Maintaining a good website is rather like keeping a body healthy, you need to care for each part individually to produce a healthy whole. So with that in mind here is our guide to an anatomically healthy website:
The Mouth – Are you Eating the Right Advice?
Just like you are what you eat, your website is what you put in to it. So the question needs to be asked, are you taking the right advice? Accommodation is a specialist area of websites, just like online shops, you’re not designed for more information, you’re designed for bookings. The two main food groups your website should be taking together are solid website advice AND solid holiday market advice. Without both of these meals your website could end up bloated and unprofitable and you’ll find yourself buying supplements from every grocer, butcher and baker that walks past your door.
The Brain – What are you Doing?
It might seem like an obvious question but it’s one that needs an obvious answer. Your customers need to be in no doubt what you’re doing from the moment they click on to your home page. The brain is the control centre of the body and your purpose needs to be the control centre of your website – it should affect how the blood flows to the organs (or the other pages). Every part of your website should be working for you and for that to happen you need to have a clear purpose in mind.
The Skin – How do you Look?
Fun fact: your skin is the largest organ you possess. The skin of your website is how it looks and since it’s the first thing customers will notice it needs to be presentable. Think of your home page like dressing for a job interview, you want to look smart and attractive but not too flashy. Just like a trendy hair cut nothing dates faster than a flashy website and you’ll be looking back in a year wondering what you were thinking. You can grow out a bad hair cut but it can cost you a lot of money to set your website right. Think simple and classic – a style that never dates.
Bones – How’s your Structure?
The thigh bone may be connected to the knee bone but how is the home page connected to the rooms page? If people cannot navigate your website they will not book. Simple navigation is key, a nice bar at the top of your screen that stays the same at all times. Again consistency is important, when you click into a page and the navigation completely changes, would you bother trying to get back where you were? The navigation panel showing all your pages should be seen at all times, think of it as the head and shoulders of your body, if you chop it off you’re in for trouble.
Heart – What Makes you Skip a Beat?
What’s in your heart? I’m talking about the metaphorical love organ not the pump. What makes your accommodation different from your neighbour’s? ‘I don’t know’ isn’t the right answer. Your Unique Selling Point needs to be as obvious as your purpose, you don’t have to repeat it a dozen times it could be as simple as well chosen pictures and a tag line: ‘The heart – just a pulmonary artery away from the lungs’. Whether your hotel has a pool, a circus or are right next to the end of a rainbow – your customers want to know.
Lungs – Are you Breathing Air or Smog?
As we need air to breathe, your websites need relevant information to get bookings. Although I’m sure you love your cat, the majority of customers will not want to read about him on your website. Personal touches can be great but they should be not be in place of basic information. Your customers want to know: where you are, what your rooms are like, the area etc, if they’re cat lovers too that’s just a bonus for you and Felix.
Nothing slows a website down like bad grammar, it’s like talking through a coughing fit. Your holiday website doesn’t need to be a literary masterpiece but it is still a published piece of work and should be treated so. If you want to be informal that’s great, but remember there is a big difference between the written and spoken word. Always read it back and then get someone else to read it too, there are never too many eyes when it comes to proof reading.
Arms & Legs – Are you Reaching the Right Places and Standing Up on your Own?
If your accommodation website stretched out it’s metaphorical arms what would it be touching? It needs to be reaching social media, Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest … the bigger your profile, the more people that know you’re there and the more prospective customers for you. You need to be posting regularly on these sites – and just like your text – the posts need to be relevant.
Your standing in search engines is a constant headache and the most effective form of pain relief is in the back end of your website. Is your relevant accommodation copy written to please the search engine overlords? How high is the competition on your key words? Who is updating and maintaining this for you? You need to know all these things for your website to be effective, otherwise it will be lost in the search engine bog.
Reproductive Organs – What are you Producing?
Your accommodation website is designed for one purpose – to get bookings! If you’ve treated the rest of your body kindly, all of your hard labour comes together in the form of booking. (Far less messy than a baby). Don’t be shy, showcase what you want! The more suitors you have the better. Where are your calls to action? Can you book in a click? Give your customers no choice but to throw their money at you then and there.
If you can do this there’s no reason your website won’t live a long happy life along with your business. And what’s better, we could do all this for you without you having to sell a kidney. Sound good? Send us an email.