With the summer season almost upon us, giving your gite website a makeover is probably the last thing on your mind. Even so, here are four reasons why it might be worth giving it some thought sooner rather than later.

Blue sky photo opportunities

Let’s assume you’ve already copiously snapped your gite’s best side against an awesome azure backdrop, but what about all those other things?

Summer offers endless opportunity for pictures that promise carefree days filled with sunshine. What better time to capture scenes, cameos and details that make a stay chez vous such a perfect holiday.

So make time to switch out of gite manager mode and go on the prowl.

After all, most of your guests will be staying during the summer months, so why not start assembling a collection of photographs of the very things they’ll encounter or seek out in high season.

Blooming gardens, bristling hedgerows, rolling hills, crops, vineyards, your local village, markets… You pass them hundreds of times all year round, so no need to go out of your way. Just pull out your camera and take the snaps someone who’s only here for a week would take.

Often, it’s the everyday things we overlook. Yet these can provide a treasure trove of ideas for blog articles to help drive extra traffic to your site. Grab the pics while you can.

Then, when the cranes fly south and you have more time to write, use those summer snapshots as a springboard for your imagination.

A new twist on testimonials

Let’s take it as read you already have a visitors book of some kind brimming with gushing prose about how a holiday in your gite was the best ever.

You also have a dedicated page for guest reviews on your website, which you update at least every season? Or if not, you soon will have.

Testimonials are one of your most valuable currencies. No matter how many you have, just keep them coming.

But why not add a bit of visual interest too. One of my clients intersperses the blocks of text with drawings, sketches and handwritten thank-you notes from holidaying families. Not only does this brighten up the testimonials page, it’s positive proof of the fun and enjoyment that awaits.

Another idea is to invite guests to let you use one or more of their favourite holiday snaps alongside their review. This adds context, credibility and personality in the eyes of the reader.

You might even get some bonus traffic from your guests’ sharing their new-found fame with family and friends.

Doorstep market research

Testimonials aside, feedback can be a real eye-opener. Things that seem obvious to you can baffle and bemuse visitors.

Here again, you can tap a rich vein of first-hand accounts and points of view that could sow the seed for a whole catalogue of blog posts.

It’s worth exploring what your guests think of your website too. Aim to take things beyond a casual enquiry. Let people know you’re planning a revamp and you’re open to suggestions.

This can be a really useful exercise as everyone has their own opinions and ideas and, whether you take them on board or not, it can stimulate your own thinking.

Steal a march on the competition

If you’re looking to hold onto your site’s ranking for certain keywords or improve on them, the sooner you get to work the better. It takes time to build your online presence through a properly planned search engine optimisation strategy.

Maybe you’ve already done everything you can to let Google know about your site’s pages. You’ve lined up a series of blog posts around carefully chosen keywords. And you’re already taking every opportunity to use social media to spread the word.

If not, next time you find a moment to catch your breath, give it some thought. Better still, give it some action.

Close-season will be here before you know it.

Featured photo: Angoulême, Charente – Martin Brackstone

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