It’s a New Year, and a good time to reflect on the old, or at least the latter part of it which has brought me to this particular post.
The Bicclescombe Blog was created for a quite specific reason – to improve bookings for our wonderful Devon holiday home accommodation, sleeping 26, principally by improving the online presence of our Bicclescombe Grange website and by more loosely helping to substantiate the Bicclescombe Grange brand.
The continuation of this blog therefore very much rests on the success of these objectives. I really don’t think there is quite enough satisfaction in talking to myself just for its own sake – which I know will surprise quite a lot of you hypothetical readers! Three months was the rough timespan I had in mind for something that I had done to show up some sort of an improvement, and that also tied in with the start of the New Year when our website receives the greatest amount of traffic by far. I thought to myself that if there is no improvement in January then I can go back to the day job. Mind you, the day job seems to involve a lot of digging, mud, cuts and bruises. And heights, and cold, and wet. Maybe talking to myself isn’t such a bad option…
So? Is it not working then?
I knew that’s what you were thinking. Pessimists! Of course it might possibly be working. I’ve been looking at a lot of graphs lately and it’s certainly true that if you had to choose you would say that everything is improving. But I think you’d rather not choose, or perhaps prefer to say, ‘Well, I don’t think they’re going down!’ Suffice to say, there has not been any dramatic improvement in bookings, or online presence. But, as I write, it is only the 1st of January and we do currently have significant traffic on the site. For those of you that love a countdown though I think we can start one now: Come the 1st of February I need to be able to say…
Yes! It is working!
Ok, technically, I have just already said it, but let’s see if I can say it again, in a month’s time. And I just wanted to see what the heading would look like, in case I don’t actually get a chance to use it.
So. About this blog then?
Yes, blogging. Not something that appealed to me really, but there’s a lot online to convince a person that it could be a fantastic idea. I wasn’t entirely sure or convinced about how exactly, but I thought that might become apparent if I just got stuck in and saw what happened. And in that I think I was actually spot on!
But what to blog about? Surely it had to be about our house, Bicclescombe Grange, in all its wonderfulness! Surely, certainly, but, having already tried to add regular content to our News page I was immediately concerned about the problem of generating sufficient regular worthwhile content. It may well be a great house, with a huge indoor heated swimming pool, luxurious hot tub and full size snooker table; A great place for any special occasion, particularly for a stag party, or hen party, or 40th birthday party; One of the largest cottages in Devon, sleeping 26. But, it’s just a house; it really doesn’t do very much. Certainly not anything interesting enough to talk about every day.
Blog about Ilfracombe then!
Yes, there is some mileage in that. Stuff does go on in and around the area. And it is a lovely part of the world. But… to be honest it does kind of close down for half the year and again, I’m not sure I could bring myself to chat on about the lovely local sandy beaches and generally fantastic Devon coastal scenery. Or whatever’s on at the local cinema, or whatever entertainment might be booked in one of the many Ilfracombe pubs over the summer. I’m sure there’s more but I can’t currently think of much else and that is probably the best sign that this was not the way to go!
Really? You thought Structured Data and Citation Flows would be a better way to pull in the crowds?
Well, you (hypothetically speaking) are still reading! But no, I did not ever imagine it would be a particularly riveting read. I did think though, that it would be a great way to pepper in all the phrases I wanted us to appear for in the search engine results. For example I could talk about, really subtly, our large house with pool that’s perfect for all special occasions, whilst pretending to offer interesting and informative advice about my efforts to make those terms work harder for us on Google. You probably hadn’t even noticed; you’ve just been so enthralled by all the fantastic content!
I will inform a little though, on the subject of blogging, just in case you were tempted by the idea. You can blog for free, or you can spend a bit of money – and I chose the latter. Why? Well, if I hadn’t then all these amazing blog pages and posts that are now getting indexed by Google, would not be attributed to Bicclescombe Grange; they’d be boosting WordPress’s brand – which I really don’t think needs that much help! So, you spend a bit and then you get blog.bicclescombegrange.com and all the pages go to supporting a much better cause – ours! Incidentally, for all those number lovers out there, we currently have 100 indexed pages for site:bicclescombegrange.com. Only 200 more to go!
And you can spend even more on your blog, but, as far as I can see that’s not really worth doing unless you have thousands of avid readers. So, obviously I’ll be coughing up for that any day now…
And, to be honest, the blog has done everything I’d hoped for, and more. Google picks up the posts quickly and, something I hadn’t known about, also picks up a lot, possibly all the background search tags I use for each post. So, for example, if you search for Gosbert Chagula on Google then you should see one of my posts in, currently, 19th position. And that might well improve now that he’s in this post too! Maybe he’ll drop by…
You can have a suggested maximum 15 tags per post which means reaching my 300 indexed pages is actually going to be a little more straightforward than I thought. So you need not worry about my imminently slamming down the laptop cover in disgust; I am intending to make that target. Then we’ll see. I thought that having 300 pages could make a difference, but going from 28 to 100 has not helped a whole heap as yet so who knows? Well, us, hopefully, eventually…
I’m sure there is still a lot more to this blogging caper that I have yet to discover and I’ve no doubt that I am not doing everything that I could be to properly expose it to a wider audience, or to best improve the position of our website. Followers, commenting, sharing – all more work needed! If I keep at it maybe I will return to this topic at a later date, with a more expert opinion.
It didn’t seem right to conclude the whole experiment without producing this post, for completeness sake if for no other reason, so I am pleased to have done that. And it would be a shame if you (my imaginary friends) didn’t get to hear about my fun with Airbnb, a saga that is still getting more fantastical by the day, so hopefully I’ll get round to that too. And, besides, the clock may be ticking but there’s still 31 days to go; still time for it all to change and for me to be inspired!
And… (that one’s for my mum – she loves ‘ands’, even named her son one!)
Planning a special party or family occasion? Looking for the perfect venue? Our large Devon holiday home sleeps 26 and has an amazing indoor pool. To find out more visit the Bicclescombe Grange website.