Lodge Listings & Web Design
My Name is Gary. I live near Sharbot Lake, Ontario. I am in my 24th year of business and specialize in designing websites and performing marketing for fishing lodges, hunting camps and other tourism outfitters. My company is called iMarket.
Lodge Listings in My Outdoor Network
I have a number of species-specific fishing and hunting websites. Lodges may be listed for a fee or it is free if you hire me to make a website. I have different packages that are very inexpensive. All you need is one booking and it pays for itself.
Web Design for Desktop & Mobile:
I charge based on the size of a website and the amount of work involed. I have made small website for $600 and giant websites for $3500. I have to understand the amount of services you offer and the amount of photos you have to quote a price.
My Qualifications: I first started guiding when I was 14 years old and over the years worked my way up to working and guiding for a 5-star fly-in lodge 200 miles north of Red Lake Ontario. Working for lodges during the summer put me through college twice (Business Administration with a major in marketing and then a few years later software programming). In 1995 I combined my love of fishing and my lodge experience with my marketing and programming education and started my business. Soon after I left Microsoft and ran my business full time. I have designed and manage the websites for approximately 170 lodges.
My Marketing Philosophy: The Internet is a research medium, not an advertising medium. People are on the Internet researching where they want to go fishing or hunting. Search engines are in the business of sending people to the best information. We define best information as being subject-specific, detailed and unique.
If your web designer designed your website to be an advertisement instead of a visibly stimulating research document then you will get very little organic traffic and few bookings from new people. You have to please the search engines and people at the same time. Supplying quality target-market content is how you get people to your website and how you rank high in the search engines. Now that people are there; you can't just say what you offer; you have to prove it. You prove it with photos and video.
My Web Design Philosophy: Learning how to use web design software and calling yourself a professional web designer is the same as learning how to use Microsoft Word and calling yourself a professional writer. Learning MS Word does not make you an Alistair MaClean or Steven King. You need natural talent, education and experience to create a book people want to buy and it is the same with web design. I see so many lodge website that look OK or nice but are dead in the water because they hired a web designer that really does not know what they are doing. What you see is 10% of what a good web design is. There is so much more to the game that you can't see.
A Growing Trend in the Wrong Direction: Most web designers don't have the skills to make mobile responsive websites so the growing trend is to buy annoying Wordpress templates that all look the same and have crap always moving around while the user has no control over it. The designer quickly plugs pictures and text into the template. To make it look like a lot more work than it really is the trend is to make websites look very busy. Wordpress websites get very little traffic because they are not HTML websites; they are a Content Management System where all text and graphics are stored in a database and not present in a directory for search engines to sink their teeth into.
As a lodge owner if you have enough time to take care of your own website then your website is not doing its job!!
I have gone in the opposite direction and it has resulted in fantastic results. I am making my websites very clean, classy and uncluttered so people can focus on the information they have found. All my new mobile websites are coded in HTML 5 and the lodge owners are reporting awesome booking results. Below are some examples: