Hotel Website Design Webinar – Hotel Homepage
buuteeq is pleased to announce the launch of our new series of webinars for hoteliers and innkeepers. Hosted by Brandon and Karen from buuteeq’s Customer Success team, these webinars will cover a range of topics about hotel website design, SEO and industry best practices.
Our first webinar was this morning and we had a great turn out. Click ‘play’ to watch a video of the webinar, and please leave us a comment on this blog with any questions. We will be sure to answer! You can find the slideshow presentation used in the video embedded below, which includes pro tip links to other pertinent content.
Hotel Website Design Webinar
Adam: Good morning everyone. Good afternoon for everyone on the East Coast. This is Adam Brownstein speaking. I’m the founder and chief customer officer of buuteeq. I want to thank you all proactively for taking time on a busy Friday to connect with us, particularly with Brandon and Karen, who will be leading us through this webinar. Thank you very, very much for your business.
I wanted to make one little technical public service announcement. We experienced a little bit of a technical matter with some live deployments this morning at around9:21Pacific Time. We resolved that about seven minutes later and everything is up and running fine. If any of you had a question about it, I just wanted to let you know that the systems are running fine now if it affected any of your deployments.
With that, thanks again very much. I really appreciate it. I’ll be sitting in through the rest of the webinar and I’ll turn it over to Brandon Dennis and Karen Salazar to take you through the rest of our hour together. Thank you.
Brandon: Hi, everybody, I’m Brandon Dennis. I’m the Marketing Manager here at buuteeq. I’m here with Karen Salazar. We are going to go through a presentation on the home page. Now, we’ve got this presentation split up into a couple of sections We’re first going to talk about why the home page is important, some tips you can do to optimize your home page, and then Karen is going to show you how you can use buuteeq’s Back Office to do all of that for your home page.
I’ve got a slide show here, and I’m just going to go through it. The first bit here is on why it’s important. You’re going to see little pro tips throughout this deck as I go through and those are just additional videos that you can click on later to watch. I’m going to put this deck online so that you can all access it after the webinar and check it out.
Your home page is important because it’s the very first thing guests see. Guests make a decision whether or not to stay on your home page within 50 milliseconds of looking at it. People who look at your home page and then go away, it’s said that they “bounce.” People that bounce don’t book rooms, so we don’t want people to bounce. People make a decision about your website in a very short amount of time and they’re impressed primarily by branding, by photos, and by the content of your website.
The typical bounce rate is between 30% and 50%. If you have a higher percentage, that means that fewer people are staying on your home page. If you have a lower percentage then that means that you have a very good bounce rate and people are staying on your home page to consume your content. Three ways that we’re going to go over to optimize your home page, to reduce the bounce rate is the architecture of the home page, the content of your home page, and then the SEO on that home page. We’re going to start with architecture.
One thing, especially with hotel websites, is some people think that you make a website, you put it online, and then you forget about it. That’s all you need, and it’ll take care of itself. What happens is as technology advances over time, websites that may have been pristine when they were created in the past become outdated. They become incompatible with newer technologies, and then they lose visibility on search and they may not work properly. Having a great architecture that’s modern, that keeps up-to-date with modern technology is incredibly important for not only your home page but for your entire website.
Information architecture is just a geeky way of talking about the information on your website presented to people who are browsing your website in a way that they expect to find it. A lot of studies have been done to sort of gauge eyeball movement for people browsing websites and to see where they look. It came out that people look in very specific places to find specific content.
In terms of hospitality, we all know that guests are really concerned about rooms, rates, photos, locations, and stuff like that, so this all really important information that needs to be placed on your website in a way that guests can access it easily because they’re already looking for it there. You’d be surprised how many websites don’t have this information in very easy to find ways. We’ll talk about rooms.
All of our buuteeq websites have an information architecture that places rooms, photos, locations, and all of that information in a very prominent place. We dedicate entire pages to them. This is an example of one of our room pages. You can see that for this example we’re talking about the Bacon Mansion Bed and Breakfast. The “Rooms” page is right there. It’s one of the first options you have and you can browse their rooms in three different ways. This is great quality content that guests are going to be appreciative of, which means they’re going to stay on your website longer.
The same is with photos. We have a high emphasis on photos at buuteeq. We believe photos are incredibly important. People love glossy images. People will search for photos, find photos, and just go through photo after photo after photo instead of reading sheets of long dreary text. We have an entire section dedicated to photos.
Then, of course, locations. How are you going to get guests to come to your hotel or your bed and breakfast if they can’t find you? We have locations. People can put in their own points of interest, it’s interactive, and it’s, again, linked directly from the home page. All of this information has to be linked from the home page so that people can find what they’re looking for as soon as they hit your home page.
Of course, contact information. As you can see on the picture on the right, we have a giant reservation button right here on the home page. It’s huge. You can’t miss it. It’s right above the pictures. We have a reservation button on every single page of the website. We don’t want people browsing the website to ever have to hunt to make the reservation. The moment that the switch flips in their head and they’re like, “Okay, I want to book a room,” we want them to be able to. That’s having great contact information on every single page and a reservation button which is just part of really good home page architecture.
You’ve got a great home page architecture set down. You’ve got a wonderful content management system. The bones of the system are great. Even if you have awesome bones, unless you have amazing content and quality content and it’s presented in a good way, people aren’t going to stick around. The next step is to make sure that you have good quality content.
