Tips to make sure your website is optimised and ready to drive bookings next season
You may think your website is doing its job, but here are some things you might want to check to make sure potential visitors are not disappointed when they browse your holiday offering online.
Look for broken links - and fix them
How do you feel when you click on a website link and end up on a page like this?
It’s frustrating, isn’t it? Instead of getting the information you were expecting, all you get is a “sorry, page not found” error message or 404 page.
What causes a broken link?
A broken link is basically a link to a webpage that doesn’t work. Links can be broken for many reasons, such as the URL being mistyped, the webpage no longer being available online, the URL of the page has been changed, or the linked page might have some access restrictions in place (such as being password protected or behind a firewall).
A broken link can annoy your website visitors and they may choose to leave your site without completing a booking with you. Google and other search engines also penalise you for broken links and push you down the search rankings depending on how many you have.
How can I fix a broken link?
You can easily do your own website audit for broken links using a tool like this. Pop in your site URL and if some broken links are highlighted, you can then go to the relevant pages on your website and update or remove those issues.
Try not to change page URLs on your website as these will lead to broken links. However, if you do, make sure you set up 301 redirects so browsers are seamlessly navigated to the right content. If you use WordPress, various plugins can help you set up these 301 redirects, or talk to your friendly web developer.
Identify any damaging broken images on your website
Broken images on your website will negatively affect the user experience, and therefore affect your booking conversion rate.
Search engines will also not be able to index these images in their search results. If search engine robots detect under loaded pictures, they may decide that the website has been abandoned. The site will then lose its position in Google search results.
What breaks an image?
A few of the common reasons are that the image might no longer exist, it might not be named properly, or the file path in the code might be incorrect.
Take the time to fix or replace any broken images to make sure your website has the best impact.
Great photos sell, so make sure your imagery is up to date
We recommend having professional photos taken of your campsite or properties to really make an impact online - however, most smartphones produce really good quality photos, so there is no excuse!
Studies show that it helps if you include people in your photography so that prospective guests can really imagine themselves being there. But also be mindful that your photos should give a very real representation of your business so guests aren’t disappointed when they turn up. So beware of the wide angle lens!
Don’t upload photos straight from the camera as the images will be too big and will slow your website performance.
The optimal file size for images on a website is no more than 200 KB, and for full-screen background images, between 1500 pixels to 2500 pixels wide, and for most other images a max-width of 800 pixels.
Review the text on your website
It’s obvious to say it, but , up to date information about the holidays you offer is so important.
- Reference to years in the past (this immediately out-dates your content)
- Out of date pricing or special offers (if someone sees old pricing anywhere, you may have to match that old price or lose a sale!)
- Out of date events - ensure old entries on your social calendar are removed
- COVID - do you have a special note about covid? It might be in a pop up box or some text hidden in your T&Cs. Does it still reference 2020/21; is the text speaking as if we are still in a lockdown? It’s ok if you want to still reassure your guests by telling them about your ‘covid-19 policy’ but make sure it’s current
Have a think about if you're doing anything new, too. Have you installed new shower blocks or a children's play area? Do any of your properties have a new hot tub?
If your guests need to bring anything with them on holiday, provide a list of what you expect them to bring. And what do you provide as standard? It’s annoying for a guest if they pack washing up liquid, loo rolls and cling film when they don't need to! Or if they turn up without beach towels when they do need to!
Try to be seasonal on your website with text and images if you want to encourage holidays year-round. There is a big difference between summer and winter breaks!
Check that booking widgets are displaying and working correctly
By booking widget we mean … the calendar on your site showing what’s available and what’s not!
It might not display correctly or work properly if:
- It isn't configured correctly
- There are no rates set against the days in Anytime
- Online visibility isn’t switched on in Anytime
- Incorrect URL
- Styling needs work (eg. it may hang off the page, a box or image may be obscuring it, it may not be responsive to tablets or smart phones)
If you experience any of these issues, don't worry. It’s all easy to correct if you talk to the right people - get in touch with your web developer or with Aaron at Anytime (contact support).
Check that keywords and descriptions are up to date
This bit is about SEO.
SEO - search engine optimisation - opens your website up to a wider audience by displaying your website in search results when people use search terms that you have embedded in your site's metadata.
You can do this yourself - or your developer can - or speak to an SEO specialist.
Are your contact forms working?
It’s surprising how many websites have broken contact forms so the emails or form submissions go nowhere. Do a simple test to see if you receive your test request.
Simplify your forms - if you have too many fields to fill in, potential guests may bail out of the process.
Make sure that your T&Cs are up to date and visible on your website so that you and your guests are prepared for any eventuality.
You may want to consider using Booking Protect, a service that refunds your guest directly in the event of cancellation according to their terms. This is charged directly to your guest at the point of booking and earns you commission! Read more.
Did you know we do websites?
If you are considering having a new website built, it's worth knowing that Anytime does provide a website service.
This is a templated click and build option - beautiful websites, no tech skills required, and low cost.
Here are just some of the benefits:
- You get an hour service time per month so we can help you make changes
- We make sure your website is up to date with all new tech releases
- The click-and-build approach makes it so easy for you to update text and images at anytime ... OR ... ask us to help if you are unsure
- Your Anytime Booking availability calendars or Book Now button are integrated .. so you don't need to bother with web developers
- No need to code - simple drag and drop tech - or ask us for help
- A one-stop shop for website and online bookings, so one point of contact
- An affordable monthly cost on top of your Anytime Booking subscription
Ask us more. We can show you some examples of the sites we have created for Anytime clients so far!