Roger Timbrook is a freelance web designer who focuses on improving people’s websites. When not staring at his screen fixing websites you can find him traveling the world and writing about it on his travel blog.
Having your own website is a great start to reaching more people and getting more renters. However, if you want to get ahead of the game and make more bookings, optimizing your website is essential.
It may sound intimidating and unachievable for a non-techy, but there are actually a bunch of simple and powerful things you can do to improve your chances online. And, in this post, I am going to show you how.
Make it easy to get in touch
You may already have your contact details somewhere on your website, but I want to challenge you to step back and take a closer look.
How easily can I find your contact details or get in touch via a contact form? How many clicks do I have to make to take a specific action?
I always tell people it should be as easy as possible, and then easier again. So, make sure your contact details are in the header and/or footer, which means on every page.
Ensure your contact page has as many options as possible: phone, email, address, contact form and even Skype, WhatsApp or Facebook if you are active on there. You can never be sure how people communicate these days, so giving potential renters options is crucial.
And ideally, all your email and phone text should be clickable so that it takes me just one click to send an email or call you from my phone. Again, making it simple and fast is how you get people to get in touch.
Tell them what to do
Tell them what to do? This might sound a little confusing, but let me quickly explain.
When it comes to websites you will generate a lot more results if you “tell people what to do” instead of expecting them to know or figure out what the next steps are. For you, it might be everyday business, but that is not always the case for your website visitor.
So, if you want someone to make a booking, for example, then add a “Booking” button in the appropriate place(s) on your site. And don’t be shy about adding more than one on a single page. Don’t want to plaster them everywhere, but every now and again is fine.
Remember, everyone is different and is ready to take action (ie. book) at different stages of the process. So, having a button ready for them makes the chances of a booking even greater.
Finding & optimizing images
Images are one of the biggest sellers for a property online, so you want to make sure that you highlight the best features of your property using top-notch pictures. Not only that, you will also want to show off any surrounding attractions to help entice visitors.
Rather than relying on hasty snapshots, you might have taken of the local main street or water park I recommend you use professional images where you can. Sometimes you can even find them for free online using sites like Pexels, Unsplash and Pixabay.
All of the above means lots and lots of images. That is also where the problem begins. Oversized images can kill your website’s load speed, especially on a mobile phone. So, don’t just upload the images straight from your camera. Instead, here are the main steps I recommend you take:
- Rename the image (not IMG_2333.jpg) to something like kitchen-seating.jpg, using short, descriptive wording with hyphens (-) between the words.
- Resize the image to the width you need for your site. This is probably a maximum of around 1080 pixels, but check with your web developer for the various areas of your site.
- Compress the image, but check that it still looks great on a screen. There is a balance and it depends on the image, camera and program you use. So test it first.
These three steps ensure your images are the perfect size for your website and are not slowing your visitors down. Trust me, if your site is slow, they won’t wait.
Images can also be found in Google image search, so if you want to take it to the next level, you can read this detailed article on Image SEO. Afterwards, you can apply a few of the tips to your images and get even more visitors from Mr Google.
Preparing for mobile
People are spending more and more time on their phones. In fact, it was back in October of 2016 that mobile use overtook desktop.
What does that mean for you?
Your website needs to look great on a desktop, laptop, tablet and phone. Have you already checked?
If not, I would check your site on as many devices as you have available. If you don’t have that many, head down to your local electronics or Apple store and try it on theirs. You might be surprised what does not work on a phone or even appear.
Alternatively, you can also try a mobile responsive testing tool like this one. Just keep in mind that nothing beats a live test on an actual device.
Lastly, run your website through the Google Mobile Test to see if your website passes that. This is important because Google is slowly focusing on mobile over desktop so you want them to be happy with your website too. This will result in better search rankings and more visitors as well.
Summing It All Up
Owning a website is a little more complex than it used to be, but with a few simple tweaks and changes you can turn it into a strong part of your marketing team.
Focus on the things that will bring you the biggest gains first like strong calls to action (aka Booking Buttons), and easy to find contact details. Then take a close look at your images and mobile-readiness of your website.
Then, before you know it, you will start to see stronger results on your bottom line!