Now, this is an example of a first impression. I loaded this slide and what’s the first thing you see? Images. High-resolution photography. It spans the full width of the page. You have this lovely photo gallery on the front page. It looks really good. When you hit this website, you’re like, “I’m going to stick around a little bit and figure out what they have to say, because this is visually appealing to me.”
Here’s another example of a good website that’s visually appealing because of their photography alone. The branding is nice, but it’s minimal. It’s minimalist branding but they’ve got beautiful photography and that’s the number one thing when it comes to luring guests, having beautiful, high-resolution photography right on your home page so that people can see it. That is the number one priority.
Next is the quality of the content that you have placed on your website. There are two extremes of people who are building their websites. They’re not that interested in web design, they don’t really say much about their home page, they just kind of put their location and say, “Hey, this is my hotel. Please book a room,” and that’s about it.
Then you have the other extreme where they want to talk about everything and anything on their website, it’s not really pertinent, and it’s not really quality. Especially if hotel owners have been counseled by SEO agencies to keyword stuff for content on their home page, you’ll find a lot of content on the home page that is not exactly pertinent to their property. That’s not quality content.
This is an example of one hotel’s home page. They’ve got travel information, they’ve got information about their hotel, they’ve got awards that they’ve been a part of, and then they’ve got local information. That’s all really good content.
Adam: Brandon, just pardon the interruption, it’s Adam again speaking, something interesting about quality. A lot of times, inns, hotels, and lodges around the world ask us what kinds of content makes it into quality, and it’s really your very best guest, the guests that love you the best, what they like most about you can really translate into very high quality content on your site.
Along the lines with quality, we wanted to make sure that the audio quality of our webinar was good, so if we could just do a little chime-in, A, to make sure you guys have a pulse out there, and, B, to make sure that you’re able to hear us all right. If you could all just chime in to say that the audio quality is good to go, we want to make sure that you’re hearing Brandon and Karen’s wonderful voices easily and clearly.
Brandon: Yeah, we have a little chat box here if you want to type in the chat box that would be fantastic.
Adam: That’s our free advertisement for the chat box.
Brandon: Exactly, if you want to use it. We do have a little audiograph here so that we can see whether or not the audio is working and it looks like it’s working fairly well.
Adam: Terrific. Pardon my rude interruption. Continue,Brandon.
Brandon: That is all right. I am going to move on to the next slide. The next slide is about photos and video. As I said previously, photos are essential. It’s not an option. It’s essential. People nowadays expect to go to hotel or bed and breakfast websites and see beautiful photography about the property. If they don’t see that, they’re not going to book a room. They want to know what the rooms look like, they want to know what the exteriors look like, and they want to have a visual image in mind before they put any money down, before they make a reservation.
Investing in high-resolution photography is important, to get all that photography, and then putting it into your website in a beautiful slide show at the front is great, so that as soon as they hit your home page they see the photography and they’re enthralled. That reduces bounce rate and that encourages them to browse through the remainder of the site.
Another example of good quality content is video. We have one client, Castle Marne, where the owner has a hobby of just taking video of his property and events that they have. That’s fun. It’s a fun way of just interacting with the guests that are on your home page, so that they can see a little bit about your personal bed and breakfast’s culture. People love video and people love photos. Those are great things to include on your home page.
The next is local information. Another aspect of good pertinent content for the home page is local information. At buuteeq, of course, we have the local weather and the local time. Those are both really important. Then it’s up to you. If you’re creating your home page and you’re putting in all of the information, you need to find things that are going on in your local community that you think that they may find important.
Here’s an example of, again, the Castle Marne. Tattered Cover Bookstore is just four blocks away and it has events. They’ve got links to the bookstore. You’re helping out the people in your community. These guys are offering a back link to a bookstore in their community and they’re encouraging their guests to go and visit that bookstore. In turn, I’m sure the bookstore would be encouraging their visitors to stay at the hotel or go to the hotel for breakfast.
This is a great way to not only improve your relationship with people in your community, but giving pertinent local information to the people who are on your website so that they can plan their adventure.
Next up is social. This is becoming increasingly important. What you see here is many different ways that social is integrated with a homepage. The reason social is important is for many reasons.
One is that a lot of people are going to social spaces in place of forums, newsletters and stuff like that. Social spaces like Facebook are starting to take over all of the other different methods of building community that used to exist in Web 1.0.
The second is that Google and other search engines take a look at your social significance in order to rank you. While it may be improper to say that for every “like” on Facebook your website gets, you go up a rank on Google or a search engine, that may not be true, but they certainly will take a look at your “likes,” and see how many tweets your website is getting, and how many Google+s your website is getting when deciding your importance. If you’re not that active in the social sphere, they may think that you’ve fallen off the map and they may not rank you very well.
Here’s an example of a number of different widgets that are on buuteeq websites. We, of course, have all of the “like” and “follow” and “Google +1″ interactions that Google will see and that fans will see to think, “Oh, this is a very popular and relevant website.” Then, of course, we’ve got Facebook feeds, TripAdvisor feeds so that people can see all of your wonderful reviews on TripAdvisor, Twitter feeds, and then a link to your Google+ profile.
