Website Critique


  • MyVR Employee

    I wondered if anyone would be interested in sharing their websites to receive some constructive criticism / and or design tips from myself and the community? If nothing else it's always inspiring to see what other people are doing...


  • Leader

    I'm game, but I'd prefer to wait on my own until I've made some of my pending changes and am ready to react to the suggestions. But I'm up for participating.


  • Explorer

    @Tristan-Brotherton Would love feedback on my site from you and the community in general. I plan to make some update over the next couple months so receiving some feedback now will help focus those efforts. I'd like to receive some tips on how to add more video to my video page and potentially adding a local weather widget.

    All feedback, tips and constructive criticism are welcome... my feelings do not get hurt easily, so don't hold back - just looking for ways to improve.

    My condo, Mango Sunsets, web site is MangoSunsets.com

    Thanks -- Matthew


  • MyVR Employee

    Hi Matthew,

    First impression. I love it! These templates work really well with logos, and I love your logo.
    As an optional enhancement, you could move your font to the right, to make your brand more readable:
    0_1477074800396_upload-2f8b39c6-5e41-479c-914f-03f3e23191ae

    You've got a lot of good details under the about section, and I like the family touch under your about section.

    I noticed under your local info section, you don't have a description. You can add that under your property - Location and local area section.

    All in all though, I'm really impressed. Nice job!


  • MyVR Employee

    @Matthew-Giles, I agree with Tristan. You are using that template very well! My only advice is to use larger photos. Your photos are roughly 765x510 pixels and appear slightly blurry on my computer. As @Bill-Zeller mentioned in The Best Orientation, Resolution, and Format for Property Photos, a good resolution to aim for is 2,000 pixels in each dimension. I would say at minimum you should have photos that would fill an HD television: 1920x1080 pixels


  • Leader

    LOVE IT! AND...I learned that you are also in PCB! I'm at the west end of PCB at the Calypso and Pier Park! Meanwhile - you've done a master job with your local info and a few other items that are still on my "to do" list. Your photos are great too! You have a website to be proud of!


  • Explorer

    Your condo and your web site are beautiful. The only thing I saw that "needs improvement" is the quality (i.e. size) of your photos, already noted above. I would leave out the pic of the beach bar unless you can go much higher resolution. These photos look like they were shot professionally – do you have access to the original files? I think MyVR's Large Photo template is their most eye-catching (it's all about the visuals). Maybe I'll migrate to that template after I improve the quality of my own photos!

    Further on the Recommendations page, all the info is culled off the web by third parties (Yelp, Eventful, Yipit respectively). The Deals tag really only works for urban areas and you can remove it as described here.

    Incidentally, what field did you use to enter all those great details about your rates (parking, etc)?

    And bravo for being the first to put yourself out there!


  • Explorer

    @Danny-Eiden said in Website Critique:

    @Matthew-Giles, I agree with Tristan. You are using that template very well! My only advice is to use larger photos. Your photos are roughly 765x510 pixels and appear slightly blurry on my computer. As @Bill-Zeller mentioned in The Best Orientation, Resolution, and Format for Property Photos, a good resolution to aim for is 2,000 pixels in each dimension. I would say at minimum you should have photos that would fill an HD television: 1920x1080 pixels

    Appreciate the feedback @Danny-Eiden. I agree that larger resolutions photos are needed. I hope to have some new ones later this month.


  • Explorer

    @Jenny-Oest said in Website Critique:

    LOVE IT! AND...I learned that you are also in PCB! I'm at the west end of PCB at the Calypso and Pier Park! Meanwhile - you've done a master job with your local info and a few other items that are still on my "to do" list. Your photos are great too! You have a website to be proud of!

    Thanks @Jenny-Oest! And "hi" to a fellow PCB neighbor. This is my first condo. We bought it in February of this year so I'm just finishing my first rental season. So far so good. It exceeded all my expectations. Looks like you've been at this for awhile. Would love any tips you can provide on marketing to your past guests so I do not have to start from scratch each season.


  • Explorer

    @Tristan-Brotherton said in Website Critique:

    Hi Matthew,

    First impression. I love it! These templates work really well with logos, and I love your logo.
    As an optional enhancement, you could move your font to the right, to make your brand more readable:

    You've got a lot of good details under the about section, and I like the family touch under your about section.

    I noticed under your local info section, you don't have a description. You can add that under your property - Location and local area section.

    All in all though, I'm really impressed. Nice job!

    Thanks for the feedback @Tristan-Brotherton. I will look at creating an alternate version of my logo to put the text on the right. Appreciate the suggestion. I have also updated my local info section based on several comments I received. I like it much better now.


  • Explorer

    @Ann-D-Liptak said in Website Critique:

    Your condo and your web site are beautiful. The only thing I saw that "needs improvement" is the quality (i.e. size) of your photos, already noted above. I would leave out the pic of the beach bar unless you can go much higher resolution. These photos look like they were shot professionally – do you have access to the original files? I think MyVR's Large Photo template is their most eye-catching (it's all about the visuals). Maybe I'll migrate to that template after I improve the quality of my own photos!

    Further on the Recommendations page, all the info is culled off the web by third parties (Yelp, Eventful, Yipit respectively). The Deals tag really only works for urban areas and you can remove it as described here.

    Incidentally, what field did you use to enter all those great details about your rates (parking, etc)?

    And bravo for being the first to put yourself out there!

    Great feedback @Ann-D-Liptak! My pictures were professional but from the previous owner. We bought earlier this year and the previous owner would not hunt down the originals. All he had access to was the medium resolution images. My plan is to get a new set done in the next month so I can improve the quality (plus we've made some improvements since the originals were taken). I did remove the beach bar as you suggested.

    I've been wanting to remove several of the sections in the Local/Recommendations page. I did not know that there was a section to turn off some of those features. Tonight I removed everything but the map with my location and my owner recommendations. I like it better already. Thanks for that tip!

    As to your question... The field I used for the details on the rates is called the rental rates description. Go to SETUP > PROPERTIES > RENTAL RATES and the scroll down under the rates to find the RATES DESCRIPTION block. Anything you enter here will show up in the corresponding block on the RATES page of your web site with this template.

    Thanks again for your tips and feedback.


  • Leader

    @Matthew-Giles

    My best advice to attract repeat guests (and I have quite a few) is to appear professional, but be slightly personal, year round. In other words, in addition to the stellar professionalism and experience that your guest has on the first visit, know your guest well enough to know which market they are in and what attracts them. Then do some personal follow up. I'm working to make sure my quarterly newsletters include something for each general type of guest too. My guests are starting to follow my social media and blog to stay connected to PCB. One more thing - if you can't book them - help them find someone who has what they want in your network. Then you will be their first point of contact every year. 🙂

    On a separate note - I have a great professional photographer in PCB so when you're ready for the pictures, you should check them out. It's Emerald Beach Photography. I don't get referral rewards other than goodwill, but do let them know I referred you if you contact them. Erin, Will, and Jason are all excellent and know exactly how to shoot these views. Amanda Harris does their scheduling: scheduling@ecrep.co

    I'll be in PCB this weekend through mid Nov, so if you're there we should meet for a drink and a chat!


  • Explorer

    @Jenny-Oest said in Website Critique:

    @Matthew-Giles

    My best advice to attract repeat guests (and I have quite a few) is to appear professional, but be slightly personal, year round. In other words, in addition to the stellar professionalism and experience that your guest has on the first visit, know your guest well enough to know which market they are in and what attracts them. Then do some personal follow up. I'm working to make sure my quarterly newsletters include something for each general type of guest too. My guests are starting to follow my social media and blog to stay connected to PCB. One more thing - if you can't book them - help them find someone who has what they want in your network. Then you will be their first point of contact every year. 🙂

    On a separate note - I have a great professional photographer in PCB so when you're ready for the pictures, you should check them out. It's Emerald Beach Photography. I don't get referral rewards other than goodwill, but do let them know I referred you if you contact them. Erin, Will, and Jason are all excellent and know exactly how to shoot these views. Amanda Harris does their scheduling: scheduling@ecrep.co

    I'll be in PCB this weekend through mid Nov, so if you're there we should meet for a drink and a chat!

    Thanks for the repeat guest advice @Jenny-Oest . Appreciate it.

    I was not aware of Emerald Beach Photography. I looked them up and I like their work samples. Will have to check out their pricing to see how they compare for a 1BR/2BA shoot.

    I'm probably going to be in PCB the first weekend in November. If those plans pan out, I'll reach out to you so we can meet up. Thanks!


  • Explorer

    I would love some input on our site: rental.clearlakeinvestment.com if anyone has time.

    Our site is still relatively new so we are still constantly making changes, but any ideas would be most appreciated!

