Friday, October 7, 2011

Web Hosting for Vacation Rental Owners

This post was originally published on Rent By Owner Guide under the title Setting up a Vacation Rental Website


We have found it important to have our own website for our vacation rentals. Over the last 3 years, 12% of our rental income at Sunset Beach Bliss has come through our website, and 8% at Beech Mountain Bliss. Search for "beech mountain condo" on Bing or Yahoo, and our website currently comes up #1. On Google we're #4. It is an important part of our Vacation Rental advertising.

We drive traffic to our website in a number of ways.
  1. Our Vacation Rental Blogs send visitors to our websites
  2. Our postcards and business cards include the URL of our websites
  3. We include the URLs in our email signatures
  4. We use the URL when we post classifieds
When we first started with Vacation Rental By Owner we didn't have our own website. So the URL we used was our VRBO listing. Fortunately VRBO hasn't gone out of business or changed the URL of our listing, and that link is still valid. However, prospects visiting VRBO are quite likely to see other properties in the same area on the site. Now that we have our own website we can control the message to our visitors.

If you want to get your own URL then are 3 options with varying costs and benefits. I'll go into more detail below.
  1. Register a domain name and redirect it to an existing listing
  2. Pay for professional website development for your vacation rental
  3. Build a website for your vacation rental yourself

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Web Hosting Industry Retrospective

When the LIST of low cost web space services was started in 1995, there weren't many options out there for someone wanting to publish content on the internet. It was fairly expensive, and there were a lot of limitations on space and bandwidth. I remember a particularly indignant provider complaining that $50/month was an unrealistic maximum for my list, and that they couldn't possibly afford to offer a service for that little.

Over the next 5 years there was an explosion of companies, and with competition, and technology getting cheaper, there were more and more hosting services offered at cheaper and cheaper prices. There was an especially large growth in resellers, while there was some consolidation in the actual underlying providers.

Monday, December 7, 1998

Putting your Business on the Web

You have downloaded one of the many shareware html editors and browsed through some books on creating a web site. You may have even put together a first draft of your web site. But one question has been nagging away at you: "How do I get this onto the Internet?" There are web servers that you can download, but your computer isn't connected to the Internet all the time, so how would that work? You could get a leased line, but those are expensive. Isn't there a cheaper and easier way to do this?

How to Profit from your Web Site

Either you already have a web site, or are planning one. You have original content that others find valuable. How can you profit from providing this information to people? You could try charging people for it but a popular alternative is to accept advertising. This keeps the content free for your visitors, while providing you income.

The simplest way to accept advertising on your web site is to sign up with a service like Commission Junction. Through Commission Junction a web site publisher has access to hundreds of different advertisers, and can select from among them for adverts of interest to their web site visitors. All payments from the advertisers are conveniently collected into a single account, and paid by check or direct transfer into your bank account.
For example, let's say you have a web site about James Thurber. You join the Amazon.com affiliate program, and create links from your site to the books of James Thurber on Amazon.com. Now when a visitor to your web site follows those links and buys something from Amazon.com you are paid a 15% commission.

How to accept Online Payments

Perhaps you would like to charge for access to certain content on your web site. Maybe you make something, or offer some service, and would like to sell that online. You might be designing the web site for your church, or another charitable cause, and want to accept online donations.


Accept Credit Card Payments Online
It is possible to setup your own Merchant Account allowing you to accept credit card payments through your web site. However, a much simpler approach is to accept payments through Paypal. Setting up a business account with Paypal allows you to accept credit card payments, as well as payments from several other sources.

Paypal integrates with many 3rd party shopping cart tools that you can add to your web site. But they also offer their own free shopping cart that is fairly easy to integrate without any CGI programming. Sign up for a Paypal business account (disclosure: if you sign up with this link I will receive a referral commission).