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yorks45

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Everything posted by yorks45

  1. I think the rental market in France has taken a bit of a beating over

    the last year or so but so have many other tourist areas and countries.

    The advent of cheap flights and the current trend for exotic holidays

    could be to blame but it may be we are just in a state of

    transition.  I seem to think at present that there is alot of

    'holiday snobbery' around. Tradional holiday destinations are being

    shunned in favour of more 'glamourous holidays.'

    For example I was talking to someone recently who was bragging about

    their holiday in Jamaica and how wondeful it was. They actually stayed

    at an all inclusive hotel and never left it throughout the two weeks !

    The attraction of France, the friendly people, uncrowded villages and

    roads, the variety of climates and landscapes, the ease of access will

    always ensure France is a popular destination.

    .

  2. Hi

    Does anyone know of / or can recommend builders / roofers in Cotes d'armor  Brittany ?

    Thanks

  3. Forgot to mention on my last posting but if you wish to register domain

    names use freeparking.co.uk. They are inexpensive and there are no

    hidden extras unlike many other companies. Aviod UK2.net like the

    plague.

  4. Hi

    Setting up a website need not be expensive although many companies may

    tell you otherwise. I work as a web designer and I am also a french

    property owner.

    The price you pay depends on how easily you require the website to be

    updatable and what features you require. Our own website

    (http://www.abrittanycottage.co.uk) is  95% HTML  and so

    would be relativley inexpensive to create. If a database is required

    then you will pay more.

    Remember though the website MUST be correctly written or you will be

    wasting your time so ensure you select a good web designer. Also do not

    employ anyone who charges for updates to the website...its a con. There

    is no reason why you cant make website easily updatable but many web

    designer either seem to be able to do this or just wish to charge

    riduclous amounts for simple text updates.

  5. I read these comments with interest as we have a property that we are about to rent out just to cover the running costs really. What do people think about having a 'name and shame' list for guest from hell ?

    I have a couple of websites , one for our own property and another listing all types of french accommodation. As I work as a database web designer I am using this accommodation website as a bit of a testbed but also to advertise our own property.

    I quite like the idea of putting a 'name and shame' list on the website although I dont think you could really name people other than

    The Jo_____ family from Brighton"... etc.

    If anyone got an enquiry from someone with the name "Jo____ from Brighton", you could contact the person who posted the ad and find out if they are the same people....hope that makes sense

    what do people think of doing this ?

     

     

  6. Alexis

    You may be right ..it could be polish. Can you recommend any polishes to try ?

  7. Hi all

    I forgot to add this in my last post so here goes.

    We have a lovely wooden floor in our property which the colour/varnish has worn off in places. I dont really want to sand the floor down completely and redo it as I think it will look 'too perfect' and I am not sure what varnish was originally used on the floor.

    Anyone got any ideas and how to deal with this ?

    Thanks
  8. Hi all

    Just wondering if anyone can recommend anyone who does external rendering in the Dinan area , Brittanny ?

    Also I would be interested to find out how easy it is to do yourself. Our property has an orange coloured render on the walls and we have been told that this is created by using a coloured sand in the render.

    Has anyone any experience of doing there own rendering and how difficult is it ?

    Thanks in advance
  9. Hi All

    can anyone recommend good builders/roofers in the Dinan area, Brittany ?

    Thanks
  10. Hi all

    I have a website on which you can freely advertise your French accommodation.

    http://www.bonjourlafrance.co.uk

    You can register and enter all details about your accommodation. Using the login details you can then log back in and change these details whenever you want. If you dont have a website you can use the page as a simple website and even point your own domain name at it. Below is a link to an example of a page you can create

    http://www.bonjourlafrance.co.uk/advshow.asp?clid=12

    If you use the site all I ask in return is a link back.

    The website is being developed in my spare time (I works as a web database designer) so it isnt complete yet but I am adding new sections all the time

    thanks

  11. Hi all

    We have a longere in Brittany near Dinan. This will be mainly used as a holiday home and hopefully somewhere to spend more time in in the future.

