IS your holiday home website getting the attention it deserves? If not it may be because it is suffering from some common mistakes, writes Bob Toovey.
For gite and holiday rental owners your website is your shop window and often is the only way a potential client can see what they are going to get.
But if your site is difficult to use, displays images incorrectly or has dead links on it, what will your potential client do? That’s right, head off somewhere else.
Here are some simple tips to make sure your holiday home website is the best it can be:
· Missing titles
When a page is bookmarked, the title of the bookmark is the title of the page being viewed. So when a visitor looks at their bookmarks, they will remember your site from the title, if it is not there visitors won’t know what it is. Another very good reason to get this right is that search engines will look at the title so make sure each page has a title and is relevant to the purpose of the page.
· Dead links
Make sure that every link on each page actually works. It is very frustrating when you visit a site only to find the page you want can't be accessed. There are many tools available that can check this out or just click on every one yourself. Also check that each link to an external site works.
· Bad pictures
Make sure your pictures are crisp and have something to look at. It's all very well having a long shot of the local forest etc. but it says nothing about the property or the facilities. I have one other gripe, most holiday rental sites have pictures but there is never anyone in them! Take pictures of people having fun, it says more than a page full of words. Ask your holiday visitors if you can photograph them, no need for close ups, but a good photo of everyone enjoying themselves will work wonders.
· Poor navigation
Make sure that each page on your site is found within one or two clicks. Make the menu the same for each page. Keep it consistent and easy to use. Also the menu should have links to the booking and contact pages.
· Open to spam
With so much spam going around you need to protect yourself so please do not put your email address on the site’s pages. Make sure you are using a contact form to keep your address hidden. Do not use a 'catch all' email address, make it specific so it's harder for the spammers to find you.
Following these five simple steps will ensure your website is well on the way to working effectively and also draws in a lot more visitors.
Bob Toovey runs the Computing in France website that offers advice for anyone struggling to cope with online life in France.
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