You already learned about the importance of professional photos and writing property descriptions. These are some of the basic components for a vacation rental business. The next step is to house this content on your own website.

It is important to create a website that gets travelers to book your property. Here are the first steps to start a vacation rental website.

Choose a Platform

Rental owners have many options for their websites’ platform. You may already know some popular platforms. Such websites include WordPress, Squarespace, and Wix.

Yet there may be other platforms which work better for your business. This depends on your budget, tech skills, and desired website features. See which platform matches your goals:

  1. Weebly – Drag and drop website builder with guided setup

    Weebly Website Snip
    Souce: Snippet From Weebly Website Themes
    • Features
      • Create your own galleries, backgrounds, and slideshows
      • Custom Domain
      • SEO Tools
    • Pricing
      • Free (Basic Use)
        • Drag & Drop Builder
        • Displays Weebly Ads
        • 500 MB Storage
        • Weebly.com Subdomain
      • Starter – $8
        • Drag & Drop Builder
        • No Weebly Ads
        • Unlimited Storage
        • Connect Your Domain
        • Advanced Site Stats
        • 3% transaction fee
      • Pro – $12, Same as the Starter Plan with the addition of:
        • Site Search
        • Password Protection
        • Video Backgrounds
        • HD Video & Audio
        • Up to 100 Members
      • Business – $25, Includes all features listed above with the addition of:
        • Unlimited Members
        • Membership Registration
        • 0% transaction fee
  1. Simbla – One unified business environment: Responsive Website Builder, Application Builder, App Market
    Simbla Website Themes
    Source: Snipper From Simbla Website Theme
    1. Features
      • Full Security
      • Cloud-based Platform
      • SEO
      • Bootstrap technology
    2. Pricing
      1. Free – 60 Day Trial of all features
      2. Starter
        • $6/month
          • 1 GB Storage & Bandwidth
          • Connect your Domain
          • 1,000 Database Records
          • 1,000 Database Requests
          • Blog
          • News
          • Product Catalog
          • Lead Manager
      3. Basic – Same features as above with the differences:
        • $12 /month
        • 3 GB Storage & Bandwidth
        • Connect your own Domain
        • 5,000 Database Records
        • 10,000 Requests
        • E-Commerce
      4. Advanced – Same features as above with the exceptions:
        • $24 /month
        • 10 GB Storage / Bandwidth
        • Connect your own Domain
        • 20,000 Database Records
        • 40,000 Database Requests
      5. Pro – Same features as above with the exceptions:
        • $48 /month
        • 20 GB Storage / Bandwidth
        • Connect your own Domain
        • 50,000 Database Records
        • 100,000 Database Requests
  2. WordPress
    Source: Snippet From WordPress Theme Directory
    1. Features
      • Drag & Drop Posts/Media
      • Built-in Social Sharing
      • In-Depth Stats
      • SEO
    2. Pricing
      1. Free
        • WordPress Subdomain
        • JetPack Plugin (Social sharing, site stats, spam protection, SEO)
        • Basic Design Customization
        • Free themes
        • 3 GB Storage Space
      2. Personal – Same features as above plan with the exception of:
        • $2.99/month billed yearly
        • Custom Domain Name
        • Email & Live Chat Support
        • 6GB Storage Space
        • Remove WordPress.com Ads
      3. Premium – Same features as above plan with the exception of:
        • $8.25/month billed yearly
        • Unlimited Premium Themes
        • Advanced Design Customization
        • 13GB Storage Space
        • Remove WordPress.com Ads
        • Monetize your site
        • Video-Press support
      4. Business – Same features as above with the exception of:
        • $24.92/ month billed yearly
        • Unlimited Storage Space
        • Remove WordPress.com Ads
        • Attend live courses
        • SEO Tools
        • Install Plugins
        • Upload themes
        • Google Analytics Integration
        • Remove WordPress.com Branding
  3. Wix

    Wix Website Themes
    Source: Snippet from Wix Website Themes
    • Features
      • Easy Drag & Drop Design
      • Custom Domain Name
      • Video
      • SEO
      • Bookings / Customers Tab
      • Mobile App
      • Members’ Forum
      • Text Editor – for customization
    1. Pricing – Wix offers prices for personal or professional websites. Listed below are the ones most applicable for vacation rental users:
      • Unlimited Plan (For Entrepreneurs & Freelancers)
        • $14/month
        • Unlimited bandwidth & pages
        • 10 GB storage
        • Free Domain
        • Remove Wix Ads
        • $300 Ad Vouchers
        • Site Booster App
        • Form Builder App
      • eCommerce (For Small Businesses) – Same features as the unlimited plan with the exceptions of:
        • $17/month
        • 20 GB bandwidth
        • 20 GB storage
        • Online Store
      • VIP (Priority Support) – Has the same features as the eCommerce plan with the additional items:
        • $25/month
        • VIP support / 24-7 Support
        • Site Review

Or maybe, you don’t have time to build your website on your own, and that’s okay.

Futurestay, as a vacation rental dashboard, can help you design a website. You choose one of our templates, customize your fonts and colors, add photos, and make your website personalized!

Do you already have a website? No problem! You can connect your website and domain to access Futurestay’s rental dashboard. You’ll still get full access to Futurestay’s rental dashboard, listing channel automation, guest management, financial reports, and other features.

Choosing a Website Template

Different platforms provide designs that tailor to your property. For instance, whether you want your website to be image focused. Some templates allow you to choose where you want the search bar. Should it be in the middle of the page? After your property’s images?

How do you choose the best template for your rental business? Think of your brand as a whole. What colors, images, and font choices reflect your brand?

For instance, an urban apartment’s website would have a different feeling than a tropical villa. Make sure that your design choices have meaning.

Choose a Website Template Which Aligns with Your Rental Business

Keep It Simple

Part of creating a website means customizing it for your business. It’s tempting to overspend or over-design. Sometimes that means adding plugins and features which you may not need.

Less is more. You don’t want to overwhelm your renters. Here are some ways to optimize your website:

  1. Easy Navigation – One article cites that you have less than a minute to capture your viewers’ attention before they leave the page. If you have clear navigation, travelers will know where to click and visit.
  2. Call-to-actions (CTA) – Are text, images, or buttons that link to content or pages. This persuades users to download, signup, or buy a product or service. A carefully place CTA can draw your renter into your site. Some examples include:
    • “Read More”
    • “Book Now”
    • “Download e-book”
    • “Sign up Today”

Mobile Friendly Websites

In 2016, Hosting Facts found that “52.7% of global internet users and 75.1% of U.S. internet users access the internet via mobile.”

With more individuals shopping from their phones, having a mobile friendly website is key. “40% of global internet users, or more than 1 billion people, have bought products or goods online.”

Travelers booking vacations also browse and book from their phones. Expand your market and booking possibilities by having a dual site. This will increase your reach and also prove a testament to your sites’ navigation.

Mobile Capabilities are Important for Your Websites' Success

Starting Your Website

Choosing your platform and features is the basis for creating a vacation rental website. When making your decisions, mobile friendly and navigable designs matter.

The next step for your website is to customize it for your business. Check out part two of our post, where we discuss the design and styling of a website.