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Heavy on code light on polish

Alaska Bed & Breakfast

This is a review of A Bed & breakfast at Palmer, Alaska, original comments: This site is intended to inform the traveling public of the offerings of this Award winning Bed & Breakfast and to offer the services of same. It is also intended to be a source of information for travelers planning a trip to Alaska, in particular, the Mat-Su Valley.
Reviewed by: Suzanne Fyhrie
 
Having been in the advertising field for almost 25 years, my first reaction was the design itself. Although the color scheme was pleasant, it lacked the "polish" I expected. Especially since on your Comments page you state you were voted as one of the Top 15 B&B/ Country Inns.
      Since I am at the tailing end of the baby-boomers -- I found the text too small. I am assuming your marketing is geared toward the age groups of 35-65, so this difficulty may further hinder inquiries.
HTML / Search Engine
Your first page is 54k could be slightly smaller. However, your rooms page is a whopping 215k! We must assume that many of your potential patrons are still lumbering through on a 56k modem or less. This would mean a wait time of up to several minutes. Considering the average visitor patience is 10 seconds or less - you are losing customers.
      Your Source Code needs cleaning up. You have a javascript for every button! This puts too much coding above your content. Many SE don't spider far in to the page, thus, the keywords in your content necessary for SE survival, are not being found. While the mouseover is an interesting graphical element, in this case, it is actually hurting you more than helping. You have unnecessary items in your META tags and are missing the Description tag! Your METAs should be well thought out and written to produce the best results. Try to avoid generic terms - travel and trip. Utilize your niche and focus on keywords that drive surfers looking for an Alaska Vacation. Avoid repetitive keywords: Travel, travel. Most SE see them as the same word, and when placed consecutively, can give off a warning flag as "spamming" the search engines.
      Finally, rethink your content on the page, titles, keywords and write a META description. Include ALT tags on all your graphics.
      Well, this is not a complete report, but it should help in your rankings and visitors. I wish you the best of luck.
 
Editor Notes:
Excellent, Suzanne! We seldom get reviewers who dig into the code structure of the pages as Suzanne has. Bravo!
      And, Suzanne is quite right. All site designers need to take care to eliminate unessential elements which tend to slow page loading, or slow the visitor's reading. Large pages and small type spells disaster. We still want to design for 28.8 or 56 and ignore the fantasy that everyone is running DSL or fast internet -- the way the software companies would lead you to believe!
      What gets me is the way some programs code rollovers. Back last year we did a little survey on optimizing rollovers, and some of the programs like Dreamweaver and GoLive would insert hundreds of characters of code for a single rollover, where strict style sheets or hand coded Java accomplishes the very same action with just a line or two. Site owners do need to be keenly aware of their Meta tags, and of the overall structure of the coded page so that the all-important search engines get the essential information about the page.
      A big thanks goes out to Suzanne Fyhrie, from OneWay Advertising and Design for her insightful review!
 
Posted: 1/1/2003

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