By Jon Stutfield of Bliss
Your website is the first impression many potential guests have of your holiday park. So keeping it running smoothly, up-to-date and visible in search engines results is crucial to turning those potential guests into loyal customers.
This article is laden with tips and tools to help achieve these website goals. We’re not diving too deep into technical website maintenance, but focusing on the quick and easy wins you can do today to improve your holiday park’s website and general online presence.
1. Make sure your website is working perfectly
It may seem obvious that it is – key pages are updated and bookings are working – but when was the last time the non-essential parts of your website were checked?
Holiday park websites are often full of information about the local area, accommodation, what’s happening on-site, etc. These are valuable parts of the website for people to browse and research, yet are often created by administrators and then forgotten. Never to be updated or linked to in other logical places.
As well as not providing users with interesting content, out-of-date pages on your website can actually be detrimental to your site’s rankings in search results too. So it’s definitely worth doing quick checks of your website a few times a year, to make sure it’s running as expected.
How to improve site performance:
- Ensure all the links and URLs are working with this dead-link checking tool.
- For those wanting something a little more in-depth – the free version of the Screaming Frog software can give you plenty of insight into the status of your website.
- Check how your website looks/performs on mobile and tablet devices. To do this, you can use Google’s the Mobile-Friendly Test, which gives the site a rating, tips on how to improve, and a screenshot of how it looks on mobile.
- It’s worth noting that automated tools usually only tell half the story, so make sure to test all of your website on desktop and mobile devices too.
2. Speed up the website loading times
One thing which can hold a website back from the success it deserves is a slow loading rate.
People have a notoriously low attention span when it comes to browsing the internet. If a site isn’t loaded within the first few seconds after clicking on it, they’re likely to click off. Potentially heading to a competitor instead.
As a rough guide, Google recommends aiming for a 3-second-or-less load time for websites. So that’s somewhere to start, try opening your website on an incognito browser and see how long it takes to load. For every second’s delay, you can expect to lose 11% of your views.
It’s not just for the sake of users, page speed is also one of the signals that the Google algorithm uses to rank pages. Between two identical websites, the faster loading one is more likely to get on the front page of the search engine results, and therefore get much more traffic.
How to speed up your site:
There are plenty of small tweaks you can make to speed up your website:
- Google has created this PageSpeed Insights tool which gives websites a rating on how fast it loads, and tips on how to speed it up.
- Large images and media can often take up a lot of space on a website and slow it down. By replacing them with images with smaller file sizes, a lot of time can be saved. Try ShrinkMe to optimise images, it’s easy to use and free!
- Invest into quality hosting for your website.
3. Audit the content already on the website
As mentioned, holiday park websites can quickly amass a lot of content (such as pages and blog posts). So that’s why we recommend content audits yearly, to measure how successful this content actually is.
Now, you may be wondering why it’s even important to measure content’s success. Surely, it’s better to have loads of content on the website, because it can then work as landing pages! Unfortunately though, it is a common misconception that ‘more content = website ranks higher in Google’. A more accurate equation would be, ‘more high quality and unique content = website ranks higher in Google’.
If your content isn’t high enough quality (for example, if it’s outdated, written poorly, doesn’t link anywhere, doesn’t have clear topics or keywords) or unique (if it’s the same or very similar to other content on your website/other websites), it can actual be detrimental to your rankings in search engines as well as appearing unprofessional to users.
So that’s why you should audit the content, to update or unpublish anything low quality. Now on to how…
How to perform a content audit:
A basic content audit can be done using Google Analytics.
When to update content…
Find pages ripe for updating on Google Analytics by looking for popular ‘Entrance’ pages with a low ‘Avg. Time on Page’ or high ‘Bounce Rate’. These are indicative of pages which are attracting users to your website but aren’t then retaining them.
Then you need to decide how they could be improved… could they be more engaging? More up-to-date? Does it take a long time to load? Does it need more links to other relevant parts of the website?
Finally, it’s time to make these improvements (whilst keeping the same URL). Though before you begin, it’s always worth making a note of the current analytics and saving the original copy somewhere. So that in your next audit, you can see how much you improved these pages’ results.
When to unpublish content…
Sometimes, if the content is just out-of-date (for example, if it was about an offer you were running years ago, or about a one-off event which has passed) and not getting any entrances, it benefits your website more to just unpublish it. You should always ask your website developers to set up a redirect to another piece of relevant content, just in case someone does land on that page.
4. Ideas to be getting on with
During this time when a lot may seem out of hand, your website is completely in control. Plus, with internet traffic up across the board, it is critical to make sure your website reflects your holiday park as well as it can.
If you would like any more information on the above tips, or advice on how to best use the tools, please feel free to contact Bliss. They’re a digital agency with over 10-years of experience in the industry, building, maintaining and marketing holiday park websites.
Get in contact with Bliss