The next is copy. Now, I said earlier that images and video are important, and they are incredibly important, but the primary thing that Google can see is copy. It’s the text on the page. They can see images a little bit, they can see videos a bit, but unless you’ve got high-quality and a lot of interesting and relevant copy on your home page, you’re going to be less likely to rank well on search engines.
Use all of the tools available to you with our buuteeq Back Office. We allow you to make headers, subheaders, bulleted lists, bold and italic styles, and then you can add images. To have a very diverse and interesting home page is not only better for SEO, but it’s better for the browser experience as well.
If a user goes onto your website and sees block after block of just boring text, they’re not going to read it. If you spice it up a little bit and just add to the readability by adding some text styles, throwing in some images, creating some links to other interesting things, they’re probably going to sit there and read it which will reduce your bounce rate.
Next up is search engine optimization. Now, this is a topic of concern for many bed and breakfast owners that I have had the wonderful opportunity to do a bunch of research on and talk with them about. Basically, search engine optimization is giving your website the best appearance that you possibly can. It’s putting your website’s best foot forward so that when Google sees it, it sees a lot of great content and then ranks you appropriately.
It’s not a magic bullet. It’s not some sneaky little trick that you can use. It’s just basically really good web design and putting really good, high-quality content on your website so that you can rank better on search engines. It includes all of the things we’ve already talked about, plus a few other things that we can do.
Here’s a short list of important things that you can do specifically for your home page to aid in your visibility on search engines. If you don’t have a domain name already, purchase a keyword-rich domain name.
What do I mean by keywords? Each hotel and bed and breakfast has their own set of keywords. The word “bed and breakfast” is a keyword, true, but so is your property’s name and location. Those are the primary keywords that you are going to want to target for. Make sure that your domain has those, that your header has those, and that the copy on your home page has that sprinkled around so that when Google goes to your homepage they say, “Oh, this is what this website is about. It’s about bed and breakfasts and this location.” They’ll help you rank better for that.
Having a meta title with all of your targeted keywords is really important. The same with your descriptions, 150 words or less, because Google doesn’t really look at these. These are for people to read.
Then keywords. You don’t want to keyword stuff. I would say six or fewer keywords should be added to your meta keyword field and then the rest of the keywords can just be judiciously spread along the rest of your page.
One primary header, multiple subheaders, and then write lots of quality content, and then, of course, social integration as we went over previously.
I’m going to hand this over to Karen now who is going to show you how you can use the buuteeq Back Office to do a lot of this stuff that I just showed. If you want to view this deck later, there is a link right here that you can check out and it’s available online. Karen, over to you.
Karen: Thank you,Brandon. Hello everyone. My name is Karen Salazar. I am the Customer Success Manager here at buuteeq. It has been such a pleasure working with some of you out there. I really look forward to working with more of you that are sitting out there.
I’m going to show you the buuteeq Back Office. That is where all the magic happens. The system is designed to allow you to completely manage and create your own digital marketing.
Of course, as some of you have experienced working with buuteeq, we are here to help out along the way. We do a lot of the heavy lifting in the initial stages. We will give you the tools and resources to empower you to continually manage your digital marketing so that the content always stays fresh and is always up to date, and that, if at any time you want to make any change to your website, that is always within your control. You can make those changes instantaneously, very quickly, very easily, and I will show you how to do that.
To start off, I will show you how to access the buuteeq Back Office. If you go to the buuteeq website, www.buuteeq.com, up at the top you will see a sign-in link. Here, you are brought to the buuteeq Back Office client log-in page. If you don’t know your log-in credentials, please contact as and we will send them to you.
When you log in, you are brought to the buuteeq Back Office. This allows you build all of your content that appears on your website, your mobile website, and your Facebook page.
Here in the buuteeq Back Office you will see a menu with four icons. This special icon is just for me as an employee, but you will see these four icons. For today we’re going to focus on this second icon here which is the marketing module. Under “Marketing,” I’m going to go to “Galleries” and go to “Home Page.” In the home page gallery, this is where you will be able to create all of the content that appears on your buuteeq website.
For this tutorial, I’m going to use a very fabulous website. This is the Hamilton House Bed and Breakfast inWisconsin. They do a very, very good job at using the buuteeq Back Office to make a wonderful presentation of photographs and content and to really give their guests a rich experience of what it would be like to stay at this beautiful bed and breakfast and to discover all of the amazing attractions and sites in Whitewater.
In the buuteeq Back Office, you’ll see here on the left-hand side there is a menu that allows you to add content that will be applied to the front end of the website. The slideshow is this main slideshow that appears here on the website. It’s a series of photographs that shuffles through automatically when guests first visit your website.
“Featured” is the content that appears below the fold which is below the slideshow. As we scroll down, this allows you to add content that describes your property, any announcements of events going on around your community, and to highlight anything special that you feel your guests would be interested in learning about.
“Widgets.” Widgets appear here next to the featured section on the right-hand side of your website. These are buttons that give guests information about weather, time, your TripAdvisor reviews, your Facebook feed, and your Twitter feed.
“Social Buttons.” Social buttons appear at the top of the website, your Facebook “likes,” your Twitter followers, TripAdvisor, and Google+.
“Badges.” Badges appear at the footer of your website. Here, you can select anything you would like. Typically they can be awards, or any organizations or associations in which you are a part of.
The last piece is the SEO setting, whichBrandonwill go through very shortly.
