Experience the difference of "Elite".

Website options - comments please !!
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jfulciniti
Feb 15, 2019 9:13 AM
Joined Oct, 2016 29 posts

Great thread with some really good info. Personally, I use Word Press only because I am familiar with it. I use my sites to store a lot of personal photos and other info that guests do not have access to (hidden pages / password protected areas)

In the past, I had issues with hacking / robo attacks. I now use Wordfence Premium and few other plugins to keep the sites as secure as possible. Since 100% of my guests are US / Canadian based, I block other countries from accessing my site.

I use the same WP template for both sites and customize with some other plugins. I like the fact that I have total control over the content and layout.

Here's the site I built for our home owners group https://go2snowshoe.com and my personal VR website https://jimandkelly.us

As we all know, there's no perfect solution and I think it's great that there are many options for each of us.

Paul W
Feb 15, 2019 9:24 AM
OR Team Member Joined Jun, 2009 831 posts

@jfulciniti - Careful blocking countries and certain blocks of users. That could stop search engines from indexing your site too depending on where their servers are located and/or the technique you're using to detect the device. If you're not sure, use Webmaster Tools by Google to watch what they have indexed and what their spiders "see" when they look at your pages.

Rich S
Feb 15, 2019 9:42 AM
Joined Dec, 2018 301 posts

Love your personal VR site @jfulciniti! Lot's of exciting photos!!

JTVRs
Feb 15, 2019 9:43 AM
Joined Jun, 2018 385 posts

Is it possible in WordPress to block "rogue" countries that are the source of a lot of hacking - such as North Korea, Russia - without harming SEO? I use the Avada theme for an upcoming tour company (MountainManJourneys.com) and I am not familiar either with the "WordPress premium" nor the concept of blocking countries from a WordPress site.

jfulciniti
Feb 15, 2019 12:32 PM
Joined Oct, 2016 29 posts

Paul W said:

@jfulciniti - Careful blocking countries and certain blocks of users. That could stop search engines from indexing your site too depending on where their servers are located and/or the technique you're using to detect the device. If you're not sure, use Webmaster Tools by Google to watch what they have indexed and what their spiders "see" when they look at your pages.

Ya, that's a major draw back but that leads me to another question - SEO. Hopefully I am not steering this thread off course but SEO is part of owning a website and I have some thoughts.

Do we "small" players really have a chance to rank a website in a market like Myrtle Beach (at least for me)? I've given up trying to rank my jimandkelly personal site. I spend more time on Instagram, Facebook and Craigslist and drive that traffic to my personal site and building email lists.

I'm curious what others think about SEO.

Michele W
Feb 15, 2019 12:41 PM
Joined Sep, 2018 48 posts

For reference purposes we use GoDaddy and their site builder tool. SUPER EASY to operate and allows the use of OR widgets. Any feedback is welcome. www.ruidosopinesmountiancabin.com . Other than the website name is TOO long. lol working on that.

Rich S
Feb 15, 2019 1:45 PM
Joined Dec, 2018 301 posts

Nice site Jim! We're neighbors in Austin as well...

There's a typo in your link, mountain is misspelled

A couple things jumped out at me ... All offered by the guy who has no website at the moment ;-)

- lots of typos (Ruidos; THIGNS; Granit... try selecting all the content on your page, then copy/paste into microsoft word and inspect anything it thinks is awkward (blue) or misspelled (red). Ruidoso is spelled 3 ways that I caught
- the pictures are nice, but they lack any sizzle for the most part. The picture of you and your wife with helmets on is a great one. Maybe find a few stunning photos and move the rest to a photos page.
- I like the single page style, it's easy to see all the content by scrolling, but having a menu at top could help direct visitors as well, even if it just jumps down to the correct section.
- if possible with your site, would be better to have an always visible GET A QUOTE button on the page.

I personally think there is a lot of theory that goes into well performing websites. A thought - it might be a useful technique to create some content that folks have to request. Meaning you could have a 2-3 page document of wonderful things to do in the area, and just set it up so people provide their email and get the document. Ultimately a goal can be to capture emails so you can drip emails back to potential guests. Whether that works in practice for these kinds of sites I'm not sure about, but in general it's common across other websites... give me your email and I'll give you something in return ;-)

Overall I think it's a very effective website, has all the important info. I don't think your website is too long, the only thing I'd consider is that few people will spell Ruidoso correctly. Having easier to spell words could help, but maybe having Ruidoso in the website name is important.

Rich S
Feb 15, 2019 2:05 PM
Joined Dec, 2018 301 posts

@BlueMtnCabins - curious what the StaySaver link is that appears at the bottom right corner of your website. I overlooked it on my desktop, but it was more noticeable from my cell phone. Is it something you're doing intentionally, or is something overlaying your site without your knowledge (could even be something on my own computer, but seems unlikely since it's on mobile and desktop sites).

Regina H
Aug 2, 2019 8:57 PM
Joined May, 2019 3 posts

I went with wix for my website. www.lifeisgoodinthemountains.com. I've been on VRBO for a few years. Bookings dropped when the fees were added for the guests. I have been working on the website for a while off and on. Just launched about 2 months ago. On facebook and created a pinterest page. Thinking about a blog to add to the website. Hoping to drive people to my website. Would love any critiques.
Thanks

JTVRs
Aug 3, 2019 6:06 AM
Joined Jun, 2018 385 posts

You need to be on booking.com, vrbo, airbnb, trip advisor- ALL. Also Houfy.. Through ownerrez of course. Just set your price/service fee to account for commissions. About 7% of that traffic will see your listings and book direct on your site. (Called the billboard effect). Ignore naysayers.

Regina H
Aug 6, 2019 11:31 AM
Joined May, 2019 3 posts

Thanks. Will look into those. I have a full time job so working this around. Trying to get the property to pay for itself and be a vacation for us.

JTVRs
Aug 6, 2019 12:27 PM
Joined Jun, 2018 385 posts

My opinion is that anything other than owner reservation hosted site for someone new to websites and or new to vacation rentals is going to find a lot more problems than they expected. There are things below the surface that a newbie does not think about.

After getting my tourism website up and running with a lot of work I put into it, then my web developer logged in with a virus on his computer that also wound up hacking my website. You become your own support team and you're probably not qualified.

jfulciniti
Aug 7, 2019 11:45 AM
Joined Oct, 2016 29 posts

@Regina H - If I can add one suggestion it would be to harvest all of your guests emails.

I send out periodic newsletters to all former guests with info on our rentals and of course, a link back to my website.

Every little bit helps and repeat guests are usually some of my better guests.

BlueMtnCabins
Aug 9, 2019 10:53 AM
Joined Jun, 2016 1124 posts

jfulciniti said:

@Regina H - If I can add one suggestion it would be to harvest all of your guests emails.

I send out periodic newsletters to all former guests with info on our rentals and of course, a link back to my website.

Every little bit helps and repeat guests are usually some of my better guests.


over 1600 addresses on my email list. Periodic newsletters. repeats from those: About 3 in 3 years among 3 cabins. Not worth the effort in my case. Maybe when ownerrez introduces coupon codes...

JTVRs
Aug 9, 2019 9:24 PM
Joined Jun, 2018 385 posts

I agree. I think a better use of your email list is ancillary services. In other words, if you do tours or something else, it makes sense to Market them. But I never got the idea that there are repeats and referrals in vacation rentals. How many times you never see them, so there isn't really any bond. There is in bed and breakfasts.