If you don’t know exactly what should go on your website, you’re not alone. We get a lot of questions about what’s most important. There are some must-haves and some when-you-have-more-time, but here’s our complete list, in order of importance:
1. Perfectly cropped, well-lit photos – You can take these yourself, but hire a pro as soon as you can afford it.
2. Professional, staged photos – Check out this side-by-side example to see the difference.
3. A compelling description – Longer descriptions do better than short ones. See our 5 Must-Follow Tips when you write yours.
4. Complete rates – Learn how to set your rates correctly and when to adjust them. Be sure to show rates at least 1 calendar year out if possible.
5. Updated calendar – Update your calendar frequently, even daily. On listing sites, it can help move you up in search results.
6. Great reviews – Don’t have any yet? See our tips on How to Solicit 5-Star Vacation Rental Reviews.
7. Complete list of amenities – You really can’t be too exhaustive with this list, even down to the coffee maker and hair dryer. You never know what items are on your renter’s “must have” list.
8. Mobile optimized site – The stats on mobile usage are pretty compelling. If your website doesn’t show up on mobile devices you’re missing out on a lot of potential travelers.
9. Inquire Now button – Pretty soon we think you’ll also need a Book It Now button.
10. Social media buttons – Pin it button, Facebook Like button and Share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and email to a friend.
11. Local Guide – You can include maps, links and even coupons for special deals. See how to create a local guide for your website.
12. About the Owner info – Knowing a little bit about you adds a personal touch and can help encourage bookings.
13. Link to your listings – Sometimes travelers like to validate your listing on the major sites.
Save this list! Keep at it until your vacation rental website is a masterpiece – then maintain it like you would your vacation home. Keep it fresh and updated regularly. Your website shouldn’t be a static brochure for your vacation rental – it should be a living, breathing entity that reflects the personality and character of you and your home.
photo credit: Bart Speelman