Pelland Blog

Tired of the Same Meal?

August 2nd, 2016

Even if you can no longer recall the days of school cafeterias or army mess halls, you probably can appreciate the concept of having a bit of variety to spice up your meals from day to day. How many people would want to have the same bowl of corn flakes for breakfast, a slice of pizza for lunch, and a hot dog for dinner … day after day after day? Beyond the lack of nutrition, you would probably be really turned off by somebody who offered you another hot dog.

In recent years, the menus in both academic and military settings have been tremendously improved, with food service operations subcontracted to companies that take pride in both food preparation and the nutritional value of the meals they serve. Gone are the days of cooks whose only formal training was how to prepare meals in large volumes, having been replaced by executive chefs with training in the culinary arts.

Yes, times have changed, but what about your website? Are you asking your prospective customers to get excited about a template-built site that looks just like thousands of others? Having the same menu from one fast-food restaurant to the next is desirable because those establishments are serving a clientele that is seeking consistency, not surprises. However, when planning a special occasion (like a week-long camping vacation, for example), most people are looking for something a little bit out of the ordinary. It becomes problematic when your website is conveying a message that says “boring” when your campers are looking for “spicy” or “savory” on the menu.

Just another WordPress site

I never know whether to laugh or moan when I see sites that seem to display an oh-so-distinctive templated look. I have even seen sites where the site title displays as “Just another WordPress site” because the webmaster did not take the minimal time and effort (or perhaps did not have the knowledge) to substitute an appropriate keyword-based title for the default template setting.

When somebody performs a basic search on Google, the words in the intuitive search term that they enter are either highlighted or made bold in the search results, and a user is more likely to click on search results that contain more of that highlighted or bold text in the site title, domain name, and site description. Nobody is going to search for the term “just another WordPress site”, so it should be clear that having that as your site’s title will put your park at a severe disadvantage. Sadly, there are hundreds of campground websites suffering this limitation. Click here to view the Google search results for campground websites with the “just another WordPress site” title. If your campground is on the list of search results, it just might be time to question the status quo and start searching for another webmaster (realizing, of course, that your existing webmaster may be that person in your mirror.)

Would You Like Arial or Times New Roman with Your Meal?

Even something as seemingly insignificant as font usage is ultimately very important. Once your site shows up in a search, if the person performing the search clicks or taps the link, is that person going to stay on your site … or does something like an overused font send them the message that you are offering the same old menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and a side of fries?

In the old days of the Internet, webmasters usually chose “safe” fonts because the correct fonts would only display if they were installed on the end user’s computer (otherwise defaulting to the dreaded Courier font.) Today, there is a nearly endless selection of fonts available through the Google Fonts API, allowing your webmaster to choose distinctive fonts that are consistent with the overall branding of your business and which will render properly in all current browsers. Using CSS, your webmaster can also specify font styles and can even specify eye-catching font effects like drop shadows and outlines, all of which are supported in Chrome and Safari, and many of which are supported in other browsers.

Once again, if your website is not presenting its visitors with this type of very basic content customization, how can you expect your occupancy levels to be anything but blandly boring?

This post was written by Peter Pelland