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  • #970400
    MJS
    Member
    • Total posts: 2
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    hi there my name Michael Smith im new to flying solo and would like to know where i should list my chater boat for functions on Sydney Harbour. at the moment its listed under venues? i allso need bookings fast and could do with some tips on lots of fronts .many thanks michael 0400077710

    #1044071
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi Mike,
    Venues sounds like the right place to me.

    Thanks for joining Flying Solo. I hope you find lots of good information from hanging out here.

    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1044072
    The Hobbit
    Participant
    • Total posts: 309
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    MJS, post: 53663 wrote:
    could do with some tips on lots of fronts .many thanks michael 0400077710

    eTraining can help with a range of Tourism Manuals that can help with Customer Sevice, Feasibility Studies For Tourism Projects, How to Organise Special Events & Festivals. Sydney Harbour is a very competitive market but also very lucative if you do it right.
    The Hobbit

    #1044073
    kbrookes
    Member
    • Total posts: 265
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    Are you listed in Google Places?

    Does your website immediately convey the purpose of your business and allow visitors to make an enquiry/booking with zero hassle? Does it have your contact details and address listed prominently?

    #1044074
    MJS
    Member
    • Total posts: 2
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    kbrookes, post: 54011 wrote:
    Are you listed in Google Places?

    Does your website immediately convey the purpose of your business and allow visitors to make an enquiry/booking with zero hassle? Does it have your contact details and address listed prominently?

    i recon the web page looks good and think its hassle free check it out http://www.seamessenger.com.au would love to know your thoughts. i need some quick marking tools with not to much outlay that will generate some bookings in a flash while the festive seaon is on us !

    #1044075
    kbrookes
    Member
    • Total posts: 265
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    Well, I can see a few problems, but it’s not terrible – it just doesn’t really sell your service.

    I’ll come back to that, but let’s address Google search first.

    If I type ‘sydney harbour boat cruise’ into Google, you don’t show up at all. At the top of the page is the Google Places listings.

    Critically, there are only about a dozen or so business that show up under those search terms.

    You’re not one of them.

    In fact, if I stay on Google maps and search on ‘sea messenger’ or ‘seamessenger’ you don’t show up.

    You should be showing up on those search terms – even without effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) of your site, you could at least be present in Google Places. It’s free, it’s easy to setup and instantly puts you on the map for your listed categories.

    It’s important to realise that sites like True Local and the Yellow Pages are very quickly losing out to basic Google search. More an more, people are turning to Google where they once would have used directory sites.

    So it’s vital that you get your business on places.

    That’s Part 1 of what I’m going to address.

    Part 2 is that your site is setup to actively defeat SEO.

    Problem 1: Frames.

    Your site is coded in a way that stopped being mainstream a decade ago. It’s not SEO-friendly. This is how a search engine sees your site:

    Spidered Text :
    Sea Messenger This page uses frames, but your browser doesn’t support them.

    Spidered Links :
    No spiderable links found.

    Meta Keywords :
    Sydney harbour
    cruise
    charter
    hire
    boat
    rent
    skipper
    captain
    wharf
    water
    ocean
    buck
    hen
    party
    functions
    wedding
    photo
    sailing
    fireworks
    bbq
    birthday
    anniversaries
    major
    events
    school
    sea mesenger
    tourist
    backpacker
    Christmas
    fishing
    catering
    dance
    music
    budget
    cheap
    ferry
    gst
    things to do
    weekend

    Meta Description :
    The historic M.V. Sea Messenger provides chartered cruises in and around Sydney harbour for corporate functions and departmental parties, hens and bucks nights, weddings and photo shoots, school excursions and budget charters for up to 40 guests, Ferry service available and more.[/CODE]

    Keywords have no weight in search engine rankings and the meta description is used mostly to provide a snippet for the search engine to show. It has very little ability by itself to affect your overall rank.

    The actual content of your site, the elements that Google would use to provide you with traffic, is completely lost due to the coding of the site.

    Problem 2: General site optimisation.

    The header of the site is in Flash. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that your logo and the name of your site are in this file. There’s no way for search engines to read this content, because it’s all images and nothing else in the code of the banner gives any indication what the site’s about.

