Last week, I did website evaluations in a Workshop at the Food and Wine conference in Orlando. As I was telling them what could be improved on their websites, I realized that the same could be said for my old Urban Oasis Bed and Breakfast website. I told them that I really had no room to talk since I was guilty of the same infractions, and that I was going to go home and fix my site. I always say that my Bed and Breakfast site is my step-child website; the one that never gets enough attention from bad mommy.
When I got back to town, my team went to work to change that. Michael put together a site design with an updated look and feel. I hate to admit it, but he had to fight with me tooth and nail about a lot of the changes. I understand how my clients feel about changing their sites, it is hard to give up things that you’ve lived with for a while, but it becomes necessary to give up our blankies to keep up with the times.Here is the old Urban Oasis website.
Here is a screenshot of the new Urban Oasis Bed and Breakfast website which is now live at UrbanOasis.com–check it out!
- Use a clean, white or cream blog theme with good typography so that your images take center stage.
- Like clothing, theme designs go out of fashion every few years. Don’t be wearing your 2004 outfits.
- Draw people into your posts with full posts and large images rather then using teaser posts on the home page.
- Keep your logo and header on the small side so you don’t take up so much of your above the fold real estate.
- The navigation bar works best under your header.
- Sliders may cause the site to load slowly and people won’t wait around to read them. Use a static images or a couple of slides to set a mood but don’t bury anything important in the third slide.
- Use full-posts on your home/blog page rather than automatic excerpts. Then you can insert a “read more” tag where you choose to have the content break.
- If you have a lot of images from an event, add a couple of full size images with the text and then add a gallery of images at the bottom of the post.
- Move your social media Follow buttons to a footer widget so people read your content before leaving your site to go to Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest.
- Changed my theme from an old shaky version of Thesis Theme to the StudioPress Genesis framework customizing the Metro Pro child theme. Using the child theme makes it really easy to update the theme in the future without losing customizations.
What do you think about the changes? Do you agree? Does your site need a do-over?
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