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It's a big decision to create a new website for your holiday lets. But it's a necessity to receive commission-free direct bookings and reduce reliance on channels.
So we asked Lyle Markle, Art Director of Bookster for his tips to create a holiday rental website.
He told us:
"Websites are all about content.
The most effective websites have content that users want, can easily access and trust.
Content is also important for search engines like Google that use it to decide which websites will show up on the first page of search results.
All too often in custom website design projects, we are presented with a completed or semi-completed design - which we then create content for.
The natural inclination is to ‘fill gaps’ in the design with content.
This makes the content feel disjointed, the user experience disjointed and increases the likelihood that users will bounce away from the website.
With that in mind - it’s worth considering or even creating your website content before the design phase begins.
If you don’t consider yourself much of an author and the task of creating all that content feels daunting - try a collaborative approach if you can.
It can be challenging at first - but it gets better once you’ve got a bit of momentum. This process will lead to a better end product and your designer will love you for it!
Your website is not carved out of stone.
Websites have become continual projects rather than a task that is completed after launch - and so they should be!
There are dozens of great tools to measure the performance of your website - and to test improvements on the fly.
There is always a temptation to start over rather than fix - fight the urge to overhaul. I’ve seen this too many times.
A website might not be perfect - but that doesn’t necessarily mean its broken either.
Try making iterative, measurable changes to your website - it will save you time and money in the long run.
It’s a marathon - not a sprint.
Closely linked with my other tips is thinking about search engine optimisation (called SEO by some).
There are many aspects which affect how well a website shows up in search engines like Google and Bing, and this can have an enormous effect on business revenue.
Some agencies see problems with a website and believe the best solution is to start again. I would strongly recommend against this.
The danger with scrapping one site for a new one is accidentally damaging all the SEO equity of the site. It can take years to build it back up!
Work with SEO experts, or take some time to research how to improve the SEO for your site.
There are lots of resources out there to help you and we can point you in the right direction.
We're on hand if you would like to discuss any aspect of web design, just get in touch."