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Is Your Web Design All Style and No Substance?

It’s been a busy 2 weeks in our Sales Department, and we are finding more and more Innkeepers looking to save $$$ in our current economy.  But, cutting corners on your online marketing is not a healthy way to do it.  There has been a recent influx of calls from Innkeepers that chose a company that produces Stylish Designs, but have found that there is no Substance in place for ongoing marketing.  In fact, they’ve “disappeared” off the face of “Google’s” earth.

And as they say, a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, so I’ve put together the following two images. 

1 – What absolutely MUST be included in a New Design to keep current in today’s online world. 
IE: Do NOT settle for just the pretty package.
2 – What needs to be done on an ongoing basis to keep your new design working for you. 
IE: So you can be found, and guests can book rooms.

Remember:  YOU CAN LEARN to do the ongoing work, and save yourselves thousands of $$$ by simply learning how.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PAY a professional to keep your marketing going, unless, of course, you really want to.  The important thing to remember is that ALL these items have to be accomplished by someone.  You can’t leave them out and expect to grow your online presence. 

Finally, it makes me so sad to see Innkeepers continue to close their doors due to financial issues, when on the flip side I see other Innkeepers who have embraced today’s marketing requirements, commit to learning what to do to increase ROI and flourish as they never have before.  And some of these Innkeepers have been in business for more than a decade.  It CAN BE DONE.  But you must first start with making the right decisions on your Web Presence.  And I can’t reiterate this enough.  It’s not all about the Stylish Package.  If there is no Substance, your placement will suffer.

If you are currently considering a new design PLEASE make sure you cover each of these topics as part of your estimate and bid process.  If they haven’t been discussed, and aren’t included, request they be added to the bid.  Make sure that what is being offered is backed up by verifiable Proof.  Proof of Placement.  Proof of Increased Revenue.  Proof.  And don’t forget to get references!  Finally, if you plan to DIY the ongoing maintenance, make sure that there is an Educational Program in place to teach you what you need to do. 

Lisa Kolb
Acorn IS
President and Co-Founder
Lisa Kolb President and Co-Founder Acorn Internet Services

“The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking places.”

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Both Pie Charts were based on the number of hours / cost per topic.  The larger the section, the more time / cost was included in that line item. Once an Innkeeper is fully trained to DIY (Do It Yourself), it takes about 1 hour a day minimum (Monday - Friday) to keep up with all the tasks thus increasing your ROI. 

Web Site Design
All the bells and whistles of a new design including professional photography.
DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: 30-45 minutes a month updating Rates, Photography etc.

On-Page SEO

Metas, Content, Internal Links, Local Integration, etc.
DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: Updating Innkeepers Corner Box, Specials etc.

Off-Page SEO

In-Bound Link and Citation Work
DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: 30-60 minutes a month to build quality In-Bound links and Citations

Local Places
Setup / Clean Up work for both Google and Non-Google Place Accounts.
DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: 30-60 minutes a month to update photos, videos, notes and coupons.

Social Media
Setup and Integration of  Social Media applications into the Web site and Blog.

  • DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: Twitter + 5 minutes a day / 5 days a week
  • DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: Facebook + 5 minutes day / 5 days a week
  • DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: Google Plus + 5 minutes a day / 5 days a week (Future)

Initial Setup and Integration to site domain.
DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: 1 hour a week to write and Post SEO Friendly Blog Content

Newsletters & Press
Initial Setup and Integration into Web site and Blog

  • DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: 1 hour a month for “Working” Press Leads
  • DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: 1 – 2 hours a quarter for writing and sending Newsletters

Statistics Install and Review
Initial Setup and Integration of Google Analytics for Web site, Blog and Mobile
DIY Ongoing Review: Minimum 45 minutes a month

Mobile Design and Hosting
Mobile Site Design, Proper Hosting Install and Integration to Web site and Blog
DIY (or Professional) Ongoing: Review of Statistics Minimum 15 minutes a month

Hosting and E-Mail
Backups, CMS updates, correct URL and Mobile pointers, HTACCESS file install, XML sitemap install, E-Mail Installation on PC / Phone, etc.
Professional Ongoing: Daily Backups, Support as needed.

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