    Even the sole image in the banner has an alt tag (a small piece of code used to describe the image, very important for SEO) that is useless, saying “The world’s best harbour”.

    The rest of the site doesn’t use alt tags at all.

    The menu is a list of links through the site, which is fine, but none of those links use the ‘title’ tag – again, something that’s good for SEO and accessibility.

    Apart from that, there’s not a lot of content, but at least it’s unique to your site and relatively descriptive.

    It’s not getting seen by search engines tho, due to point 1.

    Problem 3: Weak call to action.

    It is fairly easy to navigate the site, but you’re not providing any strong incentive to actually get in touch.

    The contact details are at the bottom of the page – the weakest spot if you’re wanting people to notice it.

    Even the bookings page you need to read a paragraph or two to get down to the contact details.

    You need to make it easy, prominent and obvious for users to be able to find these things – but more importantly they need to want to.

    And that’s one of the bigger issues – it doesn’t really create an emotional resonance. And hey, I LOVE Sydney harbour, used to live right in Shell Cove for a few years. The site as it is doesn’t really sell the majesty and splendour of the harbour.

    Check out your competition:

    [url]http://www.prestigeharbourcruises.com.au/[/url]
    See how prominent and ‘loud’ the calls-to-action are? How easy it is to find relevant info. It’s not a great site at all, but it does at least make the harbour look wonderful and exciting.

    [url]http://www.sydneyharbourcruises.com.au/[/url]
    A much simpler site, but see how prominent the contact details are? The imagery is good (not great tho!) and they evidence of ongoing deals and seasonal packages.

    [url]http://www.morpheuscruises.com.au/[/url]
    Clean, crisp – easy to find appropriate info. A bit boring, but it does the job.

    This isn’t the entire list of sites, but after seeing your competition there’s plenty of room for a shakeup on style alone.

    Style aside tho, your competition (for the most part) all have sites that are more appropriately coded, have better, more extensive content and have stronger calls-to-action.

    You could be doing a lot better.[CODE]Spidered Text :
    Sea Messenger This page uses frames, but your browser doesn’t support them.

    Spidered Links :
    No spiderable links found.

    Meta Keywords :
    Sydney harbour
    cruise
    charter
    hire
    boat
    rent
    skipper
    captain
    wharf
    water
    ocean
    buck
    hen
    party
    functions
    wedding
    photo
    sailing
    fireworks
    bbq
    birthday
    anniversaries
    major
    events
    school
    sea mesenger
    tourist
    backpacker
    Christmas
    fishing
    catering
    dance
    music
    budget
    cheap
    ferry
    gst
    things to do
    weekend

    Meta Description :
    The historic M.V. Sea Messenger provides chartered cruises in and around Sydney harbour for corporate functions and departmental parties, hens and bucks nights, weddings and photo shoots, school excursions and budget charters for up to 40 guests, Ferry service available and more.[/CODE]

    Keywords have no weight in search engine rankings and the meta description is used mostly to provide a snippet for the search engine to show. It has very little ability by itself to affect your overall rank.

    The actual content of your site, the elements that Google would use to provide you with traffic, is completely lost due to the coding of the site.

    Problem 2: General site optimisation.

    The header of the site is in Flash. That wouldn’t be so bad, except that your logo and the name of your site are in this file. There’s no way for search engines to read this content, because it’s all images and nothing else in the code of the banner gives any indication what the site’s about.

    Even the sole image in the banner has an alt tag (a small piece of code used to describe the image, very important for SEO) that is useless, saying “The world’s best harbour”.

    The rest of the site doesn’t use alt tags at all.

    The menu is a list of links through the site, which is fine, but none of those links use the ‘title’ tag – again, something that’s good for SEO and accessibility.

    Apart from that, there’s not a lot of content, but at least it’s unique to your site and relatively descriptive.

    It’s not getting seen by search engines tho, due to point 1.

    Problem 3: Weak call to action.

    It is fairly easy to navigate the site, but you’re not providing any strong incentive to actually get in touch.

    The contact details are at the bottom of the page – the weakest spot if you’re wanting people to notice it.

