Author Topic: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website  (Read 4071 times)

LadyStache in Baja

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Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« on: May 17, 2016, 12:35:02 PM »
Hello Mustachians!

I'm working on my website for my vacation rental in Baja Mexico.

Any advice?!  What do you guys think so far?

http://mycasacaoba.com

Does it make you want to a) visit my town, and b) stay in my rental?

Updated: ok, thanks for all the help, what do you think of it now?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 11:59:07 AM by LadyStache in Baja »

AmandaS1989

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2016, 12:45:31 PM »
It looks very professional. I like the calendar where you can see available dates and the rate schedule as well.

neo von retorch

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2016, 12:47:29 PM »
Two minor quibbles - the top navigation and side navigation are different (on some sites they are redundant) which is fine, but the right navigation is "hidden by default" which I'm not a fan of. I find it very fiddly to have to "carefully hover" to see what those links would take me to if I clicked them. Yes, you can just scroll, but if that's what you expect the user to do, why have a hidden navigation as well?

The other is just that a few of the images aren't high enough resolution/quality to be used as backgrounds. They look very pixelated.

Others, nice design and the photos are attractive and compelling!

dandarc

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2016, 12:59:21 PM »
neogodless nailed it.  If you're going to go with GIANT IMAGES, you need good resolution.  Navigation also needs to be clear and easily accessible.

I personally hate this trend where there is virtually no information visible on the screen initially and just a giant picture, but enough are doing it that I guess it is an acceptable design these days.  When I switch to a mobile portrait view, the site is way more appealing to me visually - not a fan of the larger-screen-size (or even landscape-orientation phone) overall design though.

dandarc

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2016, 01:03:01 PM »
Also - in phone / landscape mode, you've got an image, a home link, and an apparently broken Menu button.  I say apparently broken because the menu actually displays below the image when you click the menu button, but there isn't any clear indication that you have to scroll to see the links.

See attached image for reference.

dandarc

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2016, 01:09:36 PM »
So to summarize:

Large Screen = functional, but I personally don't like the design.

Small Screen - Portrait = Good.  This is the best way to view your site, IMO.

Small Screen - Landscape = non-functional, IMO.  Technically functional, but you've got a "text below the fold problem" that makes it look like your site is just that one picture and nothing else.  Don't make your user have to scroll to see the menu ever.

As far as content, I think you're doing very well there - not too much, not too little, clear and concise.  Just the layout needs some thought.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2016, 01:15:23 PM »
Thanks so much guys!  About the image resolution.... I have a very low resolution chromebook so I'm not seeing the pixelating you guys are seeing.  Thanks for cluing me in!  How embarrassing!

neogodless, yes, I'd actually like to just take those diamonds out, and just expect the user to scroll.

dandarc, thanks for the critiques, I'll take another look at the menu on my phone.   I think the appeal in this design for the creator is being able to tell a story.  The user just scrolls through, and reads the panels in the order the author wants.  But again, I'll look at it on my phone in landscape.  Thank you!

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2016, 01:17:08 PM »
dandarc, aha, I see what you're saying about it being apparently broken!  Thanks!

catccc

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2016, 01:31:22 PM »
I know so many small biz sites with this wordpress format.  It's not my favorite, but that's probably just personal preference.  The text rolling across the images drives me a little crazy.  That said, the place looks great, your family looks like an awesome group of hosts, and I totally want to take my family there.

notactiveanymore

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2016, 01:32:05 PM »
Hoping my attachment works, I've never tried before!

On my standard size dell desktop, the top menu seems to be wrapping onto a second line. The template may be set up only to go so far across the screen. In that case, I'd probably alter the link titles to make them shorter. Just saying "accommodations" is probably sufficient since you've got Casa Caoba on the upper left side already.

Is the "Life in Todos Santos" going to be mainly a blog? I'd probably just call it "Blog" if that is the case.

I agree with the scrolling sites dislike that a previous poster mentioned, but it's not inappropriate for this function. I think you definitely need to do a bit more thought about what needs to go on your main top menu. For me, those things should be: Accommodations, Your Hosts, Rates, and Book Now.

Gimesalot

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2016, 02:31:57 PM »
One thing I see right off the bat is that you need to work on the font selection a bit.  There is too much that is the same font in different sizes and that doesn't really make sense.  Also the script-style font doesn't really seem to pair well with the serif font chosen.  Also, the fact the content doesn't change means you don't need to font to change. 

