Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Create a New Page

Using the BnBwebsites bed and breakfast web design system, it's easy to create new web pages and add them to your Main Navigation Bar. Whether you're creating a page for the new addition to your bed and breakfast, adding information about local attractions around your vacation rental, or providing your customers with a photo gallery, this skill will be very useful to you as you add fresh material to your website. Here is a video tutorial that explains three important concepts:

  1. Adding new web pages to your website
  2. Publishing pages for public availability
  3. Page management 


Adding Pages and Publish from ONYX Websites on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Revisit to "Google Places"

Every commercial website contains contact information. For Bed and Breakfasts, our Contact Us pages inevitably have our physical address, and it is very helpful to include a map right on that page so potential customers don't need to leave our site in order to get a feel for where the B&B is located.

With that being said, we can spice up the map and make it even more useful to our customers by registering our business with Google Places. But more importantly, being registered with Google Places means that customers can look up directions to our Bed and Breakfast by simply searching by name, rather that having to type in the entire address. This convenience to customers makes it even easier for them to find favor with our B&B.

Here are some images that will demonstrate the difference in Google Maps when Google Places is and is not in use.

Fig. 1 Not registered with Google Places.

Fig. 2 Registered with Google Places.





You can see how being registered with Google Places can make the map more stimulating visually, and don't forget about the huge increase we gain in customer ease-of-use.

Our past article explains a little more about Google Places, and how you can register your B&B:

Google Places

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Revisit to "To Flash or not to Flash"

Accessibility, effective visual appeal, and efficiency are a few of the principles we implement into every website that we produce for our clients. With Flash elements, you can create eye-catching web pages that have a “wow” effect, complete with moving pictures and changing words that can draw a visitor deeper into your website. A good looking website does matter, and Flash can help trigger an emotional response in your potential customer that can result in higher online bookings.

BUT, there are several risks we take when incorporating Flash elements into a website. One of these is that users must have a plug-in with their internet browser in order to view the Flash element. If a visitor viewing your site doesn’t have this plug-in installed, they will not see your spectacular display, just a rather dull link to install Adobe Flash player. They may not have the patience to install the plug-in, and may choose to leave your website. It’s a bit ironic, but the same thing that draws some visitors deeper into your website may turn others away.

Another thing to remember is that search engines can't see 'into' Flash objects, therefore none of the content inside a Flash element contributes to your SEO efforts.

Take a look at this BnBwebsites article that explains more about what Flash is, how it can help and/or hurt your website traffic, and how to decide whether or not it's right for your site: To Flash or not to Flash

Friday, March 8, 2013

Recently went live: The East Wind Inn

We love the clean, simple, uncluttered design that compliments the charm of this Maine bed and breakfast.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Revisit to "Benefits of Blogging"

After having helped several of our clients set up blogs recently, we thought it would be helpful to remind everyone who hasn't been actively blogging about their B&B, that this is a habit worth picking up.

We have a great article about the benefits of blogging that can explain more about what a blog is, how to blog effectively, and how blogs can benefit all of our businesses: bnbwebsites.com/benefits-of-blogging.htm

Here are just a couple of the interesting points discussed in the article:

Search engines crawl and index blogs remarkably faster than websites.
Search engine “crawler bots” have a schedule for how often they crawl pages to index your site. Using webmaster tools for some of the bigger search engines, you can alert the crawlers how often to scour your page. Many blogging sites quickly and automatically “ping” search engines to let them know “Hey, you should crawl my blog constantly because it is updated frequently.” Blog posts can be indexed as quickly as 30 seconds from when you hit the publish button. Most stagnant websites don’t get crawled very often (it can be months between crawls). While you can tell search engines to crawl your website more frequently, if you’re not walking the talk by updating your website often like you should, search engines may deem your site unworthy of more frequent crawls.

Rich content gets around.
Good information tends to be passed on and on and on. When someone sees your blog and posts it on their website, blog, or social media page, this creates an inbound link to your blog. If your blog links to your website, this can drive traffic to your site (it is wise to create an outbound link from your blog to your website). This process can repeat over and over again. This helps in two ways: 1) Exposure leads to more exposure and 2) Having more page views on your blog as well as inbound links tells search engines you might be an authority in your particular industry. When you’re considered an authority, more people will link to you, generating you even more exposure. 

If you need help getting your blog started, we have step-by-step instructions that will have you blogging in no time: bnbwebsites.com/social-media.htm

Friday, January 18, 2013

New Mobile Websites available



Introducing Mobile Gen2!
We are ecstatic to announce Gen2 Mobile, a much more mobile-friendly version of websites we build! Gen2 mobile sites are formatted specifically for cell phones, making it faster and easier for users to get the information they need on the go. 

