How To Find Out If Your Vacation Rental Website Is A Peach Or A Lemon?
Not all vacation rental websites are created equal.
Two sites can even look the same but one will outperform the other.
Sometimes one can be better by a country mile.
So, Is your vacation rental website a peach or a lemon?
The sad truth is that many hospitality operators are being sold sites that don’t perform.
In this article, I will talk you through a few things that will help determine whether you have a peach or a lemon.
Ok. Stand back because this may hurt.
If your website is over 4 years old then the prognosis isn’t good.
Websites don’t age well and I’m not only talking about hospitality websites here.
You can pretty much measure a website’s age in dog years. If your site is 4 years old, it may as well be 28 years old in terms of web design, technology, and user expectation.
Web design is ever-changing and although these design trends are subtle, they are noticeable.
We all spend our days looking at our devices so we tend to notice, maybe only subliminally, when things are a little dated.
Have a look at the two images below…
The one on the left is from Airbnb’s homepage just 3 years ago and the one on the right is what it looks like now.
The two screenshots below show how Tripadvisor’s homepage looked in 2018 and how it looks now
As you can see, even the big companies are forever changing the look and feel of their websites.
These changes may be subtle but that’s the nature of web design
So, even though you may be thinking, “my site isn’t very old”, if it’s over 4 years old then you willl benefit from a makeover.
Technology moves on at an ever-increasing pace. We see this everywhere.
We replace our televisions with larger, higher definition models with surround sound. Our internet connections are way faster than they were just a few years ago. Our smartphones get smarter and smarter and our computers get more and more powerful. Even our refrigerators can now think for themselves.
These advancements in technology impact our websites.
You can now host your sites on dedicated cloud servers for less money than it costs to host on shared servers.
These cloud servers are faster and more secure than shared hosting.
In this article, you can see how I made a clients website 4 times faster for half the price, just by changing the hosting
The speed of your website plays an absolutely crucial role in your customer’s experience.
Here are the key factors
1. Website speed is the first impression you ever make.
If your site is fast you simply appear more professional
2. We expect speed!
47% of people expect your site to load in less than 2 seconds.
40% will abandon it entirely if it takes longer than 3 seconds.
3. User experience
Give users what they want and give it to them as fast as possible
4. A slow website kills your conversions
Imagine that just 100 people visit your site every month. If your site takes 4 seconds to load, you will lose 40 of those potential customers just because of those 4 seconds.
Amazon did tests that showed they would lose $1.6 BILLION every year if they slowed their website down by just one second. Read that sentence again. That’s a staggering fact.
5. The long-term effect of slow website speed
The 40 people that just left your site in the above scenario will never become guests, they’ll never tell their friends and family about your site or property. They’ll never share your details on social media.
6. Website speed affects your Google rank
Google is a speed freak. Its sole aim is to give people what they want and people want fast-loading experiences. Google knows how fast your site is and ranks it accordingly.
Just by making your site faster, you will increase your ranking on Google.
How easy is that!
When your website initially goes live it’s like a freshly baked loaf of bread or a lovely juicy peach.
Google’s spiders rush to crawl all over it and it gets indexed and added to their search results.
The Google spiders are very busy creatures. They spend their days and nights looking at new websites and new pages and posts.
They don’t return to sites unless those sites are added to or changed.
So, unless you add to and/or update your site on a regular basis Google and its spiders won’t pay your site any attention.
Your freshly baked loaf becomes stale. Your peach becomes a lemon.
From time to time you need to give your site a health check.
Age plays a big part in this. As we ourselves get older, we don’t look or work as well as we used to. This also applies to our sites and like it or not, we need to redevelop our sites every 3 to 4 years. There’s no getting around this fact.
It’s a bit like going to the gym. It’s not all that enjoyable but it’s generally good for you.
Technology can work for or against you. Adopting the latest technology can really benefit both you and your site visitors. No one reading this article has a Nokia 3310 anymore. We all adopted smartphone technology because of the advantages that offers. Treat your website to the latest cloud-based tech. The CPU performance alone could be 58% faster.
The saying ‘speed is of the essence’ has never been more fitting. Don’t make them wait because they won’t wait. They will just leave.
Head over to https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-154/feature/testmysite and enter your domain name and Google will tell you exactly what it thinks of your website.
Take some time to read the report.
Take on board what it says because this is your shop window to the world.
Keep your site fresh. Add to it regularly. Add a simple “what’s on in the area” post each month and you’ll keep your site visitors informed and feed Google’s spiders at the same time.
Create a peach
Here at Rent More Weeks, we have a new website template available, along with a video course to help you customize it to your needs. It’s beautiful, very fast and it will help you create a peach of a website.
You can find out more about it here
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How To Find Out If Your Vacation Rental Website Is A Peach Or A Lemon was written by Alan Egan
Alan Egan has been building hospitality websites since 2003. He has helped over 700 owners and managers build their websites via his online courses. His design agency has also created 100’s of bespoke sites for the vacation rental sector.
He has given numerous presentations at The Vacation Rental World Summit, The VRMA, Host, The Direct Booking Conference, and VRMIntel.