The rate page font is not good.  Too bold, bright, out of place.  I would make this smaller and a different color.  Then I would use this sans-serif font to replace the serif font throughout the website.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2016, 03:01:58 PM »
Thank you Gimesalot, so specific!!  Will do. 

Thanks also Theotheralisa, great menu advice.  I will rename Life in Todos Santos to Blog, as you suggest, but I think I have to keep it in the main menu because otherwise how will people find it?  I could just have it linked to on the About page I suppose.

former player

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Re: Critique my new website
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2016, 03:11:44 PM »
I only took a quick look, but it did raise one question: where in the world are you?  Add a map, perhaps? Or at least a full address.

What is available for food (restaurants? shopping and cooking?) and how far away from the beach are you?

Other than that, I was quite taken with the pictures of your accommodation (2 "m"s in accommodation, by the way).


LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2016, 12:01:01 PM »
Thanks so much for the constructive criticism.

dandarc and others who hated the theme, gosh, i started to be repulsed by the theme after a while, too!  lol.  I think it looks a lot more professional now.  Thanks!

former player I'm going to emphasize the location, with a map.  We're in Baja Sur Mexico by the way, an hour north of Cabo.  Thanks!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2016, 12:25:25 PM »
The white text on the sun shining through cactus quills makes some letters hard to read.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2016, 12:42:34 PM »
Thanks Shrug, I made the text bigger and more concise. 

neo von retorch

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2016, 12:48:52 PM »
I really appreciate your updates! Focus on the good stuff, easy to navigate, actionable call outs for booking/calling. Looks clean. All photos except the beach/horseback one look high quality on my screen. The About down arrow is slightly fiddly but acceptable :)

peoria

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2016, 12:54:35 PM »
The picture of the bed makes the mattress look sunken in a bit to me.
A bad mattress can make a stay not so fun, so I am always checking the beds out in pictures.

If the mattress is not truly that way, you may want to retake the picture. It would stop me from staying there. 

« Last Edit: May 19, 2016, 01:00:24 PM by peoria »

tralfamadorian

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2016, 01:30:12 PM »
Retaking the bedroom pictures would be a good idea; they are the only ones taken at night and it makes the room feel dark. 

Also, there are no pictures or direct mention of the home on the landing page save for the accommodations link.  Maybe consider incorporating "the beauty of baja" into "the neighborhood" section and having a link/picture to the home there?  Also, staged photos work.  Kitchen table set with a delicious dinner and a candle.  The outside porch set with coffee and breakfast.  It seems corny but these things work.  A floorplan picture would be nice as well.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2016, 07:23:14 AM »
The photos don't really do it for me. On the "Accommodations" page, why start out with two zoomed-in pics of the sink? (The sink is not high up on my list of priorities when looking for a place to stay.) And nearly all of the photos feel too zoomed in to me. Can you zoom out so I can get a feel for how this place will look and feel like "home" for the short time I'm there? It looks nice and clean, but I think the pictures are so narrow that I don't get to really see the place. It makes me think you're hiding something and I'll be really disappointed once I arrive. (For example, is the bathroom disgusting? Because you're really not showing it.) Also, the floor-level bedroom picture is just odd to me. What are you trying to show there? And the bathroom--you say it's spacious, but all I can really see are a couple of towels and a weird empty area. (Is that the shower?)

Other things I would want to know if I were considering this place for a vacation:
- Where exactly is this house on the map? (I assume it's the "pins" on the map, but please spell it out for me and for others who don't look at internet maps that often. Then again, maybe you can't do that since it's an "active" map.)
- Since I can't swim at the beach you have pictured, is there a swimming beach nearby? Can I snorkel there? Do I need to bring my own gear, or can I rent it?
- Can I snorkel with sea turtles here? If so, that is HUGE. Tell me about it.
- What are the locals like?
- Are there pots and pans and basic cooking supplies available? (Where? I don't see where they'd be stored in the kitchen.)


LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2016, 11:12:47 AM »
Miss Piggy-- wow, thank you so much for taking the time to write that up for me!  That is hugely helpful and will give me a lot to work on.  Ok, gotta get started!

Miss Piggy

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2016, 11:36:08 AM »
I've never been to Baja, but it looks like it could be a nice place to spend some time. Your monthly rate seems completely reasonable (though I've never priced the area.) I could totally see myself spending a month there when I'm FIREd, especially if there's a pretty good chance I'd spend some time with sea turtles.  :)

boarder42

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2016, 11:45:01 AM »
i second everything miss piggy said.  those pictures dont make me wanna stay there currently.

i also feel like i had to dig for rates.  make rates selectable at the top.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2016, 11:47:28 AM by boarder42 »

Alenzia

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2016, 12:09:20 PM »
Some more feedback:

- Similar to other posters, I'd want to know more about the area - what is there to do, can I go swimming or snorkeling, can I go surfing? I've been in the Todos Santos area and it's really nice, maybe some pictures of the town?

