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Review please
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hcbts



Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 7
Location: Allonby, Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:37 pm    Post subject: Review please Reply with quote

Hi,

Would appreciate it if someone could run their eyes over our website at :

http://holidaycottagesbythesea.com/

Feedback and suggestions gratefully received !

Thanks

Ian and Anna
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Holiday Cottages, Allonby, Cumbria

http://www.holidaycottagesbythesea.com
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Bunny



Joined: 16 Oct 2013
Posts: 3387
Location: South of England

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first impression was that it is very 'white' and would benefit from a background colour.

When I first open the website I can only see your exterior photograph, which would not make me want to scroll down any further to see the more impressive interior shots. It looks like there is some rubbish wood on the floor which looks a bit messy. Not sure if the photo is the front or rear view. Could you take a more flattering picture of the exterior at a different angle perhaps? I don't feel it does the property any justice. Maybe use one of your interior shots as the most prominent one in the meantime.

You have used a completely different font on the Things to Do page which looks a bit odd when you click through the tabs. There are also some small typos on this page - could be more but I haven't read it thoroughly.

Hope this helps.
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hcbts



Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 7
Location: Allonby, Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback - funny how other people spot things straight away that you have not noticed after looking hundreds of times !. Will get on with making some changes tonight and see what people think

Thanks again

Ian
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Holiday Cottages, Allonby, Cumbria

http://www.holidaycottagesbythesea.com
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newtimber



Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 1616
Location: Brighton

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like the site; but I do question why you want to send your guests to holiday lettings to book. As I'm sure you realise, if you follow the HL link you have given, you are shown photos of other cottages in your area, all with 5 star reviews like yours. Are they not going to be tempted to look at the other properties advertised and might they then change their minds about booking yours?
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tavi



Joined: 14 Sep 2011
Posts: 2578
Location: Algarve

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just had a quick look - agree with Bunny the first photo makes the cottage look very uninviting - which it clearly isn't when you look at your exterior shot on HL.

The very first thing guests do, (well I do anyway when I have my guest hat on) is check the photos. Only if I like the look of the place do I go on to read the small print.

You have fantastic sea views and obviously the interior is far superior to what your small, rather dark photos suggests. Get some stunning photos of the sea-views incorporating a foreground of your raised deck and the cottage will sell itself!

Hope that helps - not much time so haven't read the whole text but did notice

The cottage enjoys it’s own courtyard garden - should be its Smile
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French Cricket



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: French Pyrénées

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first thing that comes to mind for me is that you're definitely not doing your cottage justice, either with the photos or, to be honest, with your choice of WP template, which is one of the old basic ones. There are so many really good templates out there, why not use something a bit more contemporary and interesting and really make your website shine?

The second thing for me is, like newtimber but for a different reason, to wonder why you send all your guests to HL to book. You are aware, I assume, that they pay a pretty hefty booking fee that way? I have to say that I'd be pretty peed off if I found an owner's website and was then directed to a fee-paying site to book - in fact I'd take my booking elsewhere. The whole point, surely, of having your own site is that the guest has the possibility of booking and communicating directly with you.
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Holiday retreat for grown-ups in the French Pyrenees
French Foothills
Our Catalan cottage
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FelicityA



Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 2803
Location: Cotswolds

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have given it a once over, albeit very quickly and really just looking at the Home page because that is the most important one to get absolutely right. What did leap out at me was seperate, not separate, but that is a small thing...

I think you would be better to have a block of text, nicely paragraphed on your home page with photos down the side (or even on a separate gallery page?). It is an unsettling arrangement at the moment (a lot of white space) which makes it difficult to read, I think, and more difficult to extract the basic information (and some people only give a few seconds to a website before they move away..).

You have some very nice rooms. I think the kitchen is appealing but at the moment the photo is not straight in the frame and it could perhaps be taken from a better angle. Most of the other photos are too dark and need retaking (sorry!). Is it possible to have the photos bigger on the page or at least the main one (kitchen or sitting room perhaps if you can't get a good exterior shot)? You need one which immediately is going to draw the viewer in, wanting to read more. I think Tavi is right - if you can get a stunning sea view, obviously taken from the cottage, that would be wonderful.
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hcbts



Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 7
Location: Allonby, Cumbria

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all the feedback - this has got me thinking seriously about our entire approach to the website. We currently use HL as our primary booking engine and our website is little more than a funnel for that and this is perhaps not the right way to do it. Whilst not quite just thrown up the site has not had the attention it deserves - this is obvious when I look at some of the great sites other members of this site have.

Will take a serious look at freetobook etc and a complete overhaul of the website - we really do need to capture our visitors and get a booking whilst on our site !

