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Gone blind now...
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:30 pm    Post subject: Gone blind now... Reply with quote

Well not literally, but you know what it's like when you stare at the same thing for hours and can't see blummin obvious?

That's the point I've got to with the first draft of the website for our new holiday let. If anyone has 20 minutes to have a look over it and tell me what's missing, what's spelt wrong and what's plain bonkers I'd be ever so, ever so grateful.

www.thegothickhouse.com (I know - Go thick! But them 18th century types had never heard of the internet Smile )

Thank you very much. Hx
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PW in Polemi



Joined: 21 Oct 2012
Posts: 1740
Location: A village in Paphos, Cyprus

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a lovely house and easy-to-use website.

Like your matter-of-fact way of warning parents about tree & stream hazards vis-a-vis children.

Puzzled by you sending enquirers to your agent, rather than dealing direct, unless it's a wedding party. Once they've found your web site, surely it's preferable that they book direct with you, or is this one of the terms of your contract with your agency?

Spotted a few typos...
FAQs 7 - "... likely to spoilt the ..." - you need to lose the "t" at the end of "spoil".
FAQs 8 - "... we will need to remedy the situation for the next guests..." - but not for those who have caused the accidental damage??? Shocked
The House, below the floor plans, in The Park section - you mention that small dogs can get into rabbit warrens "... and getting them out is terrible hard." Strictly speaking, it should be "terribly" - but I read it and "heard" a lovely friendly country accent so maybe you did this deliberately? Smile

Being an inquisitive type, I'd love more photos too - those you've got are enticing.

And if this really is your first draft - wow!!! I'm impressed. Laughing
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1516
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry I like the information and photos but the layout is not easy to use.

The menu is near the bottom of the screen as the large photo and site heading occupy almost all my screen. And when I click on an item in the menu, the page doesn't appear to change at all. It's only if I scroll down that I see that it has.
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a first attempt, that is not bad at all.

The first impression of the home page was good with so much white space but then when I navigated to other pages, the header and white space remained there. This has the effect of pushing nearly all of the content off the screen, even when browsing at full size on a large monitor. On every page you have to scroll down to see something, which became very annoying.

I think you have 2 options there:
1. Tighten up the header so that the content can be seen by most people without scrolling.
2. Use anchor tags so that the viewer is taken directly to the content which starts in the middle of each page.

Although I like grey text on a website, I found it just a tad too light and it was hard work reading when I had less than perfect light conditions in the room.

Only 9 photos. You have your own website so make good use of it.

Prices and availability. There is almost nothing on this page. Saying it's between 800-1700 is not very helpful to anyone but I guess if you are not taking bookings yourself, then what can you do? The links on that page then took you away from your site, rather than a new window.

After a while, you will start getting loads of spam with a simple mailto tag and that email address will be on every list in the world.

Facilities: Just a long list. This could be broken down into parts top make easier reading and livened up with some pictures maybe.

Great floor plans but you've missed the lightbox tag on them.

Check the max size of some of your pictures. eg. Deer-Park-House-Dog1.jpg is huge Both pictures on that page are a bit dull.

Not sure if I would mention pre-refurbishment. That might put people off and the photos certainly don't give that impression.

I liked the "In a nutshell" on each page. Great idea.

Also loved the logo.

The site certainly has potential.

BTW there's a girl in the kitchen, which I found a bit freaky.
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annedab



Joined: 18 Oct 2005
Posts: 753
Location: Midi Pyrenees

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice site - your place looks very inviting. Really like the "tone" of the FAQ information - though I might consider replacing "larger" child with "older" Very Happy

Just one question (from a personal point of view - not intended as a criticism) - something our family always need to know. There is a downstairs bedroom and you mention limited mobility, but I couldn't tell if there was flat access to the house. I speak from experience after protracted conversations with an owner a few years ago. We made it clear that one of our party was a wheelchair user and they gave us very detailed info to reassure us that the ground floor was manageable. It was only when we arrived that we found out that access to the front door was up 5 big steps Embarassed
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If there's no such thing as co-incidence, then why is there a word for it?
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Jimbo



Joined: 19 Oct 2006
Posts: 3581
Location: Charente Maritime

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks to be a lovely house and location, but the existing photographs are doing it scant justice. Two shots of a chilly-looking misty hillside are one too many (I'd lose the one with the dead tree), and a large expanse of empty kitchen table and empty white bedspread seem a bit spartan (although the sitting room was far more inviting). The poor old dog too, is lost in a gloomy picture where the top right hand corner is bleeding off into the background.