    We are however going to rent the house out next year mainly just to cover running costs and perhaps pay for a few improvements.

    Is there anyone on here who would be interested in managing the house for us ? I am really looking for 'that personal touch' if you know what I mean rather than have some company who manage dozen of gites.

    please feel free to contact me to discuss this or if you need more info

    thanks in advance
  12. Mike

    The website is currently being extended to cover all regions of France. At present we have Brittany, Normandy and currently working on Aquitaine. Owners of accommodation in other areas can register and add their details which will be on the website when the relevant region in released.

    If anyone has interesting information on a particular region/department/town/village then please let us know and we can included it

    http://www.bonjourlarfrance.co.uk

  13. Hi all

    just to add to the debate. I work as an Internet designer and my advice to anyone is never to pay for any updates. Websites that are database driven are easy to update and there is absolutely no reason (other than to make more money) why a company should not provide a facility for you to update the text on your own webpage/website.

    I would never dream of charging anyone for updates to a site. Also dont let website designers use 'you cannot make updates to your site as it may mess up my design' as a reason for not allowing you to update your own website. Its a load of rubbish !

    It is easy to produce a basic website that can be updated simply by the owner. Take a look at http://www.bretagne-gites.co.uk. This website is fully updatable by its owner and is simply a case of filling in a form on the screen. There is no way the owner can mess up the design or stop the website working.

    Robert
  14. Hi liz

    Yes that would be a good idea

    Plans have changed slightly..we are looking for a small gite for around the middle of May in Brittany near the South Coast.

    We are also looking for a gite/B&B/apartment in Var or Provence. Preferably within 100 miles of the coast. Dates for this are 16th August - 23rd August for 2 people.

    Thanks

  15. Thought I would post another topic on here as I got no response from my last one.

    We are visiting the south of France in August. Flying to Nice, spending a few days on the coast and then moving inland to have a look round and look at property.

    Can anyone recommend any B&B's within say 1-2 hours of Nice ?

    Thanks

    Robert
  16. Hi Michelle

    One thing to remember when you have designed your website is content. These days search engines like content so put plenty of text on there preferably with key search terms i.e terms which you think your visitors would use to find your site.

    Good luck

    Robert
  17. Hi Mike

    We are visiting the south of France in August. Were planning to spend a few days on the coast ..Nice, Monaco etc and then move inland (East) to have a look around and at property.

    Can you recommend any areas to look at / stay ? Know of any good agents ?

    Regards

    Robert

  18. Hi Ken

    Anyway thanks for the debate. Who knows one day when I havent much to do I may give it a go

    Good luck with the site

    Robert
  19. Hi Mike

    No not in France at the moment. Been looking for a property there for a few years now ..hopefully this year will be the one.

    I work as a web designer using ASP, Coldfusion. My background is mainly database design. Also had alot of experience with multimedia CD-ROM, sound video etc.

    I run a few websites for clients but usually when they have admin systems they run their own. I do administer a large community site for someone so am responsible for the smooth running of the web servers, video chat facilities etc etc. This was the one I was talking about in an earlier post which was developed in India. It was so inefficient it was running up £500/month bandwidth charges.

    You in France then ?

    Robert

  20. Hi Mike

    Agreed promotion isnt easy especially in very competative areas but we have found it has to be approached from a number of different angles. What I was trying to point out is that paying hundreds of pounds to web promotion companies who say they will give you top ten listings is futile. Hard work getting good relevant links can pay dividends and you dont have to be an expert to do this.

    Obviously content and relevant linking is important but we have found good results with targetted google ads. Also websites renting out a gite or two probably dont need thousands of hits per day unlike dedicated travel sites.

    I agree with you about saving a few quid. The owner of the site I worked on last year tried to save a few quid and ended up spending at least 3 times more than he should.

