Five top tips for your small B&B website

We really enjoy some of the work we do with small business around our local area in beautiful Mid-Wales. We particularly love working with small tourism businesses because they’re such a vital part of our local economy. Added to that, they give us lots of ideas for gorgeous places to visit.

The rise of sites like AirBnB has given lots of people added confidence to open up part or all of their home to guests. In fact, according to National B&B Week, B&Bs contribute £2 billion annually to the UK economy. But that doesn’t mean that a typical small B&B has a big marketing budget to play with. And the larger booking sites reach a wide audience but they also take a substantial cut of income.

So, what are our top tips for B&Bs in need of a budget-friendly website?

1. Keep it simple

We’re big fans of the straightforward, simple websites that Squarespace allows you to build. It’s something of a specialism of our sister company Spark Sites, as it allows us to build beautiful websites quickly and affordably, while adding value by helping our clients craft the written content that will help them stand out.

Websites should also be easy to update, and Squarespace has a super-easy interface that means even our most tech-phobic clients can be self-sufficient in no time, with a little training and minimal support from us.

2. Pictures speak a thousand words

It may be a cliché, but in this case it couldn’t be more true. You don’t necessarily need to commission a professional photographer, although, if budget can stretch to it, this can make a big difference. If you’re taking pictures yourself, though:

  • Make sure every detail of the room shows it off at its best. Don’t forget to de-clutter beforehand, hide any wires or cables, and tidy and straighten curtains, blinds, bedding and sofa cushions. There’s nothing worse than creases and crumples in your photographs.
A cosy retreat in the Brecon Beacons
  • Light, light and light! Plenty of natural light is key. Make sure you pick a nice bright day to take your pictures and avoid relying on a flash. You might also wish to have all the lights switched on in your shots as this can give the image added shine and sparkle.
  • Don’t be afraid to get a bit ‘arty’. It’s nice to have a mix of straightforward pictures that give a good feel for the space, and slightly more creative images. So play around with close-ups, detail, weird angles and catching reflections of things. You can always press ‘delete’ later.

3. Find your unique selling point

Whether it’s a fantastic view, breakfasts to die for, or a flock of sheep to welcome guests, think about what makes your place unique and make a feature of it.

Your friendly neighbours at Cwm Achau Cabins

With a small B&B, you have the opportunity to give your guests a real experience, something that they’ll share and talk about with their friends. If there’s something slightly unusual or quirky about your place, then make sure you shout about it, loud and proud, from your website.

4. Sell your surrounding area

Local information on the Tegfan Garden Suite site

Don’t forget to tell people what else they can actually do near to your B&B. Most people are so time poor that they’ll appreciate not having to research multiple sites to plan their trip. Don’t assume that they’ll realise there’s a lovely country pub right on your doorstep, or even that one of the most beautiful lakes in the country is a stone’s throw away. And if you help spread the word about other businesses and places of interest in your area, they might just appreciate it and reciprocate.

5. Make booking easy

In an ideal world, you’d have an online booking system that allows guests to check availability and book in real time, with online card payments and automatic booking acknowledgements… We can set this up for you, but in reality most small B&Bs don’t have the budget to implement those systems on their website. A simple, and best of all, free next-best-thing is to keep a Google calendar up to date with availability.

Booking on the Cwm Achau cabins website

Many web design tools, including SquareSpace, make it quite straightforward to then embed your calendar in your website, so people interested in booking can see straight away whether there’s availability on their chosen dates. Together with including a variety of contact methods, this makes the booking process as quick and pain free as possible for your guests.

Get in touch

If you have a small B&B, or other holiday accommodation, and need an affordable website, please do get in touch so we can help you out, or visit our Spark Sites website for more examples of the sites we build in this area.

Relax and reconnect at Gilestone Farm

New brand and website for Gentium International

We’ve really enjoyed working with Gareth Jarman over the last few weeks to launch a new website for Gentium International.

Gareth is an all round lovely guy, who brings strong values around ethical behaviour, diversity and sustainability to his international HR consultancy.

We really enjoyed talking to him about those values, his different approach and about how we could help make sure that they shone through in his branding and on his website.

