Bed and Breakfast Hosts are brilliant at hosting and making people feel welcome and comfortable, but not so good at websites, online marketing and social media
Here are some do’s and don’t's that might be helpful for you, if you're in the process of doing your annual review before the season starts, or if you're in the process of constructing your website for your new business
First, let me explain what a website is and is not
Your website is your home online, so treat it as such and imagine it as a visual representation of your home in cyberspace
It is not something that you put up and leave it and never return to it.
You would never do that with your real property, so don't do that with your virtual property online
- Don’t clutter up your “entrance hall” (aka) your home page, with pop ups, discounts, awards or anything that distracts your visitors from looking further and getting the information they need
- Do have a clear and simple pathway for visitors to take to get involved in your website and stay longer – the longer they stay on it, the more chances you have to build trust so they feel safe booking with you
- Do have an online reservations system, even if you prefer to speak to people before the arrive.. Guests want the flexibility of booking whenever they’re ready, not when you’re there to answer the phone. You can follow up their booking with a call later if you wish. There are dozens to choose from – shop around if you’re new to get one that works for your business
- Don’t have your website tied into or built by your online reservations system – they’re not usually very functional and it’s often difficult to make changes – online reservations systems don’t know much about marketing either
- Don’t talk about yourself and your awards or your discounts!
- Do talk about who you welcome and the experience they’ll have when they stay with you. Put them front and centre, not yourself. Have a clear “statement” that makes people go OOOOOOOOO This is for ME!
- Don’t leave your website to languish in the internet graveyard.
- Do bring it to life with regular blog posts – this is great for being seen by Google and pushing you further up the search engines, especially when you write articles about what’s going on in your area. This can give you a huge advantage over the online travel agents as well, without paying for advertising. Your blog effectively becomes your own advertising platform (for free) when you write it around some good searched-for keywords
- Don’t be beholden to your website developer or hosting company for simple changes like adding blog posts, new pages and images
- Do make sure you can log in yourself and make those changes. Otherwise your creativity will be stifled by the prospect of paying for changes and waiting for them to be done. You need to be in charge of your home online, just as you are in charge of your home offline
- Unless you’re a professional web designer yourself, don’t build your website yourself and especially don’t ask a friend or family member to build it for you either
- Do get a professional to build your website for you. There are many hidden compliance's that need to be taken into account with Google.
- Last tip –
- Do use video as much as you can! Video will set you apart from everyone else in your neighbourhood, adds personality to your online presence and pushes you even further up the search engines, because Google owns YouTube – double whammy!
Let me know in the comments if you have questions and I’ll come back and answer them for you. And let me know also if this has been helpful to you
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