- It took me a while to find the pricing, which is one of the first things I typically look for.

- Love the composition of the picture of horse rider on the beach as your "About your hosts" page, but I would lighten/brighten it, it looks dark.

- Homepage "Explore Beauty of Baja" "The Neighborhood" and "Book Now" have the "Read More" buttons all over the place vertically on my desktop. Small thing, but it looked distracting.

trashmanz

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #24 on: May 20, 2016, 12:17:45 PM »
I only saw the front page on my phone. But it looked too generic for me. I didn't really get any indication as to what was really yours to offer. The front page seemed to be only generic stock imagery. Why make people dig deep to get to anything of substance?

boarder42

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #25 on: May 20, 2016, 12:22:20 PM »
I only saw the front page on my phone. But it looked too generic for me. I didn't really get any indication as to what was really yours to offer. The front page seemed to be only generic stock imagery. Why make people dig deep to get to anything of substance?

yeah front could be a picture of the home. with something that says RATES from 69/Night!! , Monthly rates available.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2016, 12:44:34 PM »
You guys, you are awesome!  Thanks so much!  I've made some changes, and I'm looking for a pro photographer to make the interior pictures sing.  I only have a crappy phone camera.  It's funny someone asked if the bathroom was gross, no, the bathroom is really nice!  People are always pleasantly surprised when they get here and see how cute it is.  So I think upping the pictures is really going to help! 

Thanks so much for the specific feedback!

With This Herring

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2016, 11:16:37 PM »
I'm not a traveling person, but just some notes on the website layout (on a Dell laptop running Chrome):
  • The text over the photos is still difficult to read. Perhaps a transparent gray box such as you used for the header would help.
  • The side borders in that dull blue-gray color add nothing and clash with the colors on some of your pages.  Remove them entirely.
  • The drop-down under "About" is also clashing color-wise.  I agree with a previous poster who said to change the blog name to just "Blog," if you keep it.  With that, you won't need a drop-down.  Also, it would be good if all the pages you have available are accessible from the top bar, and not just your index page.  Pages list:
        Accommodations | Your Hosts | Location | Attractions | Book Now | Blog
  • Your booking page has too much scrolling to find that there is an AirBNB page.  Also, you have two contact forms on the one page.  Can you make the two booking options (contact page and AirBnb) two lines, with the contact page using a little arrow to expand?
        Rates:
        [details]
        [important stuff about toddlers and how your guests will not be able to sleep in while on vacation...]
        Direct reservations and questions:
            Our US phone:  XXXX     [yes, you have the phone numbers at the top, but people will miss those]
            Our Mexico phone:   XXXX
            Online contact form: (click to expand) [or maybe make this a link to your general contact form on another page?]
        Reservations via AirBNB (click to visit our AirBNB page)
        Calendar of availability
  • What does having a blog add?  I don't think the before and after of the guest room is a good idea.
  • Under your "Casa Caoba" header, consider adding in italics "In (beautiful/tropical/descriptor) Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico" or that text you have that shows as the tab name.
  • For your "location" page, I find all the little maps unhelpful.  I think most of the text on this page could do with a rewrite.
  • Your children are very cute, but maybe keep their photos solely on your "about us" or "hosts" page?  Right now they are on the "Beauty of Baja" page.
  • Not a website thing, but...do you have answering machines or something set up for your phones so that people in different time zones won't call in the middle of the night and wake your children?

It will be great to see your site when you get the new photos up!

boarder42

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #28 on: May 22, 2016, 10:07:02 AM »
Your pictures are in a bad order on the accommodation page it should start with the outside not a sink.

Tig_

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Re: Update--Totally madeover: Critique my new website
« Reply #29 on: May 22, 2016, 07:57:08 PM »
Seems like others have given some great suggestions.


There's still two "contact" forms on the "Book Now" page.  Liked the suggestion to have it click to expand if someone wanted to use it.
Would give AirBnB the proper capitalization in the link.
Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see how many you can accommodate except on the AirBnB site.
Agree, with whoever mentioned it - I don't need to know what the room looked like before.  Just what it'll look like when I'm there.