Mind the Gap!


“Mind the gap” is a warning to train passengers to remind them of the sometimes significant gap between the train door and the station platform. Just as this term is used in train stations, it’s important to ‘Mind the gap’ with your website. When redesigning your website there are things you should not overlook!

What gaps does your site have that a redesign will fill? The following is a list of points to consider when redesigning your website.

BudgetMind the gap
Is a complete redesign within your budget? Your budget may determine the extent of your redesign. Do you need a new look, more traffic, higher ranking by search engines, a blog, a tracker, more pages, better photos, a reservation engine, hosting and maintenance? All of these, and more, should be considered when redesigning your website to help fill the gaps.

Simplify your navigation.
A simple navigation is like giving really good directions that will take a visitor from point A to point B. If your visitor can get around your site quickly and easily you have given them great directions and they will repay you by staying at your site for a longer amount of time which is what you want. Simplify and clearly define the meaning of each title in your navigation.

Site Map
A site map is a representation of the architecture of your website. The site map helps visitors and search engines find pages on your site.

Contact Information
Tell the visitor who you are, where you are and how you can be reached. It’s only polite.

Call to Action
Your phone number or email may be a call to action. Reserve or book now button. Join our newsletter. Seasonal specials available. All of these require the viewer to take action. Get the viewer involved.

Email Marketing
Email Newsletters can create a bond between your Hotel, Inn or Resort and your reader. Promote news and specials that are useful and convenient to the reader. Most newsletters are quickly scanned. Keep it brief and give them an option to unsubcribe if they choose.

Blog
If you have a blog. Keep it going. Post weekly. Create a community of readers. Write about what is relevant and time sensitive. In the hospitality industry you can post specials or write about the daily happenings in and around your resort. WordPress is an open-source (free) blogging software that makes your blog easy to use and maintain.

Cosmetic
Does your website need a facelift? That first impression is a lasting one. Know your target market. Create an image that appeals to your target market and promotes credibility for your business. Choose fonts and colors for your website that are clean and friendly to the viewer. Professional photos always improve a website. Choose photos that showcase your Inn, Hotel or Resort. Keep the file size small for quick loading times. The text content of your site should be kept to a minimum but enough to convey a clear message. Viewers scan text for information rather than actually reading it. Check spelling and grammar. If you have any pages that are not working correctly, fix them a.s.a.p. Unify pages by consistently using the same format. Fonts can be easily formatted with CSS.

Online Presence
SEO experts can help your website get a better ranking by search engines. High ranking by search engines means more viewers can find your website faster. Meta tags and H1’s that are managed by experts will help your website get more hits or viewers, leading to more reservations.

Tracker
Tracking and analyzing your website traffic enables you to maximize the effectiveness of your online marketing. The tracker works by including a small amount of html code to each page of your website. The tracker records first time visitors, returning visitors, visitors that made a purchase among other statistics.

Reservation Engine
If you choose to have a reservation engine that takes the viewer to a new page, design that page to have the same look and feel as your site. Headers, fonts and colors should match your site. Here at Blizzard the team has developed BRE; Blizzard Reservation Engine. BRE is a product that allows your booking engine to be customized and SEO friendly.

Maintenance
The last gap you want to fill is maintenance. You have a beautifully designed site now and you want to keep it up to date and well maintained. Keep your photos and specials up to date with the seasons. Have a SEO expert examine your site every couple months to improve your online presence. Correct any spelling or grammar mistakes immediately, and anything else that is not working correctly. Take the time to care for your site and it will reward you with frequent visitors who will return often.

“mind the gap” image courtesy markhillary

 

Comments

  1. hi,
    Seo one key to keeping your blog looking neat and readable is to keep the content less than 300 words. 250 words per blog is idea. Keeping them looking reasonably uniform and the same length is also more visually eye catching and more likely to keep curious eyeballs on your page and not someone else’s.

  2. A close examination of your Google analytics stats – popular content, landing pages and keywords leading people to your site etc. This can provide invaluable intelligence that can be used to inform an information architecture overhaul that can bring enormous benefits in reducing bounce rate and improving engagement

  3. Nice checklist. Most points are pretty obvious but in the reality is, most companies still don’t do it right even when they have the chance to make a fresh start.

  4. Thanks for this guide to redesigning a web site. It should be usable for all of us online businesses.

    You specifically mentioned hotels and resorts. So I’ve linked to one of my blog posts on Hotel Market Segmentation & Hotel Customer Segments.

  5. Thanks for the great tips. It’s a nice summary of things to keep in mind during a re-design.

    The problem my company runs into is that the graphic designers go gung ho with redesigning and forget to consult the SEO department.

    Then we have to go in after the fact and tell them to fix everything.

  6. Nice Post. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thanks for sharing good tricks. I will use it, that’s very nice.

  8. Just did a redesign myself. I used eLance and hired a firm from India. I have mixed feelings about using them as the turnaround time was not great. However, they did do a great job once it was finally finished and it was fairly cheap.

  9. That’s a nice list of points to look out for when redesigning websites. However, most companies really don’t succesfully follow. This then leads into a cycle.

  10. Nice list although I find important to understand where to focus your energies. Many newly hired marketing executives want to change everything without taking the time to understand what works and what doesn’t. They go on selling their ideas on having a new website or landing pages built when the real source of the problem is at the targeting level.

  11. Also RSS too… an easy way to keep folks in tune and in touch with your posting on your blog… Without them having to sign up to a newsletter…

    I still need to learn about RSS myself!

    :)

    Martin

  12. David Clifford says:

    Nice guidance for web redesign. Every online business must follow this tips.

  13. Tracking and testing can help enormously, but many small businesses don’t know how to utilize this simple but effective method.

  14. I use wordpress blog but not well versed with tracking part . As i have heard a lot in the forums about tracking your visitors for good results. I will try google analytics .