I’m going to go back to slideshow. Here, this is really going to be probably the most important part of your website because it’s going to be the first impression to your guests. You really want to wow them with great, amazing, high-resolution photography. Great photography is essential to your business, so please make an investment into getting professional, high-resolution photography.
Even if you can’t do that right now, we really recommend taking your own digital camera or even your smart phones, which have great technology on them now, that are going to take sufficient high-quality photos, if you don’t already have those available on your computer. We really recommend getting some really rich photography because that’s really what is going to draw a guest into your website and that’s going to compel them to click through and learn more about your property.
The way to create the slideshow is by going to the photos gallery. Here in the photos gallery you will see an “upload” button. When I click on “upload,” I’m able to grab photography that lives on my computer. Here can you see pictures. I was recently in thePhilippinesvisiting my parents. I’ll click “select one photo” of me and my family, upload photo, and I can see that I’m getting a progress report telling me that it’s complete. Now I have my photograph here in the library. There is no limit to how many photos you can have and the higher resolution, the better.
To create this home page slideshow, in the Back Office we refer to anywhere on your website where you have a series of photos that allows guests to click through, we call these groups. I’m going to create a new group and I’m going to call it “Home Page Slideshow.”
Adam: Karen, I’m going to rudely interrupt again with a couple of things. One is, being here inSeattle, of course, we are extremely envious of seeing any photographs taken in warm weather, as are many, many of our customers out there who are east of theMississippiand north of theMason-Dixon Line, so it’s very nice to see that photo.
Also, for our webinar we have commandeered the office of our Chief Experience Officer, Brad Becker, who is going to be in the background grabbing some things here. Brad is responsible for a lot of this easy-to-use content management system that so many of you are using around the world. Brad, do you want to say a quick hello to all of our customers who have joined for the webinar?
Brad: Hello out there. I hope you all are doing well. I am soon going to be traveling toItalymyself next week for vacation, so I’ll be appreciating the accommodations there. I hope that you’re enjoying both the software and the education that you’re getting right now. It’s nice to meet you all, so to speak.
Adam: Thank you very much, Brad. If you need to come in and grab your bags for your trip, please do so.
Brad: I’ll be as silent as an assassin.
Adam: Very, very good. Thanks, Brad.
Karen: Once I’ve uploaded all of the photography that I want for my home page slideshow or anywhere on my website that I want photography, I can select all of the images that I would like and then I can assign them to a group. I’m going to go ahead and assign it to that home page slideshow that I created. Now you’ll see over here that the number three indicates that I have selected three photographs that I would like for my home page slideshow.
Now, here in the photos gallery, I’ve prepared the slideshow and now I have to go back to the home page and actually assign it to the home page slideshow. Going back to the home page gallery, under “Slideshow,” you will see a button here that says “Select.” Here’s where I can select my home page slideshow that I created.
There are actually two options. You can select one static image if you would like or you can select a series of photos by clicking on the groups. I’ll go ahead and click on that group that we just created. There you can see is a photo that I uploaded. I can flip through and see the three different photographs. I can crop. I can change the speed at which these photos cycle through. For me personally, I like three or five seconds. That’s how you create the home page slideshow.
Next we’ll go to “Featured.” Featured, again, is all the content that lives below the home page slideshow. This is really where you have the opportunity to tell your unique story about your property, really give your guests that rich information that they’re interested in learning about, and to let them know what’s going on around your town. What’s something really interesting about your city? What’s something great about your culture?
Here in Featured, you’ll see multiple fields that allow you to add content. We have a title, short description, tagline, and then all the content. Throughout the Back Office, you will see this “Article Layout and Preview” menu and this is really where the magic happens. This is where you have all the freedom to really use your creativity to build that great-looking content and images. You have the opportunity to arrange them in a way that really tells and encompasses your story.
Each of these buttons here adds a certain element to your website. By clicking on this first button, this allows you to add photography. This first box allows you to add one landscape photo. Here you can add two photos side by side. Here you can add three images side by side, just like here on the Hamilton House website. Finally, this 1×1 allows you to maintain the aspect ratio of whatever image you are using.
H1 and H2 are the headers thatBrandonhad mentioned. This is a header. A subheader is bold text, just as this, but a little bit smaller.
Brandon: Let me just jump in to explain one more thing about the header tags. One of the major differences between the header and the subheader is that the header is wrapped in an H1 tag and the subheader is wrapped in an H2 tag. Google sees these to figure out what you think is most important. If you are wrapping text in a lot of H2 tags, they’re going to give precedence to that text when they try and decide what your website is about.
Putting great, descriptive keywords and key phrases in H2 text is really important. Then it’s also important to use no more than one H1 tag on your website just for SEO purposes.
Karen: The next button, “T,” allows you to add text. Do you have a question?
Brandon: Yeah. Go ahead and refresh this. We’re going to check this out. We’re trying to put this all together on a smaller screen than we’re usually used to so we have frames sliding off, but we got this. There you go.
Adam: You are undaunted, unafraid. Nothing can stop the customer success team.
Karen: Here in this text box, it’s very similar to a basic word processor like Microsoft Word. Here you can have bold text, italicize, underline, align left, centered and right, bulleted lists, numbered lists, etc.