I can see loads of photo potential in the text and the present photographs, just needs a more sympathetic eye behind the camera and, maybe, an odd pictorial hint that the sun occasionally shines in deepest Yorkshire!

Good luck - it's a great rental property. And, I would loved to have seen a picture of those working bloodhounds!
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well its a first draft that has been in gestation for six months before I dared to show it to anyone Embarassed

Thank you all! So much useful feedback - can I make a list?

Typos (Polemi) thank you - I shall get to those. And actually terrible was a deliberate choice. I think I was channelling the Archers at that point Laughing

Layout (Newtimber, Kev). Good point. This shows the danger of only ever working on your site on a large monitor. Hmmm. I shall have a fiddle with anchor tags as a first resort although it will mean editing the theme I think (Wordpress!) which will be a learning curve.

Grey text. (Kev) that's an easy fix and important I think. I don't want anyone getting eyestrain

Booking. (Polemi, Kev) Sigh. I know....we're with English Country Cottages and a) it's impossible to co-ordinate with their booking calendar unless we do it manually and b) actually I don't really want to deal with bookings as I also have a full time job. But I will certainly open that link in a new window!

Photos (Kev, Polemi) yup, absolutely need more. Trouble is that the house actually needs nearly complete redecoration (those photos are rather flattering) and furniture/carpets etc will be different by mid Feb - fingers crossed. I will have a complete set of photos throughout by the end of Feb and will update then. Must resize the ones I've got - sadly can't do much with the dogs one as we have no more dogs to photograph.

Great idea about the facilities list, Kev, I was wondering how to make that a bit less dull.

I know the spam is a problem, but I'm not sure what best practise is if you actually want people to contact you. I think I also need to get a different phone number up there while I think about it.

Ha about freaky little girl. That's my daughter, and believe me, if she freaks you out in a photograph, you should try meeting her in person!
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and Annedab, you are exactly who I need to speak to re access.

The main entrance has one step on the inside of the house. But there are two other entrances (closer to the car park, as it happens) which are flat.

However. The downstairs bedroom is not the biggest and has rather a narrow door. Also a narrow door to the shower room ensuite. So I have never really thought of it as wheelchair appropriate, more for people with limited mobility (walking with aids). Is that the right phrasing, or are there more formal terms I should use?
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jimbo wrote:
Two shots of a chilly-looking misty hillside are one too many


I'd agree with that too. On a technical side, ignoring actual photographic content, the header picture looks poor quality because it's being stretched to fill the space available. It's only 1038 pixels wide so will obviously degrade when stretched to say 1900 pixels.
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Soupdragon wrote:


I know the spam is a problem, but I'm not sure what best practise is if you actually want people to contact you. I think I also need to get a different phone number up there while I think about it.


A contact form. Loads of free plugins for that. You could limit spam a bit by encrypting the email address.

I wouldn't worry too much about the phone number. After doing this for 7 years, I've not had any problems having my number online. Most listing sites display it in any case.
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right then, I'm going to turn the photographer loose in the park when he comes and see if he can do better!

Rather relies on him turning up on a sunny day of course. In the meantime I'm sure I must have a sunny summer photo somewhere!
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kev, I'll have a quick look at plugins. I'm not the most confident with styling things which is why I haven't investigated it yet but there's always time to learn.
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Nemo



Joined: 14 Aug 2008
Posts: 7005
Location: Norfolk

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm browsing the mobile version and it's looking good. I know how to use it as my website is Wordpress too so it's very familiar in layout. Smile

I'm confused with the domain name; I thought the house would be called Go Thick instead it's the attractive Deer Park so what is the connection and why have you chosen that domain? It seems you are missing a trick by not making it relevant in the eye of a stranger like me.

Photos, it's all been said, not enough by a long way. Perhaps you can add a gallery somewhere (assuming I haven't overlooked it) to allow the guest to "wander" freely round the house in their own time.

Yes remove your email from the blog and just use your name instead.

A great start though, well done.
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, well the domain name choice is partly down to what's available, and partly down to a disagreement with my mother, who has only recently passed the house onto me and is convinced that if we publicise its details on the internet it will immediately be ransacked by pirates, or something Confused

I'm afraid I opted for the easy life with that one.
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Soupdragon



Joined: 24 Aug 2015
Posts: 40
Location: North Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and the connection - the house was built as a Gothic folly for the end of Scampston Park.

Or Gothick, as the guy writing the invoice put.
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