Gareth had already put a lot of thought and work into the content that he thought might appear on his site, so our job was to re-shape and edit, as well as refine the structure and navigation. We also talked to him about the type of imagery he wanted to use, providing guidance along the way.

Then we built him a nice, simple, easy to navigate site using Squarespace (which is fast becoming our favourite tool for building websites).
Take a look and see what you think…

Is your website mobile-friendly?

Why is it important?

Most people are using the internet on their smartphones these days. In fact in most countries, more people use phones to go online than they do PCs or laptops. Phones are cheaper and more accessible, and we’re all on them far too much!

People get easily frustrated. We all expect things to work easily online. If it’s not easy to view your site without zooming in and out or waiting for an annoying menu to load, a web visitor is likely to give up and go elsewhere.

Another reason why it’s important is that Google now ranks sites in line with how mobile-friendly they are and this will affect where you appear in its search results.

So if you haven’t thought about how your website looks and works when viewed on a mobile, you should.

How can I test it?

  1. Use your phone: Well the easiest way is to view your site on a mobile phone.
  2. Use your browser: You can also get a sense of how responsive your site is by resizing your browser (drag in from a corner to make your browser the shape of a mobile and see what happens to your site). If the site resizes and the content is readable, then that’s a good start. But if the site gets cut off on one side, or the content becomes jumbled, that’s not so good.
  3. Online tools: There are also lots of useful tools online, the best being Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Just follow the link and enter your site’s URL to see how it performs. This image shows the result we got for our site…
  4. Google webmaster: And for a more detailed usability test why not take advantage of Google’s webmaster tools (there’s a bit more set up involved in this though).

Do you need help?

Sometimes things can be fixed quite easily. Other times there are signs that your website is out of date. Kindlemix provides beautiful and affordable websites that are fully mobile-responsive. Take a look at some examples on our sister site www.spark-sites.co.uk or feel free to call and speak to Anne for a no obligation chat about how we can help make your site more mobile-friendly.

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Together we can make sparks fly

Announcing our range of affordable, mobile-ready websites for small businesses… with added sparkle.

Kindlemix Communications has recently launched a new sister site, Spark Sites, promoting our range of web packages aimed at small businesses and start ups. This is in addition to the online work we already do through Kindlemix, where we work with a range of bigger clients across the UK.

New customers who book a Spark Sites web package before Christmas 2016 can benefit from a massive 25% discount.

Spark Site’s ethos is simple: we want to help small businesses flourish by providing affordable, mobile-ready websites that are beautifully designed, with sparkling copy.

We build sites in Squarespace and WordPress (using professionally designed templates and themes) and use our wealth of experience and knowledge to help refine and develop your content.

Spark Sites is the brainchild of Kindlemix’s Creative Director, Anne Tregoning. ‘I just really wanted to develop a simple offering that was affordable for small businesses, but meant they would still be able to benefit from our knowledge and expertise,’ she says. ‘Using Squarespace templates as a starting point saves a lot of time meaning we can put together sites quickly for businesses and add value in the copy, imagery and SEO.’

Spark Sites has already produced new sites for local businesses in mid-Wales, including Brecon Milk, Data Orchard and the Hours Cafe and Bookshop. Watch out for several more currently in the pipeline.

Visit www.spark-sites.co.uk to find out more about the web packages and see examples of sites we’ve done so far.

Showcasing our latest website design, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping, as seen in The Times, Guardian and more…

Take a look at our latest website design, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping. We think it really showcases what luxury holiday accommodation is all about, and The Times, Guardian and Manor Magazine seem to agree (to name a few). So far, since it opened in April 2015, Brownscombe Luxury Glamping has been chosen by Ideal Home magazine as one of five ‘extraordinary places to sleep this Summer’ and has been picked by The Times as one of Britain’s ‘Top 20 best wild places to stay’.

Visit the Brownscombe news page to see more of the fantastic reviews and write-ups Brownscombe has had since the website launched and take a look at the rest of the site to see what makes our work stand out from
the crowd.

If you’d like a new website or simply want to update an existing site just drop us a line or give us a call. We’re a friendly team with connections in all the right places and we’re always happy to have a chat. Also, why not have a look at some of the other work we’ve done for small businesses and start ups like Brownscombe Luxury Glamping.