adjusting the picture transparency. For example, the Kadence Theme is big on the use of color overlays to achieve the needed color contrast.
 

Arks

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It seems a bit strange that all the accessibility rules, color and contrast rules, privacy policy posting, etc. only apply to websites and not also to magazine ads, brochures, TV programming, etc.
Why are disabled people only helped on websites?
 

dumitru

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As a WordPress theme developer I have always wondered why so many users gravitate towards multipurpose themes (like Avada, Astra, Divi, etc.). These themes are often bloated, rely on a bunch of plugins and come with (often unnecessary) updates every other day/week.

Considering that most hotel and B&B websites are updated once or twice a year, having weekly updates pushed on you (for the theme and for plugins) is just draining your attention and desensitizes the importance of these updates.
How often do you go through theme and plugin changelogs?
How often do you check your website after every update?

Purpose built themes are more secure and give more power to you in the long run...

But hey, I'm biased towards my own products, so obviously I think that's the best way to go for non-techies...

@Generic, If you would like to try something different, let me know, I'll be glad to help :)
 

Arks

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As a WordPress theme developer I have always wondered why so many users gravitate towards multipurpose themes (like Avada, Astra, Divi, etc.). These themes are often bloated, rely on a bunch of plugins and come with (often unnecessary) updates every other day/week.
Sounds like good advice. Are your themes priced similarly to one like En fold by Krie si on Theme Forest? Or, being more specialized, are they a lot higher than a generic theme designed for "the masses"?
 

dumitru

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The price is a bit higher, but you also get a different kind of support.
But in the past few years I have offered my products for free to the wonderful users on this forum, though for some reason no one took my offer...
Such is life :)
 

Arks

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But in the past few years I have offered my products for free to the wonderful users on this forum, though for some reason no one took my offer...
Such is life :)
We need to do something about that! I have sent you a private message.
 

flyingace71

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I'm not a fan of Wordpress sites, too many updates, hacks and problems for my taste. I ran a design company before becoming an innkeeper and used another "construct" for my clients that I continue to use for our property now. Get a membership to Without Code, build your site, host it and your email all with one company. Super easy to create (either from scratch or templates) and you can even have CMS log ins for other team members to update it. I love it. JMHO.
 

dumitru

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Without Code have a comparison page "WordPress vs Without Code", and so many points are false and misleading. Now why do they have to do that? :(
This service is nothing new. If you prefer closed systems then Squarespace and Wix are also good options.
But if you want to retain full control of your website and you need a CMS for it, then WordPress's popularity is hard to beat.
Sure it has many flaws, though "hacks" is not one of them. That's like saying that a Ford car is prone to accidents.
Maybe there are many Ford accidents because there are many Ford cars on the streets? So it's normal that a % of them will involve Ford in some capacity?
 

VegMapper

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I currently have a B&B and a web design company and we use WordPress exclusively. In WordPress's favor, it is the many updates that give it the security that it has. It is up to the user to keep current on not only the updates to the WordPress core (currently 5.6) but also any installed plugins. As far as the hacks and problems, I have used WordPress for about 10 years now and have never had my site hacked or broken into. A security plugin such as Wordfence helps in this regard. In addition, WordPress has numerous plugins that can add nearly infinite functionality to your site, which would take a long time to code.
 

Eugee

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I use WP Cerber for security and Updraft for WP backups and I update my site every 2 months. It’s been 2 years with WP and I am pleased with it. I also used Elementor for design but once you’re design is done, it’s just regular updates.
I’d recommend WP but depends on your level of tech. I have a ‘stale’ tech background and figured things out but it took time..
 
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The price is a bit higher, but you also get a different kind of support.
But in the past few years I have offered my products for free to the wonderful users on this forum, though for some reason no one took my offer...
Such is life :)
Hi Dumitru, I have tried to contact you to get help with my website. Iam not sure if you are getting my messages. Can you please get in touch with me. Thanks. Maria LeGall
 

dumitru

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Hi Dumitru, I have tried to contact you to get help with my website. Iam not sure if you are getting my messages. Can you please get in touch with me. Thanks. Maria LeGall
I do not recall receiving any messages anywhere associated with this name or property name.
Where exactly have you tried to get in touch with me?

@gillumhouse: I'm back and ready to rumble :)
 
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