The next button is “Image,” which is next to text. The next is a custom inquiry form. This allows you, say, for example, if you like to feature your wedding service at your hotel or inn, you can create a custom inquiry form where guests can enter their information and send you an inquiry of a date and time for which they would like to hold an event at your property. Another inquiry form for arrival and departure date.
Here you can have video. I know a lot of you have created YouTube videos or Vimeo videos. Here you insert video and embed code and just play video on your website. Here you can have PDF files. Finally, here you can have an image that will link to another website or it can link to another page within your own website.
I ran through these very, very quickly, but I want to point something out. Here in the Back Office, something that’s really great is that there is always going to be help resources that’s going to help you out and show you how to use everything in a very clear, easy, step-by-step manner, compliments of Brandon, who has created all of these really fantastic videos in the Back Office.
The neat thing about these videos is that no matter where you’re at in the Back Office, the video is going to correspond to wherever it is that you’re at. At any time, anywhere in the Back Office, please click on that video help and that will show you how to use that particular feature for Back Office.
Now that I’ve quickly gone through what each of these buttons do, I’m going to do a very quick demonstration of how this content will appear. I’m creating a header, and for headers we recommend putting something that either is the name of your property, the city in which you’re located, or some really great tagline to draw the guests in. It’s bold text. It should be compelling to the guest and, asBrandonsaid, it’s really good for SEO. I typically recommend putting the city and the state in which you’re located.
Brandon: Hotel name, location, and then type. If you’re a bed and breakfast, you do “bed and breakfast, the webinar, in the best place in the world,” wherever your location happens to be.
This is a sample home page that she’s putting together really quick using all of the different portions of this article editing tool.
Karen: Now you can see how quickly it was. Even though this is just a preview of the Back Office that you will see, the final version is going to look something like this. This will be the header, this will be the text, and these will be the images that you produce. As you can see, I did this in a matter of 25 seconds, very quick, very easy.
Don’t be afraid if you feel like you’ve made a mistake or you accidentally put a photo here and you didn’t want it there. Don’t worry about that because if I mouse over this element of the home page content, these orange arrows will appear. That will allow me to shift that piece up and down the page.
Adam: Karen, that brings us to an interesting question that one of our webinar attendees has offered to us and we’ve seen from a lot of webinars in the past. That is, can I really do all these things myself?
Karen, you’ve worked with thousands of hotels and inns all over the world, I think in more than a dozen countries. Can you just share a couple of stories as you go through the demo about how simple this is and what kind of computer skills one would need to have to be very successful using our Back Office?
Karen: Absolutely. From my experience so far, I have not worked with a client who had any significant tech education.
Adam: Not a lot of nerds.
Karen: Not a lot of nerds.
Adam: Not that we don’t love nerds. We have a lot of engineers who work with buuteeq. We love nerds.
Karen: I have worked with very many tech-savvy innkeepers and hotel owners. However, I have not worked with any professional developers or engineers. Many of these owners, when they first join with buuteeq, to be honest, the Back Office can be a little bit intimidating. Together, we went through quick tutorials just as we’re going through today. Once the site deploys, I have seen all of them manage their content, update regularly, add their own photography, and add their own text.
The feedback that I’m getting is that it’s actually pretty fun. It’s like an art project and very rewarding because in the initial stages it seemed like something so foreign, trying to learn another language. Now, it’s actually something they look forward to, putting new announcements on their home page. When a new season comes, taking some photography and showing the change in season to their guests. It’s been really great.
This is why I’m using Hamilton House as an example today. All of this content was created by the owner of this property. I’m pretty sure she’s not a professional developer. She’s done a great job. You can see, it might look complex from the front end. She used a lot of the elements, the images, the headers, the italicized words, and the links. With just a little bit of training and coaching, she’s really been able to optimize all of the rich features in the Back Office to create this very, very professional, very polished page for her guests.
Next, we’re going to go the Widgets. The Widgets appear on the right-hand side next to the content. These are buttons that give your guests information about what’s going on with your social media networks and also time and weather in your city.
The first Widget is weather. Throughout the Back Office, another thing you’ll see is this off and on switch. If it’s all gray, that means it’s off which means the weather module will not appear on the home page. If it’s orange, that means it’s on and the weather module will appear on the home page.
Here’s the weather module. There are two ways to activate the weather module. One is to type in your city name, choose Celsius or Fahrenheit, and then select “Preview.” When I update the Preview, this gives the wonderful weather here inSeattle. The second way to do that is to use weather by location. This is integrated with GPS technology to determine where you are located on the map. It will pull a more accurate reading of the weather because it’s using the GPS. Go ahead,Brandon.
Brandon: If your guest is browsing your website from a mobile device or if someone’s browsing from an iPad or something like that, for example, and they’re connected to GPS technology, the module will automatically detect where in the world they’re from and then give them the correct information based on where you’re at.
Karen: The reason why we have that option is that we have some of these really, really amazing properties that are out in the middle of the desert. You would never know unless someone told you about them. They’re just these great paradise places, but unfortunately they’re so off the map that they don’t actually register, for example, on Google Maps.
Oftentimes they have to use a neighboring city that’s a little bit larger and more well known to display weather information. That’s why we have those choices of either pulling from GPS or you can choose a city that’s nearby to reflect similar weather. Then once you’ve turned the weather module on, be sure to save.
