Lay My Hat home page Lay My Hat Forum
The forum for holiday rental owners

  FAQFAQ    SearchSearch    MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups    RegisterRegister  
  ProfileProfile    Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages    Log inLog in 

Please review our site

Post new topic   Reply to topic    Lay My Hat Forum Index ->
Website reviews
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message

Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Central France

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 12:48 pm    Post subject: Please review our site Reply with quote

Hi, just stumbled upon and already we have found it to be informative and of great benefit. I am particularly interested in getting some feedback on our site which is hosted and created using WSC. We have had many hits on the site and also had some good feedback from prospective clients, however it would be good to see from someone else's eyes !

Peter & Debbie
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 09 Dec 2004
Posts: 3263
Location: Burgundy, France

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Peter & Debbie:

Welcome to the forum!

Let's see, let me give my overall impressions first. I think it's a very sleek site that's generally put together very well and has a lot of information on it -- congratulations!

But, of course, constructive comments are requested... so here are my suggestions, in random order:

First, I'm concerned that your page is a bit too sleek. The color scheme, font choice, menu buttons, all seem a bit anonymous and don't give your site a personal touch. They're well done -- but they seem to me as though they were chosen from a pre-fabricated template, a "Website Wizard..." or something similar. Those look great most of the time, but also don't really have anything to do with the content they're putting forward. I think a first step toward making this more personal would be to customize the menu and title fonts a little, with a font that captures the attitude of your region/village/cottage while still remaining readable.

Here are the rest in list form:
    Page titles! Where are they? These go a long way toward helping your ranking in search engines, so you should certainly add them in.

    In the Flash intro, there's a line that says "Additional Text..." what is that? It seems like something that was never edited out.

    The Flash intro is more of what I was saying in the first comment paragraph. Is that Flash really necessary? The fact that you provide the ability to skip the introduction is very good. Some people don't have Flash at all and don't know how to install it, so it's a very good idea to keep your site from being reliant on it. But actually, I think you could skip it altogether and just take people straight to the homepage when they type in your URL.

    On home page: I think you should say in introductory paragraph that the cottage is a rental. You've said that it has 4 bedrooms - good! Internet users want instant gratification and you provide them a little by doing that. Now they want to know: how many bathrooms? and where is the house, starting with the specific town and working out to the country. Don't even assume people will know your rental is in France.

    Why do you mention a 4-star hotel on your home page? You can mention the other amenities there without mentioning other places clients can stay.

    Your image captions are a bit odd -- it took me a few tries to figure out that the italics in parentheses were it, because there's text between the captions and the pictures. Perhaps this is a standard that I'm just not used to, though.

    On the "Accomodation" page, the first sentence on the page repeats the phrase on the home page -- was that intentional? You could try re-wording it on one or the other. If I noticed, others will.

    I would like to click on the pictures to see a larger version... all across your pages.

    On my screen the "En suite bathroom" caption on the second Accomodations page actually shows up under the picture of the pool rather than next to the bathroom picture. It looks like you're telling us the bathroom is the pool... Just FYI.

    For the smaller cottage, why not show a floor plan and perhaps have regular updates on the progress -- e.g. show a room as it is finished, and treat it like an excited journal. "The luxury bath was put in today and it's beautiful! Here's a picture..." or something.

    On "The Area" and "Activities" -- I really wish the pictures were a little larger and all taken on a sunny day. They are quite well-optimized, though, so well done!

    On your map, it is not at all clear to me where Pouligny Notre Dame is at first. You might want to make this stand out a little more.

    I'm not 100% sure that I like the picture of... is that Peter?... with no shirt on. I can't quite put my finger on why. Maybe it's just that a shirtless person isn't necessarily in keeping with the style of your site. But that could just be a personal preference! Smile

I do want to stress, though, that your information is already available and fairly accessible on your site, and that's great! Your testimonials and your comments speak to the fact that you're already being noticed on the web. Excellent. I hope the above comments don't sound too harsh -- I just figure that I would want people to nitpick if I asked about my site, so that's what I'm doing.