    Also agree about hotscripts...most are a pain and you usually end up hand coding.

    What sites do you run ?

    Robert
  21. Hi Ken

    I am afraid we will have to agree to disagree then. I am not knocking foreign workers at all but the experiences I have had havent been good. The same goes for English people too however, I have seen poorly written website done by english companies too.

    I dont think however you can say £2000-£3000 is a rip off though for a job that could take 6 weeks. Of course you can get it done cheaper in India or Pakistan but look what is happening to call centres now..they all moved to such countries because it 'was cheaper' but many companies are now reconsidering this and moving back here...wonder why ?

    I hadnt really looked at your website in detail but can see the PHP in the login. Interesting you choose to render HTML pages, how often do they refresh ? Unfortunately for alot of the sites I work on that isnt an option as they constantly change and pages that are more than 40 seconds out of date are unacceptable.

    Anyway thanks for the discussion..its been fun I notice you sell advertsing to property owners so I can understand you not liking my idea !

    Robert

  22. Hi Ken

    Just wondering what your background is ? Are you a web designer ? I notice your website seems to be entirely HTML which is very different from a database driven one.

    £2000-£3000 is certainly not a rip off considering the amount of work involved. You not only have to consider the actual website but also the admin system that runs it. That effectively doubles the amount of code required. Also you have to think about quality and maintainability.

    I have just completed a job for someone who had a website written in India which he had put out to tender. It cost him just over $2000 (dollars) for a huge community website. Unfortunatley the quality was appalling and I have just finished rewriting it completely. It took me 6 weeks. I can get my house painted by some 16 year old for £200 but I bet it wont be much good ! Getting it done cheaply doesnt often pay.

    Regarding hotscripts/free scripts etc ..I dont know if you have ever tried to use any of these but it can actually take longer getting them to integrate than it does to write the thing from scratch. I have been working on the net now for many years (i can still remember 14.4k modems !) and working in the database design / web design area for nearly the same amount of time and have rarely used hotscripts.

    Re web promotion - agreed this takes time but these days its content and relevant links that drive traffic. You dont have to be a web guru to do this, neither do you have to pay web promotion companies hundreds of pounds.

    You mention a basic off the shelf package ...do you know of any ?

    re "90% of home made website owners, they would tell you that they’re website is functional". I agree but I wonder how effective it is. Another forum topic on here is asking for guinea pigs to test a new website devoted to French accomodation. Look at the amount of replies that topics has had. If people were content with their 'functional website' why are so many people interested in that ?

    I agree the idea might not be better than a reputable letting agencies but I bet it would be a damn sight cheaper in long term which was the whole point of my idea. Advertising could also be shared on Google ads etc. Also it would give owners more control over what they want.

    I think we are on the same wavelength here as your website states it "was formed in 1997 as a direct reaction against the ill conceived, poorly promoted and above all expensive advertising that was available at the time"

    Thanks for you support anyway

    Robert

  23. Hi Ken (France Direct)

    Thanks for your reply. I would just like to address a few of your points.

    How would your project work?

    Ths message I posted was just an idea. Its a result of seeing so many people ripped off by worthless advertising on websites. I talk to 2-3 people a week who have paid to appear in directories, specialist websites etc and get no response to their adverts. Thinking aloud here..but many people I speak to pay £200/year + to appear in these. If people wishing to advertised their gites/B&B's pooled their resources then they could actually build their own professional website with online booking and admin facilities, availablity, tours etc etc. For example I would estimate such a website would cost in the region of £2000-£3000. Twenty accomodation owners paying £150 each would be able to have such a site developed. That would be a one off payment and they would own the website.

    Who would build the website?

    Any competent web developer

    Who would promote the website?

    Website promtotion is not difficult if the site is developed correctly. For example I did a site for a client which was launched in Dec 04 and now attracts 100+ unique visitors / day and now growing by 20 unique visitors per week. I quote visitors here not hits as that is a worthless figure and gives no indication of popularity. People involved in the project also use the address on all correspondance which in turns helps

    Who would own the website?