    Chad


  • MyVR Employee

    @Chad-Service I think your site is off to a great start. The thing that sticks out to me the most is that you have a ton of great content already. Between the blog and all the pages you've set up, you have a lot of different avenues to bring guests (and owners) in.

    Two thoughts on possible improvements:

    1. Logo: This is a nitpick, but having a transparent (instead of white) background on the logo would make it work better on the header because the header is transparent as well. It would also make it so that your logo could be placed on all sorts of different background colors.

    2. Homepage: This one is a little bigger. As mentioned, I think you have great content, but I think it might be a bit overwhelming it how it is arranged. A few thoughts:

    • Consolidating the Featured Properties list and the Our Premium Properties list could simplify things a bit. As a guest, I am not sure I would understand how they are different from each other. Also, each list is quite long, so scrolling down makes me think that all properties are special (like participation awards 🙂 ).
    • Having the map at the top showing each unit would make sense to me if the location of the individual units is very important in the guest decision making process. Since each of these units is very near the other, does that apply in your case? I don't know the particulars of how guests operate in your area, but I don't feel I gain too much zooming in and seeing all the properties on the same couple streets.
    • If your properties are all fairly similar units, advertising the general area and amenities at a high level could be a good idea. For that reason, if you have high quality photos you can use in your slideshow, I could see bringing that up higher and having it larger than just the left column.

    To reiterate, I do not know the particulars of your area, how guests find you, what they are looking for, etc. Just a few things that stuck out at first glance from a non-expert on Clear Lake 😄


  • Explorer

    @Chad-Service Yes, transparent logos are better. Remove the corners but keep the white background inside the blue ring.

    As Markus points out, your Home page would benefit from streamlining. On closer look the Featured and Premium lists are the same 17 properties, which are shown a third different way on the Properties page. Here’s what I’d suggest to tighten up the design.

    I would consolidate the Nav Bar (via Edit Design / Navigation) to 6 tabs: Home – Amenities – Pet Friendly – Handicap Accessible – Local Blog – Contact. It's standard to put Blog + Contact at the end. Your About page is very brief, so unless you plan to significantly expand it, move those few lines onto the Home page. And since anything you click on the Home page brings up the Properties page, I don’t think Properties needs a separate link.

    Anyone know how to edit the Footer links? Your 4 Amenities pages are all listed as Aquatics and I don’t know how to fix that. If it is possible to modify this section, keep the link to Properties here, remove About (if unused), put 'Contact' last.

    Seems like your customers already know where Branson is, so you don’t need the big map up front. Each condo’s page already includes its own map of the Branson area, plus there's a beautiful map on the Map View search (although you should increase its default zoom level by +3).

    Thus if you take out what’s not needed (duplicate list and map) and emphasize what’s good (site amenities and photos) your Home page could be more compact, less busy, still colorful. I haven’t used the multi-property template, but I presume there’s an option for a 2-column arrangement, and that you can choose white vs black bars for photo details? Whatever layout you settle on, your Pet and Handicap pages should look consistent. Is it possible to toggle off the location tag on every index photo? Visual clutter. Just state on Home page that you’re in Branson, MO.0_1477881031447_ClearLakeIdea.jpg

    Photos are all-important and yours are mostly fantastic, with a few fixable exceptions. Unit #24-6 needs professional attention. Date stamps on your outdoor pool pics aren't a good idea as they'll quickly look less-than-new. I’d recommend reviewing all of your properties' views of the lake and bbq areas – no photo of the Ozarks should show a naked gray landscape, and now is the perfect time to reshoot!


  • Explorer

    Thank you for all the feedback. Will look into making the suggested changes!

    Chad


  • Explorer

    @Jenny-Oest @Danny-Eiden @Ann-D-Liptak

    I recently had new photos taken based on everyone's feedback. They are now updated on my web site at MangoSunsets.com. Take a look and let me know your thoughts on them. I'm pleased with the results and hope they will help with my marketing for the upcoming season. Thanks @Jenny-Oest for the Emerald Coast Photography referral. I used them (specifically Will) for these pictures. I was definitely impressed with their entire operation.


  • MyVR Employee

    @Matthew-Giles Wow, that made a big difference! That first photo showing the view is impressive - so impressive that I actually thought it was taken by a drone. You might want to add the condo is on the 12th floor in your homepage tagline 🙂


  • Leader

    @Matthew-Giles
    They look awesome!! Sorry we didn't connect in November. Maybe in March?


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