When a viewer accesses your website from a mobile device, they will be auto-redirected to a mobile-friendly version of your website.  The layout has been specifically designed with cell phones in mind. We’ve reduced the number of clicks to access the “Book Reservation” button to make it more convenient for viewers to make a reservation.  If you are on a tablet, you’ll be sent to the full site instead. When we create your mobile site, we use the same URL as your full website’s home page, which translates to a better bounce rate in your analytics data(see our analytics article to learn more about bounce rate). 

See For Yourself
See the awesomeness in action! From your mobile device, go to http://www.johnsonmill.com/  to check out how easy the new layout is to use.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pinterest for Business


With Pinterest rapidly growing in users (over 10 million worldwide), business owners beg to know, “How can I join this huge party and use my membership to further my business?” Some industries are better-suited than others to make the most of Pinterest. Lucky for you, the lodging industry is one that can fare well by utilizing this online marketing tool.

 What is Pinterest

Pinterest is a social media website where users “pin” photos of things they find interesting on the web. These pins are organized by category onto virtual “pinboards.” According to Pinterest, “People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” Viewers can browse other people’s boards and “repin” ideas they want to stock away for a future event.

 I have a board titled, “Recipes” where I pin pictures of recipes I want to try. When one clicks on the image of the pin, the visitor is directed to the website of origin for the photo (unless the photo was uploaded from the Pinterest user’s computer). This means it is a referral website because it refers you to the source of the photos.

What is the big deal?

An infographic published by Buzz Referrals (featured in this article) shows Pinterest is one of the top three referral sites on the internet (trailing behind Facebook and Twitter). As a business owner in the lodging industry, two things are relevant to this statistic: 1) Your product or service can easily be displayed visually and 2) Pinterest is becoming a huge social marketing tool--referrals from this site can increase your website traffic.

That same infographic states that the top 5 categories include:

·         Crafts
·         Gifts
·         Hobbies and leisure
·         Interior Design
·         Fashion Collections

How can you benefit from Pinterest?

Inspiration: Thinking about updating the look of a room or the exterior of your property. Gain ideas from your friends or follow your favorite designers to get tips on decorating and landscaping.  Bed and Breakfast owners will profit from the vast number of recipes they can find on Pinterest. With the holiday season rapidly approaching, this is a great place to find holiday decorating and recipe ideas.

Promotion: The number of ways you can promote your business on Pinterest depends largely on the complexity of your inn. As a lodging owner, you’ll want to browse the various categories on the site to see what you could fall under. A few obvious ones include travel, weddings, food & drink, recipes, and design. Think of ways you can convey your business through photos. A good place to start is to set up a corresponding board to each page on your website (Rooms, Food, Weddings, etc).

Recipe photos may be pinned and repined. If a user is interested in getting the actual recipe, the photo, when clicked, will refer them directly to your website.

Post photos of your property to serve as an inspiration to others. Design is a very popular category on Pinterest. Others may love your design and want to copy it. If you have a guest who loves a particular room design at your property, let them know you’ve got photos of each room on Pinterest for them to repin for future use. Same goes for your recipes.

With travel being a large category on Pinterest, others might pint photos of your property as places they’ve visited or want to visit in the future. I have a board titled, “Travel.” I post photos of places I want to visit. One of my pins is of  treehouse accommodations. Friends of mine might repin this photo. Their friends who like it will also pin the photo.

Wedding planning is absolutely huge on Pinterest. What a great opportunity for you! Upload photos of weddings you’ve helped plan or host on your property. Display photos of the grounds or decorations. If you provided a wedding cake, snap a photo of that for future pinning. Not only do people get ideas for what they want for their wedding and reception, they may also like your property enough to want to host their special occasion there.

General Principles

A good idea sells itself. If you have a recipe, photo or other idea that is top-notch, it will naturally spread. You never know where a pin will end up, who will see it, and what action it may prompt.  Someone may book a reservation at your property because they came across one of your pinned recipe photos.

Pinterest is visual. Attention-getting photographs are the key. Most people using Pinterest scan through several photo thumbnails at once and only the most eye-catching thumbnails get clicked. Since Pinterest is a website with photos that link to other websites, consider how you can visually represent aspects of your business. Descriptions are limited to 500 characters. If there is an idea you want to display on PInterest, a photo is required.

The idea is for people to be driven to pins you’ve posted, which will drive them to your website and for your pins to be pinned and repined over and over and over.  

For additional ideas on business Pinterest promotion, view this article written by our friends at Suite Exchange.