Thanks again everyone,

Ian
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Holiday Cottages, Allonby, Cumbria

http://www.holidaycottagesbythesea.com
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Soupdragon



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

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'm looking at the site while you're updating it! I can see some colour in the background now...and are you experimenting with getting guests to book directly with you? If you're going to do that it's helpful to have somewhere where you outline the terms of booking on the site.

Like you, I direct visitors to my site back to an agency to book. There are situations where that can work but it's important to be quite thoughtful about how the two sites work together.

For example if you want to continue with HL, can you get a link back from their site to yours so that visitors can use your site to get a more detailed answer to all their questions?

When they go through to HL they need to be gasping to book your place and nowhere else with no hesitation.

I can see you're doing stuff with the photos so I won't comment on those, but I think you could have a little think about the copy. What have you got that's special? Well, from my quick glance you have a comfortable family house on the beach but with quick access to the Lake District. That's a great thing to lead with, and likely to hold people's attention better than either the location or the fact it's very reasonably priced.

So how about a different headline: 'Beach in seconds, Fells in minutes. Fabulous beachside cottage with easy access to the Lake District.' Or something like that.

There's a nice job there on describing the interior - I think you could break it up a little with a few subheadings which really help people skip through the text in a hurry. Ideally you have lots of beautiful photos, and rather fewer words which are very clearly signposted.

Oh and I'm sorry, but 'comprises of' makes me froth at the mouth. Could we try something simpler like 'Inside you'll find:'

It's just snobbery, I know, so feel free to ignore me Embarassed .

Meanwhile, and further afield, you're only 40 minutes from Keswick and Carlisle, so if I were you I would shamelessly pinch ideas from the nicest guides to the area and use them to paint a picture of how people might spend their week. So much family fun or romantic getaways for couples etc.

I'll stop now, since I think other people are right about getting the images right is the top priority. But don't forget the words as well!
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Ecosse



Joined: 29 May 2014
Posts: 733
Location: Saint Gervais les Bains, France

PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just had the quickest of looks, too, and the thing that jumps out at me is that you've got your less attractive photos up first... the thing that would really make me book, is your wonderful, cosy living room with its stove, rather than your fine, but functional bedrooms. Could you swap the order around so people see the living room first?
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kevsboredagain



Joined: 20 Jan 2007
Posts: 3209
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first page showed 3 almost identical pictures and a toilet. By that point I'd seen enough. I think you need to step back, take a look at some other sites to get some ideas and start again.

Sorry to be so harsh.

Please also read:
http://www.laymyhat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25270
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www.websiteproud.com
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hcbts



Joined: 22 Jan 2016
Posts: 7
Location: Allonby, Cumbria

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kevsboredagain wrote:
Sorry to be so harsh.


Not harsh at all, no point in asking for feedback if you are not prepared to to listen to it Laughing

I am still working on the images - toilet has taken it very badly that it has been demoted from prime position ! - and will need to take some more.

Think I will also enlist the help of a web designer - though that will not help with the lack of high quality images

Ian
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Holiday Cottages, Allonby, Cumbria

http://www.holidaycottagesbythesea.com
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tavi



Joined: 14 Sep 2011
Posts: 2578
Location: Algarve

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked last night (I had a quick peek) when you had that background sea-view and the three (I think) similar shots centred over it - there was something quite stylised and striking about it.

Certainly it's better than it was. I never saw the toilet - must have missed that!

Not sure u need a web designer - why not take a free trial with Promote My Place - many of us use them. Not expensive and great customer service.
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Bunny



Joined: 16 Oct 2013
Posts: 3387
Location: South of England

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a big improvement but I can see that it is still work in progress.

I'm slightly confused by the difference by the 'contact us' and 'reservations' forms. They both appear to be enquiry forms. The data requested on the reservations form indicates it is just an enquiry form but the title suggests it is a definite booking form. In which case what is the contact us form for? As a guest I'd be a bit confused which one I should be using. Also one of the drop down boxes on the reservations form does not work.

You have lots of random pictures of properties in Allonby but I'd prefer to see pictures of, for example, the chip shop and tea rooms etc that you mention in the text.

There are still some typos and line spacing issues that need tidying i.e. ALWAYS two spaces after a full stop and one space after a comma, colon, or semi colon.

Hope this helps.
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French Cricket



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: French Pyrénées

PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bunny wrote:
i.e. ALWAYS two spaces after a full stop


Qué???????
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Holiday retreat for grown-ups in the French Pyrenees
French Foothills
Our Catalan cottage
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