    The people who paid for it developing would own it.

    How would you allocate disk space?

    Why do you need to allocate disk space ? Disk space costs nothing these days. Also an interactive website would need to have an underlying database which uses database data and templates to run. This means that pages do not physically exist but are generated when required. Disk space is not an issue

    You mention payment for doing the work. Of course the person doing it would need to be paid but that would be a one off payment not a yearly payment nor would the owner of the website take a cut of the rental charges as the people who paid for it developing would own it.

    Yes the project would need a coordinator but this isnt a difficult job.

    1. People agree to join the project

    2. Facilities are discussed, agreed and specified.

    3. The website is developed, tested

    4. Every owner contributing has their own login details to use the admin system. In the admin system they enter their accomodation details, photos and any bookings they may have. Details of accomodation are stored in a database so visitors to the website can search through all available accomodation quickly and easily.

    5. Each accomodation owner has their own virtual website within the main one. They would easily be able to modify this via the admin system. In addition they could point their own domain names at the site.

    You mention that everyone should have their own bit of cyberspace. Whilst I agree with you that its no bad thing the problem is that times are changing. Your website is now seen as a storefront to your business. Personally I have no confidence buying from any website that is poorly designed, unattractive,doesnt work etc. I strongly disagree with you that there are very few bad websites. 90% of websites out there either bad, poorly designed, dont work or amateurish. Whilst this doesnt matter for non commercial websites it certainly does for commercial ones !

    Anyway what I am suggesting would mean that everyone would still have their own part of cyberspace but it would be a properly written and designed piece of cyberspace not one with red writing on a green background, flashing icons everywhere, photos that take 5 minutes to download on a broadband connection, links that dont work etc.

    Also you have to remember not many people are capable of running their own website. Many people struggle with HTML so how can you expect them to write online availability and booking systems , credit card facilities etc ? You may argue that many people do not want these facilities but as i said earlier times are changing. People expect to be able to check things like availablilty online, book online etc. If I am looking for a B&B in Brittany I want to be able to look at the website, see what the accomodations and surrounding is like, check if its available and book it if it is.

    Nice to have a bit of discussion on here

    Robert

  24. Hi all

    I am currently looking for a property in France, not to rent out but to eventually live in for a proportion of the year. I work as a self employed web designer specialising in database driven website (for the non technical amongst you they are websites that use a database to store information and that can be updated very easily). This type of works means I can work from anywhere , even France and not have to worry about renting gites out etc.

    I see alot of posts on here about various rental websites, developing your own website etc etc. The Internet is a wonderful advertising medium. After all what other medium offers 24 hours/7 days/364 weeks a year worldwide advertising for very little cost ?

    Unfortunatley the Internet does have problems, getting people to view your website, "website designers" who havent a clue what they are doing, websites which charge a fortune for worthless advertsing..I have seen them all.

    Anyway to the point. Why dont all the people on here work together to develop a website that everyone can use to advertise their businesses ?

    I am not suggesting this as a way to get business as I am snowed under with work at the moment anyway but I would be happy to give free advice / help on how to do this. Its far easier to get a project like that off the ground if you already a large number of people wanting to use it and willing to contribute to it rather than everyone creating their own little piece of cyberspace and hoping it works.

    Anyway its just a thought and in the long term it may save everyone money and bring in more business. Comments are welcome !

    Yorks
  25. Hi all

    We are visiting France twice this year to look for property and are looking for accomodation (either a gite or B&B)

    In June we are visiting Brittany around 9-10th June for a week

    In August we are visiting Cannes/St Tropez and then moving a little inland to look for property. This will be around thr 15th August

    If anyone runs a B&B or has a gite that may be available during these periods then i would be delighted to hear from you.

    Thanks in advance

    Robert
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