This is the local time. It’s very simple and straightforward. Turn the local time module off and on. Here it’s on. You can choose your time zone, and then you can select when to turn Daylight Saving off and on.
Next is the “Quick Reservations” button. The Quick Reservations button is a module that’s integrated with the buuteeq booking engine. That will be for another webinar.
Next is the Facebook Widget. You have two options for the Facebook Widget. You can turn it on, on the home page only. Here is the Facebook. This will give you the live feed of your Facebook page. Or you can choose to turn it on, on “Article Pages.” Article Pages are essentially the pages that you create.
Here you can see in Hamilton House she’s elected to have her Facebook Widget only on the home page. However, had she turned it on, the Facebook Widget would appear here on the right-hand side.
One quick step on how to activate that Facebook Widget. If you go to this module right here, this is called the Settings Module. If you click on “info,” this will actually allow you to integrate your Facebook page, your Twitter page, TripAdvisor, and Google+.
If you scroll down, there are these fields here that allow you to insert your Facebook URL. I’m going to go ahead and take the buuteeq Facebook page, copy that, paste that, and save. Now, my Facebook page is integrated with the rest of my digital marketing. I’m going to go back to the home page and back to the Facebook Widget. I’m going to show on home page, and now I can see a Preview and show an article and I’ll save that. The same goes exactly for TripAdvisor and the same goes exactly for Twitter.
Just a quick review. I’m going to go to Settings, Info, scroll down to Social Domains, copy and paste your social domain URL, go back to Galleries home page, there is Twitter, and I’ll save that. Those are all the Widgets.
We have custom widgets that allow you to create your own button. Hamilton House did an excellent job of creating a custom widget to showcase her blog BandBLife. This is a photograph of her property with some text. When you click on her button, it brings you to her blog.
Next are the Social buttons. Again, the social buttons appear at the top of your website. This is really great because guests can see how many people “like” you on Facebook. They can choose to follow you on Twitter. They can check out your TripAdvisor reviews. Also if you have Google+ they can see.
Brandon: They can +1 you.
Karen: They can +1 you.
Brandon: Now, this is all great for not only showing your people who are going to stay at your hotel that you’re a popular property, that people have stayed there, they’ve liked you, and had a good time, but it tells Google that you’re relevant, that you still exist, and that people like you as well.
Karen: Anywhere you click on the website, those buttons will always remain at the top of the page. Here, again, you can choose to turn the Social buttons off and on.
Next are the Badges. You can place up to five Badges at the footer of your homepage. Actually, they appear anywhere. Again, just like the social buttons, they appear anywhere that you click on the website. When I scroll down, you can see where the badges live.
To create a badge, first turn the badge on and select an image that you would like from your library. A lot of you are part of these great organizations or you’ve received some distinctions over the years. Take a photo from your desktop computer and then upload it into the buuteeq Back Office, just as we did earlier from the photos library, again, by clicking upload, selecting the photo, and inserting it.
Here you can have a link to that association’s website or any URL, either another website or within your own website and save that. That will appear here as badges. The final piece is the SEO setting.
Brandon: This is an important part of the website that tells search engines information about your hotel. It’s easy to overlook, but it’s right there at the very bottom, SEO settings. Just click on the home page gallery module. You can type in your keywords and your description.
Now, the title of your home page is already placed within the info section of the of the settings module. When you put in your hotel name and your short description, this appears as the page meta title, which is important to know. In terms of the other aspects, you go to the home page, you scroll down, you go to the SEO settings, and this will allow you to put in keywords and put in your description.
Now, people may have been counseled to stuff in as many keywords as you can. That’s probably not the best advice. I would say no more than six keywords should go in here. They can be key phrases, too. TestBrandonHotel, even though that’s three words, that’s a phrase separated by a comma. You’re going to separate every single key phrase or keyword by a comma and have only about six of those. That way, you’ll have really important information and search engines won’t ding you negatively for over stuffing.
Google doesn’t really pay much attention to keywords a whole lot, but other search engines, like Bing, do.
The description, search engines won’t look at this. This is primarily just for human eyes. This pops up in the search engine results. When you go to a search engine, you type in the keyword that you’re looking for and you see the list of results, this is the text that appears directly beneath the link that takes you to that page.
You want this to be about 150 characters or less since there’s limited space on the search engine to show off your text. You want it to be really well written copy from a marketing perspective to convince guests to click on the link. It’s not for search engines. This is for human eyes only. Then you click save and you’re done.
This is everything you need to put together your home page. When done, you’re going to have something beautiful and amazing like this.
Adam: Karen and Brandon, I’ve seen another question come up about the home page. What about mobile home pages? We’ve seen that mobile is important more and more. Traffic is coming in through smartphones around the world. Could you comment a little bit on the general precepts of a mobile homepage versus the homepage that you’ve demonstrated here and what we do specifically to help with mobile?
Brandon: Absolutely. This is an open forum now. We’ve finished the presentation, so if anyone has questions, please use the chat box at the bottom to ask us any questions and we’ll do our best to answer them.
In terms of mobile, the nice thing about buuteeq DMS is all the information that you inserted into the buuteeq Back Office using this form not only appears in the beautiful web page like this, but it’s automatically synced to the mobile version of your website. All of the SEO settings you’ve done, all of the great copy, all of the beautiful images and links and everything, that all gets translated to the mobile version so that your mark in collateral is identical from every single channel that you publish on.
