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 

Website Review

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



Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Limousin France

PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 4:06 pm    Post subject: Website Review Reply with quote

I'd much appreciate some opinions on my site. This is the first time I have ever written a web-site and have little experience of computers! It's also the first time I have ventured into property rentals.

The site address is www.limousingites.net

I intend to add photos of the interiors as soon as renovations are finished but we are mid-decoration!

Good and Bad comments welcomed
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3952
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Kent,

I think my best advice would be to find a site you really like the design of, and copy it. Insert your text and photos but go with the same layout and colours as a site that really makes you feel happy to be on. If I were designing my site now I would emulate something like these ones which have also been reviewed here:
http://www.experienceburgundy.com/view.php?page=index
http://www.corsicanholidays.com/Corsican_Holid/index.html

The main negative for me on your site is that the pictures are either too big, too small, absent or not very attractively shot.

On a page like 'Accommodation' you really need to show pics and presumably you will do when you have them - they shouldn't be put in the photo gallery on a separate page. Same with the Places of Interest page.

I don't like thumbnails (as I keep saying!) - you have to do too much clicking to see them and they are too small to entice you to click them. The full size pics that spring from your thumbnails are far too big - well over 200kb. This will take half a lifetime to download on a dial-up modem.

The light on your external pics is grey and flat, and I can get that at home. What I need to see is sun and lots of it, because that's why people go on holiday. Taken straight on and in that light, your house is not at its best. Try a gentler angle and the golden light of early morning or late afternoon for maximum effectiveness.

All pics need captions, because not everybody knows about hovering the cursor.

I wrote about taking good pics of your property here:
http://www.laymyhat.com/newsletters/newsletter1.htm

Being realistic, your house's external looks are not what will bring you bookings. It's more about location and amenities. So I would show two or more of your local area pretty pictures on the homepage. Sell the Limousin as well as your gites.

And how about going for a plain white background? Go on, you know it makes sense! Very Happy
_________________
Paolo
Lay My Hat
http://www.laymyhat.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
musicmonkey



Joined: 15 Oct 2004
Posts: 87
Location: Manche

PostPosted: Sat Dec 11, 2004 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kent,

I have to admit that I didn't spend a lot of time looking at your site, but do you actually mention anywhere how many people you accommodate and how many bedrooms? This would be of very relevant use to potential renters.

Our own website is in dire need of upgrading, but not being the 'techie', I am waiting for hubby to find time to read all the hints and advice here in the hope he can use it to re-do our site.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Paul Carmel



Joined: 07 Dec 2004
Posts: 3854
Location: Palma Mallorca & Greece

PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2004 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Paolo for recommending our layout.

For anyone interested the software we use is by a company called webstudio, it is by no means perfect but for first timers like us it did the trick and is not hard to use - follow this link http://www.webstudio.com/ and you can download a free trial. Also there is a forum which if you have any questions is pretty active ....I take Tony's point, Dreamweaver is far superior and the result is far better, but webstudio does not require a winter to get to grips with!! All in all it's a good intro to this world.
_________________
Cheers
PC
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kent



Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Limousin France

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 1:05 pm    Post subject: Comments taken Reply with quote

Ok I've taken your comments and criticisms on board and will overhaul the site. Can anyone give some advice on reducing the file size on my photos. I have a Samsung camera and have tried taking photos on the lowest quality setting. The only software I have to manipulate photos is an old version of Corel Photohouse. What do you recommend, what are the best ways to reduce the file size, do I need new software? All help much appreciated as I am a complete novice at all of this
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Sue Dyer



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 2581
Location: Belford, Northumberland

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still take photos on the high quality even if they are for the web, I don't know if this is necessary but if I ever want to print it out then the quality is there.

Is there not a "resize" command, maybe under the Edit pull down? Firstly I reduce the dimensions of the photo, if I posted a one here without reducing it would be wider than the screen, I usually go to about 400 pixels wide but constrain the proportions so it doesn't skew. This would reduce the image a lot before compressing it.

If you are thinking of new software Adobe Photoshop Elements is a LOT easier to handle than Photoshop (but still has advanced commands like filters/layers) and has an easy facility for saving for the web. I think it is about £50 but check out on ebay to see if anyone (reputable) is selling it off. I'm sure you'll find some freeware.shareware if you look on the net, somewhere like www.cnet.com for downloads. Good luck!!