Cheers, and welcome to the forums!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Central France

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Thanks for the quick response. Your comments are appreciated and certainly some which I hadn't thought about and some I had. Being able to enlarge the pictures is certainly a feature which is lacking, unfortunately the package we have doesn't offer that tool. I have considered making a new site using 'FrontPage' but certain areas of the package are confusing the hell out of me hence stick with what I know.

I will be looking more closely at your comments and certainly making a few changes.

Appreciate your comments

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Christine Kenyon

Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 625
Location: Glenridding, Ullswater Valley, Lake District, UK

PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2005 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Debbie and Peter - and congratulations on a lovely gite. From the testimonials page it sounds like you've also hit the right balance between playing "mein Host" and leaving guests to enjoy their holiday. Not always easy.

I liked your website, but feel that you are maybe missing some opportunities to really sell your holiday accommodation. I agree with what Brooke says above and would also add the following as my "six-penneth":

1. Your home page took a little while to load up and I was left looking at a blue header saying "Welcome to Central France". Could you maybe incorporate more photos in the header to give a feel for the property and the area? There is a quite a bit of debate elsewhere in the Forum about the use of 360 degree panoramas, etc.

2. You could also use the home page to be more explicit about what you are offering. Don't be scared - be upfront about it Very Happy .

3. Like Brooke, I was confused by the fact that the Rose Farm Cottage page was a replica of the home page. For me, I'm not sure that it worked that I had to go to the main menu to click on "Accommodation Continued". This may have worked better if it were at the bottom of the Rose Farm page - or even a continuation of it.

4. A floor plan would certainly help folk to understand the layout of your gite better. Once again, there's discussion elsewhere in the Forum about this, but the feeling seems to be that, with larger properties, you want people to visualise "bums in beds" before they get there!

5. Your text is well written, but could benefit from telling a "story". More "you's", "your family", etc and why they'll love your gite and really enjoy their holiday. Try it out on each other and tell each other why you love the place. Or if that's too embarrassing (!), write it down.

For my final six-penneth I hope the above helps. You've got a lovely gite and a potentially excellent website. Go for it!


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 09 Feb 2005
Posts: 13
Location: Central France

PostPosted: Sat Feb 12, 2005 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Christine

Many thanks for your comments. It really is enlightening to see things from others eyes. We have made changes to the site which we hope are an improvement, well we think they are. There are still issues with the speed of loading and not having the facility to enlarge photo's. I am still contemplating starting again with either Front Page or Fusion so who knows !

In the meantime thank you for your help and advice

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3958
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Very nice site, just a few queries for me:

- the pics are a bit small. With some of them I can't make out what I am looking at.

- captions should be under the pics, not at the end of the para appended to that picture.

- on the homepage there is a bit of a false start. Two headlines: 'Welcome to Central France' followed by 'Welcome to Pouligny Notre Dame'. Neither of which tells us what the site is about. With a picture of a church to look at there is no clue to what the site is about unless we read the text - but people make their snap decision about whether to get into reading a site based on just those first few seconds when they scan the headline and the visible pics. I think you are losing visitors to your site who may be interested in what you have to offer.
Lay My Hat
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website

Joined: 27 Sep 2004
Posts: 1952
Location: Vendee, France

PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


I just looked at your site which I thought was generally well put together and it looks like you have a good "product" to sell. I just had a couple of comments, I'm not a techie at all so my comments are more of the style and content type.

1) The blue background is very dark and sombre, something more reminisant of a sunny day would be nicer.

2) The accommodation continued button on Rose Farm Cottage is very awkward. Try and fit all the info onto one page, even if it means reducing down the text or the number of photos. Perhaps putting some of the photos onto a separate page (more photos or something like that).

3) I think in gereal you have included too many photos of the interior. I like interior photos when I'm renting somewhere (infact I rarely stay anywhere if I can't see a picture first) but each photo must prove its worth. I thought your property looked good until I saw the photo of the en-suite bathroom in bedroom one. This may be a nice bathroom but that doesn't come across in the photo. Why not take it out. Your property would look much better with just the best 4 or 5 photos.

Hope these comment help.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Lay My Hat Forum Index ->
Website reviews
All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group