No need to hire somebody to create a mobile website for you or to create a Facebook app for you or an iPhone application or whatever. It’s all taken care of and synced together with the buuteeq DMS.
Karen: Just to add to that,Brandon, I do encourage you to check out one of our client’s websites on a smartphone. You will see that you are going to get a very good, easy-to-navigate, practical experience with the mobile optimized website.
If you’ve ever tried to access any other website that’s not been optimized from mobile, it’s very, very difficult. It’s not the best experience. Oftentimes, the text is much too small for anyone to read, unless you had a magnifying glass. The links are virtually impossible to click on. Generally, it’s just a frustrating experience.
With all of our clients, if you access their mobile sites, you will see large text, large links, very easy to click on. It delivers the same information but in a way that’s practical and sensible for a mobile device.
Brandon: All right. We have some questions in the chat. For some reason they’re incredibly tiny so it’s hard for me to see them. Susan is asking if we can post the address where you can access the slideshow again.
Absolutely. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to post the link to the slideshow on buuteeq’s Twitter stream directly after this webinar so you can watch it there. It’s public online. You can access it at any time to view the slideshow again.
This is a question about sharing slides. Yes, we will.
Susan is asking could you post… Oh, I believe she asked earlier what’s the resolution necessary for high-resolution photography? It varies, but basically you want it to be 300 dpi. I guess that’s not necessarily interesting for the web, but the highest you can go, I believe, is 1920×1080, and, I think, the smallest you can go is 720×480. Primarily what you want is not only large images. 720×480, I think, is a great size if you just want a basic size for that, but the quality of it is going to have to be good.
Sometimes we get images and photography from our clients that are kind of garbled or it’s pixilated because it was taken on an old camera or it’s been processed many times. While the image may be interesting, it’s not necessarily the best image we want for a website. What you really want is non-blurry, sharp-focused, great angle photography. You may need to go out and shoot some new photography. buuteeq can handle any resolution and size, almost any resolution and size of photography that you add.
Susan is asking why should only one H1 title tag be used on each page? That’s a great question. The reason for that is because search engine give high priority to your H1 tags. If you use more than one, it confuses them, especially if they’re different. It confuses them in that they think that you are either stuffing for keywords or that you don’t know what your own website is about. In order for them to be focused, they’ll give high precedence to your H1 tag, which basically should be your property type, bed and breakfast, or your property name or your property location.
Then, other tags, H2 tags after that should be other keywords that you want to target. Say you’re trying to target things in your local community that you think people will be searching for. Maybe there’s a system of caves nearby that you think tourists will be searching for. You can create an H2 tag that talks about those caves and then you will show up in the search results for that.
Karen: We had another question here. The question is how do you change the color of your print? I’m going to go ahead and assume by print you’re referring to the text that appears on the home page.
We’ve discovered through much research and just from industry best practices that putting lots of different colors for different text is pretty confusing and kind of an eyesore to a lot of guests and it makes for a pretty poor experience.
Brandon: Browsers have been trained over time to see different colored text as being a link. If you place multiple different colors of text on your home page content, you’re going to confuse the browser and they’re going to hover over things saying, “Wait, is this a link? No. Is that a link?” That doesn’t mean that you can’t have an interesting color for your text. You can. Maybe a gray color or a lighter color or whatever. You just need to be consistent throughout the site. Have one color for your copy, the main text, and then another color for your links.
Karen: Another question here about the Quick Reservation feature. The question is, does the Quick Reservation feature integrate with other reservation systems, for example, Webervations. The Quick Reservation module, which is turned off now on this particular site, if a guest clicks on the Quick Reservation module, it will direct to any third party booking engine which you’re currently using. Yes, for Webervations reservations, etc.
The reason why we say the Quick Reservations module is integrated with the buuteeq booking engine is that there is a calendar feature there that allows guests to select the dates that they intend on staying with you and to click reserve. From there, they’ll be directed to the buuteeq booking engine and they will see room availability for those specific dates in which they selected.
Currently, if you are not on the buuteeq booking engine system, what will happen is that a guest will select the dates and then they will just be directed to whichever third party booking engine that you’re using now.
Brandon: Jenny says, “Can you substitute widgets? For example, change the TripAdvisor for the BedandBreakfast.com widget?” No, you can’t do that right now. We’ve created specific widgets for specific services right now. Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor. The topic of BedandBreakfast.com has come up in the past and it’s something we’re considering implementing in the future, but it’s not quite available yet.
The next one is from John. He asks, I was wondering if you could craft text in Microsoft Word and then paste it into a featured article in buuteeq? No. You can but you’ll lose all of the formatting. If you use Microsoft Word to craft a document and you do a lot of custom formatting, like headers and all of that, if you copy it and then paste it into the text in Busteeq, you’re probably going to lose a lot of that formatting.
What I would recommend is make sure it’s spelled correctly and that it looks good and you’ve got all the paragraphs done in Microsoft Word, then when you import it into the buuteeq Article Editor, do all of your stylizations, your linking, your header tags, and all of that within the article builder itself so that you don’t have to do double amounts of work.
All right. We’ve got a lot of great questions here. We’re going to try to flip through them.
Karen: There’s another question here from Larry. Is all of this optimized for Mac users?
