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Website makeover for your bouncy castle hire business.

I am aware that this time of year (January 2012)-- many of you are seriously considering a complete re-design in order to attract more customers ...and stay one step ahead of your competitors.

One of the regulars (Repsol) on the forum on asked the following question a couple of days ago.

Hi Guys,

I am currently working with a website designer to redesign my website. I would love to hear from members about any impressive sites they have seen or their own sites, as I am struggling for inspiration!I don't want to end up with a dull website and creative flair is not my strong point

Thanks Repsol

There have been some great answers. I added my contribution as well, but I take a slightly different angle as I firmly believe that when designing (or re-designing) a website the first thing to consider is how to attract paying customers to book with you INSTEAD of your competitors. A professional logo, bright colours, lots of photos on your site, good navigation etc. are all extremely important, but the marketing should take priority.

This was my reply to Repsol....I hope you find it interesting and profitable!

Hi Repsol,

Very interesting post.

I have been creating websites now (and doing SEO) for BIHA members for a couple of years and I have come across several essential components that MUST be thought through in an inflatable hire website, before the site undergoes its colour scheme and overall look etc.

As an analogy, when you build a house, you lay down the foundations and build the walls and attach the roof before you do the painting and wallpapering, and installing the kitchen and bathroom etc.

My experience with dealing with a lot of customers over the last couple of years is that they sometimes get sidetracked (and distracted) with the actual design of their site, and forget about the vital components of that site which will result in more enquiries from customers.

E.g. Some of the prettiest sites I've seen cannot be found on Google.

In my honest opinion, having a well optimized site for the search engines should take priority over design. Having said that if you get both right - then that's great.

As a brief case study I will use (with permission) which I built for a BIHA member last year. (As an aside, he texted me last Thursday to let me know that he had taken 53 bookings (yes 53) the previous week, which all came from his website! - and they say January is supposed to be the quiet month!)

Here are some questions which you need to ask your webmaster. (Some of them are a little techie but they should understand what they mean)

1) Will they be optimizing your website so it goes to the top (or near the top) of Google (both on-page and off-page optimization) or will they be leaving this job to you?

2) Will they be including an hCard format on your site to keep Google happy?

3) Can your visitors instantly find your contact number and email address (or email contact form to hide your email) etc. (Several sites I looked at over Christmas - I just couldn't find the contact phone number!!! -- This could spell disaster for any business!)

4) Will the main towns you cover be mentioned on your website. Not too many, just the main ones (say a page or post dedicated to each of the towns you cover). This helps Google index your site more easily.

5) Will they be including a YouTube video? Have a quick look at the video on the left side of the homepage on It totally changes the look and feel of the site.

6) Will they be including links to authority sites such as PIPA, the BIHA, etc. (This is a good SEO practice as Google likes it when you link to authority sites in the bouncy castle niche and will reward you with a slightly higher ranking). To demonstrate this, I have recently linked the BIHA website to several authority sites such as the HSE, and have seen a small increase in rankings as a result.

7) Will there be a call to action on your website? E.g. an email capture form so that visitors can give you their email address in return for say a free garden game hire or a £5 discount off their next booking etc. When you have email addresses of your customers and prospects you can then email them if you have a quiet period and hopefully quickly fill your diary up!

8) Will they be including a section for reviews and testimonials? One of the reasons why Phil from gets so many bookings from the site I did for him is because he has several reviews published on his home page -- with the full name of the customer underneath, in most cases.

9) Will they be including a blog on your site which you can easily update every week or so. I cannot overemphasise it enough...if your website has a regularly updated blog then Google will love it and reward it with higher rankings.

10) Less important, but still useful...will they be including a weather forecast on your site?

11) Also worth asking them if you can easily get into the site and then start adding, editing and deleting content very easily with no real skills required. This can be really important as you don't want to be completely tied down to your webmaster. It's good to say, "I have a spare 10 minutes today, I think I'll update my blog".

12) Will they be claiming (or optimizing, or BOTH) your FREE Google Places listing?

13) Also, it's vitally important that you ask your webmaster the following question. Will my website render correctly when viewed on a mobile phone? E.g. if you look at on your desktop or laptop, you will see one site. HOWEVER, if you then view the same site on your mobile you will see a completely different website - as it has been designed to properly fit on a tiny screen and load up extremely quickly.

Also, it should have that all important "click to call" button, so the customer doesn't have to fiddle about making a call to you at the same time they are surfing!

More and more people nowadays are using their mobile phone to surf the internet, while out and about or in the office (because the boss won't allow them to use their work computer!)

If they look at your website on their mobile and it either doesn't load up or doesn't display your contact number properly, then you risk losing a booking.

Google reckons that in 2012 and beyond 50%+ of people looking at websites for LOCAL services will do so on a mobile phone! If your website is NOT auto-detectable on a mobile, then you could be alienating half of all the visitors to your website!

Please could you double-check your webmaster can add the necessary code to make your website "mobile friendly" - otherwise potential bookings could be lost.

Once all the above has been discussed with your webmaster and hopefully answered to your satisfaction, you can then go onto the other vitally important stage of discussing artwork, colours, designs, where the pics are going to go etc. etc.

Hope that all makes sense.

In a nutshell, I take the view that strong effective marketing of a website (and "Google Friendliness") should be top priority. If the site is also very pleasing to the eye, easy to navigate, and professional looking - then that is the ideal combination.

If any member wishes to have a website built by the BIHA, then we are offering a subsidized deal at the moment (We currently have 5 slots left).

Here are some examples which you can look at: (currently number 1 in Google for the keywords "Bouncy castle hire Chelmsford" -- re-directs to ) (DJ site) (Site just started) (Our own site) (Our own site)

Here is a breakdown of the fees...(This is about 30% of what we normally charge, but I like to give members a very good deal!)

Domain name £8 for two years.

Website (7+ pages) £100


Advanced SEO (Fee negotiable)

Promotional Video -- FREE OF CHARGE.

Mobile compatible website (i.e. where your website will "auto-detect" and render on a mobile phone) -- FREE OF CHARGE.

Blog added to your website for good SEO -- FREE OF CHARGE.

Website hosting - £25 per year (FIRST YEAR IS FREE)

Website turnaround time is approx 2 -- 5 days from the time of domain registration.

Your website would be built on the popular Wordpress platform. This means that you can easily go in and add, edit or delete content on the site yourself (on the fly) -- without any technical skills required. (It's as easy as writing and sending an email -- we would show you how to do it if you need help).

If you are interested (don't forget we only currently have 5 slots left) please email me at:

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      17 - 19
      20 - 29
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      We charge an extra £10
      We charge an extra £20
      We charge an extra £30
      We charge an extra £40
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      We charge an extra £60
      We charge an extra £70
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      Cannot answer as I don't yet have a website

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