Or - if you wanted to email me any photos I'd gladly resize/save for the web for you and email back! Smile

Here's another useful Sue I.T tip - If I'm sending large music or photo files to a friend which are probably too big to email I upload to my website but a part which isn't navigatiable (is that a word?) from the main site. I just give my friend the URL and he downloads from there! As long as your webspace isn't limited it means you can use your website as a virtual hard drive..!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
paolo



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 3952
Location: Provence, France

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
navigatiable (is that a word?)

Sue, I think you just invented a new internet buzzword! Very Happy
_________________
Paolo
Lay My Hat
http://www.laymyhat.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kent



Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 3
Location: Limousin France

PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject: New word Reply with quote

Should that be navigable? Laughing

Many thanks for the tips and the offer of help - it is much appreciated. Must admit I was feeling a bit battered after the comments on my efforts so its nice to have something positive. Thanks again
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Sue Dyer



Joined: 19 Sep 2004
Posts: 2581
Location: Belford, Northumberland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2005 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kent - the offer is still on the table, just email me but I have found this on the net: http://www.irfanview.com/ It's freeware for non commerical use but just $10 if you want to register it for commerial use. I can't recommend it as I've not used it but it gets a good rating on tucows.

I came across it on the FAQ on the www.imageshack.com site. (That's where I host my pics for this board, they have gone missing from my UK Weather thread, I think the server must be down)

Again, if you want any advice on the photos just shout!!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vrooje



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

PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paolo, thank you for recommending my site! I'm flattered that you feel that it can be used as a template for other sites.

Kent, I love that your site is easily navigable with well-defined links. Your home page is simple also and not too crowded. The simple image that you are using as a background is surprisingly un-distracting to me; usually I find the use of any background image a detriment, but here it's not bad at all. I do have some recommendations:

Put your contact info on every single page of your site. It should never be difficult for potential clients to get in touch with you! To reduce e-mail spam from having your e-mail on a website, you might also consider using a javascript code that you could insert instead of a mailto link, something like:

Code:

<script language=javascript>
  <!--
 
  var mailgite = "kate.mccourt"
  var mailHostgite = "tiscali.co.uk"
  document.write("<A HREF=" + "mail" + "to:" + mailgite + "@" + mailHostgite + ">" + mailgite + "@" + mailHostgite + "</A>")
  //-->
</script>


What this does is make it very difficult for e-mail harvesting programs to automatically put your e-mail on spam lists, but it's still very easy for people to e-mail you.

For the photo gallery, I agree with Paolo: bigger thumbnails, with captions. I do think it's perfectly okay to link to a larger image, but you should try to get your images down to absolutely no bigger than 50K (and that's still pretty big). Re-sizing should be reasonably intuitive using any graphics program, and the absolute largest your images should be is 800x600 pixels. You can also try turning up the compression level when you save the jpg image -- this makes the image file smaller in size and sacrifices a little quality; but you can often compress quite a lot without noticing it in the image quality.

You need to add some interior pictures of the house. When these weren't on the accomodations page, I thought they'd be in the photo gallery; not having them makes a potential client wonder why -- is it because you aren't willing to post them or have something to hide? I personally don't think I would ever rent a gite if I didn't see any interior pictures.

I love that you describe the Limousin region as unspoilt and undiscovered. Those are very enticing adjectives! I would like to know about Limousin in the general context; where in France is it? How far is it from Paris? Consider adding a short paragraph placing Limousin in the context of greater France. I know it's in the "Getting There" page content, but I'd add it in the regional page too.

Overall, a refreshingly clean site!

Cheers,
-Vrooje
http://www.experienceburgundy.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
eamonn



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 13
Location: donegal, ireland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kent
One of the most simplisticly beautiful sites I've visited, very sharp, clean,and to the point. A great use of both text and photo. One simply wants to navigate. Did you built it yourself?
Excelent work.
best of luck
eamonn.
_________________
i,ve been everywhere man!
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Linda Freese



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Posts: 175
Location: Costa del Sol

PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kent

Just a couple of comments:

1. I think you need photos of the interior of the property - unless I missed them as I only had a very quick look at the site.

2. I think its a BIG mistake to put "negotiable" in your rates information. I think it will leave you open to insulting offers from time wasters and bargain hunters!

Good luck

Linda Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
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