Brandon: Oh, yes. Absolutely. It’s definitely optimized for Mac users. One of the wonderful things about the DMS is that it works fantastic on all mobile devices, including the iPhone, the iPad, Android phones, and future phones. Any web browser that you can access, whether it’s Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Google Chrome, whether it’s from the PC or Mac, it does work fine.
There was another question up here about H1 tags. John is asking, only one H1 tag per page or is it per site? It’s per page. Uou can have as many H1 tags as you want on the website. Just make sure you have one H1 per page. That’s just best practice. If you have more than one, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s better to have only one.
Someone else is asking how many H2 tags can you have per page? As many as you want, really. Again, Google’s and Bing’s algorithms look for overstuffing of keywords, so you don’t want every single line to be an H2 tag with your keywords stuffed in because that’s not really high quality content.
These are just tips and tricks using H1 tags, H2 tags, and bold text. That’s all really great tools that you can help show Google what your website is about. The most important thing is to write for your guests, not specifically for Google. You’re making sure that you’re delivering quality, pertinent content to them that is readable that they can understand. While you’re creating that, keep in mind the SEO tips and tricks that you’re learning but don’t write specifically for those.
Karen: Kathleen asked how often should home page copy be changed?
Brandon: That’s a very good question. Search engines do give preference to websites that are updated frequently. There are no hard dates on how often it should be changed. My gut instinct would be depending on the website. Blogs, for example, should be changed once or twice a week. If you have a blog, you need to be dedicated to updating it once or twice a week. Google is going to understand if you don’t have a blog.
If you’ve got a website that’s for a specific service and your service isn’t changing, they’re not going to expect you to go on and make a minute change every 24 hours or something like that.
The nice thing about hotels is since each season is completely different and you’ve got new promotions and new properties or whatever, my suggestion would be to only update your home page when you have a new promotion to show off, you’ve got some great holiday event that you’re talking about, or a new show has come into town. You’ll want talk about that.
Update your home page when something worth updating has arrived. Sometimes that can be once a week, depending on where you are. Sometimes it’s only once a month. I think that that’s probably going to be all right. However, if you do leave your home page alone to stagnate for a year or more, then that will significantly harm you in search results over time.
Adam: We have time for one more question.
Brandon: All right. One more question. Let’s see which one do we want to answer?
Karen: Let’s see. I’m just going down the list here.Laurelasked, does any group make a scrolling slideshow and can they be placed on any page? Again, a group is a series of photos that allows a guest to click through and see the different photos. The answer is that they can be placed on any custom article that you create.
Brandon: One moment. We’re organizing our space here. There we go.
Karen: Yes, a group of photographs can live anywhere where you have created a custom page. There are three very key important elements to your website which we’ve said time and time again, which are your rooms page, your photos page, and your locations page. Those are the three sections that are special. They have their own elements on that page.
However, everything else that you customize, the cycling page, things to do, notes to the innkeeper, you are able to create a series of photos or a group, again, as it’s referred to in the Back Office. You can place that here on that page and then guests would be able to click through those series of photographs.
Brandon: All right. I believe that is it for questions right now. You all had fantastic questions, and we’re always available on the phone or on social spaces or whatever. What I’m going to do is we’ve been recording this broadcast, so I’m going to create a little video and I’m going to post it up on our buuteeqUniversity. I’ll share that link on Facebook and Twitter when it’s all done.
The slideshow is, of course, online, so you can watch that. I’ll be sure to share those links on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Follow us on Twitter. It’s Twitter.com/buuteeq. Facebook.com/buuteeq. You will find all of the links from this webinar when we’ve got them published.
Adam: Brandon, along those lines with our social media, as we see, it’s 11:00 Pacific. We want to wrap up here right on time. As the Oscar credits roll and we get the hook off the stage, three things. First of all, with that social media, for topics that you want to see addressed, please do follow us on Twitter, “like” us on Facebook, and let us know those topics. We don’t want to create these in a bubble.
Karen and Brandon do much better when you give them some material to work with. We’ve got a number of different topics. Our New Year’s resolution as a customer success team at buuteeq is to make sure we are addressing things that matter for you.
Secondly, use those media to share what kinds of industry events you’d like to see us at. We do get on a plane now and then. We’re going to be at the PI event later on this month. We’re going to be at ITB Berlin overseas in March. We are going to be at a number of other events. Let us know what events matter to you and we’ll be sure to take a look at those. We cannot promise to attend all of them, but we’d like to attend as many as we can.
Finally, thank you very much, Karen and Brandon, for taking your time. You’re very, very busy. We really appreciate it. Everyone, if you can give them a little digital applause, that would make a big difference.
Karen: Thank you.
Adam: They worked very, very hard to produce this first webinar in our series.
Most importantly, thanks to all of us out there. We’re very grateful for your time, your energy. Again, on a super busy Friday, it means a whole lot to us to be with you today. We look forward to working with you. If you need to praise or share a question, either Karen or Brandon, they are Karen@buuteeq, Brandon@buuteeq and I am Adam@buteeq.
Also, we have a new alias called Help@buuteeq which is a great, general purpose inbound for questions that we would all be delighted if you would use as often as you would like. We love hearing from you.
Thank you all very much and have a great weekend.
buuteeq Webinar - The Homepage by Brandon M. Dennis