    Even the bookings page you need to read a paragraph or two to get down to the contact details.

    You need to make it easy, prominent and obvious for users to be able to find these things – but more importantly they need to want to.

    And that’s one of the bigger issues – it doesn’t really create an emotional resonance. And hey, I LOVE Sydney harbour, used to live right in Shell Cove for a few years. The site as it is doesn’t really sell the majesty and splendour of the harbour.

    Check out your competition:

    http://www.prestigeharbourcruises.com.au/
    See how prominent and ‘loud’ the calls-to-action are? How easy it is to find relevant info. It’s not a great site at all, but it does at least make the harbour look wonderful and exciting.

    http://www.sydneyharbourcruises.com.au/
    A much simpler site, but see how prominent the contact details are? The imagery is good (not great tho!) and they evidence of ongoing deals and seasonal packages.

    http://www.morpheuscruises.com.au/
    Clean, crisp – easy to find appropriate info. A bit boring, but it does the job.

    This isn’t the entire list of sites, but after seeing your competition there’s plenty of room for a shakeup on style alone.

    Style aside tho, your competition (for the most part) all have sites that are more appropriately coded, have better, more extensive content and have stronger calls-to-action.

    You could be doing a lot better.

    #1044076
    Anonymous
    Guest
    • Total posts: 11,464
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    Hi Mike,

    For a review of your website, your best bet is to start a new thread over on the http://www.flyingsolo.com.au/forums/community-reviews/ section of the forums.

    Please note the guidelines at the top of the page there, and include the answers to the four questions our reviewers like to consider when checking your site out.

    All the best,
    Jayne

    #1044077
    kbrookes
    Member
    • Total posts: 265
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    I should point out tho, that SEO won’t be a quick fix for you.

    Google Places might get you a lot more traffic than you’re currently seeing fairly quickly and as it’s free you should definitely do it.

    Fixing the site is a longer-term strategy, but it would also have the advantage of converting more visitors who actually show up.

    #1044078
    Jake@EmroyPrint
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,117
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    Hi MJS,

    I do the printing for most of the major charter hire boats on Sydney harbour (There are about 5 main players, I do printing for 3) so I’ve got a pretty keen insight into the industry.

    Obviously I can’t share specific details about their campaigns, but I can tell you they have serious dollars behind them, and as beneficial as SEO is – These companies are spending tens of thousands of dollars on it, which as a small business, not sure if you can match.

    My recontamination would be to team up with some event organisation companies. Contact either though cold calls, or if thats not your thing a mail out. You may lose maybe 20% or so of the booking charges as their commission, but they will help keep your boat out on the harbor.

    – Jake

    #1044079
    Stuart B
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,070
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    @KROOKES that’s a brilliant review mate, well done. I agree with everything you’ve said.

    As an additional note (my background is in graphic design), that visual design of the site is very poor. You need to have someone with a professional design background put together something MUCH more professional for you.

    The design of the site should get people super excited about getting onto you charter boat experience. Looking at it now there’s no way I’d get pumped about it, let alone consider handing over money for it.

    I think this is a good lesson in the value of having your website updated every few years…

    #1044080
    e-SSENT
    Member
    • Total posts: 46
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    I too agree with the above. Yes your website is hassle free but in no way does it sell your product. I love going on harbour cruises but to be honest, your website doesn’t promote it very well.

    I think Lemonchip’s $1990 deal is excellent value. Could you afford that? I can also design a simple, clean website for you with all the necessities for half that price, but considering your competitors, a dedicated website design company might be what you need.

    Regarding your marketing, have you developed a marketing plan? This is an invaluable process that guides you to think of all aspects of marketing your business, from your target market, your SMART objectives and your advertising (advertising is only a small portion of your marketing approach). It costs no money but can cement your thoughts. There are some great templates available on the web to help guide you. Here is one:

    http://www.business.gov.au/howtoguides/Thinkingofstartingabusiness/Whatplanningtoolscanhelpme/pages/Marketingplanguides.aspx

    Some target markets you could try are high schools, Scouts, Guides etc. You might be able to offer a more competitive rate to these groups.

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