In 1995 when we started the Lodge with Bed & Breakfast rooms, we knew we would need a website so visitors could find us because of our remote location. Nancy, being a computer science major, downloaded a course on HTML and attempted to learn it. Very quickly she realized she didn’t have the time or energy to learn HTML. Scott did some research and found FrontPage – a web developing software. And so Scott and Nancy embarked on designing and publishing their own website – Scott with design and content ideas and Nancy the techie. We wanted our website to have lots of pictures so people could see where they were going to stay and many times we’ve received the comment “It looks just like the pictures on the Internet”.
We started out designing the website for our two bed & breakfast rooms and also included information on our North Fork Valley area, our remote location, and the Lodge. Over the last 20 years or so, as our business grew, so did our website. By 1999, we’d added 2 more bed & breakfast rooms to the Lodge so they were added to our website. In 2002, we built the Grizzly Cabin and we added it to our website. The Little Bear Cabin and Little Griz Cabin were built in 2006 and 2007 respective and we added them to our website. Nancy started hosting Quilting Retreats in 2007 so we added that activity to our website.
Being avid hikers of Glacier National Park, we wanted to make trail information available for visitors to our area on hiking Glacier Park and we added that information to our website. There are so many different activities to do in our area, we added information and links referencing many of these different activities on our website. We had so much information on our website that even the employees of Glacier National Park would refer visitors to our website for more information.
It’s one thing to develop and publish a website, but if you don’t promote it so the search engines can find you the website does you no good. In 1996 when we first published our website, Scott spent countless hours promoting our website and working the search engines so in just a couple of years our website was ranked near the top in major search engines when searching on Glacier Park Lodging or Glacier Park Cabins. We held that ranking in the major search engines until a couple of years ago when the search engines changed their algorithms.
With the new age of most people making their lodging reservations online, we decided in 2014 to add a booking engine to our website. After some research, Scott found MOHOBOOK and we met Ross. It became apparent quite quickly that FrontPage was old and outdated and trying to integrate a newly designed booking engine was going to cause conflicts. Being two business owners who like to have control of their website, it was difficult to accept that we needed assistance from someone else to develop a new website.
Ross has been great to work with on the developing or our new website. He researched our old website to get a feel for what we might want in a new website and has guided us through this process. We still wanted lots of pictures and he’s made that possible on all our pages. We’ve consolidated information on the Rooms and Cabins so all the information pertaining to each Room or Cabin is on one page and more efficient. We wanted to continue to have information on the Local Attractions, maps and trail information for Glacier Park and Flathead National Forest, and links to other websites that might be of interest to visitors so we’ve included pages where visitors can find this information under Places to Go. We wanted to continue to promote the Quilting Retreats so we have a page with more information for quilters to include a form for easier registration. We are learning how to Blog so we can disseminate information on what’s happening either here at Smoky Bear Ranch or in our local area. We wanted an easy way for people to find us and contact us so we’ve included an interactive map on how to find us at the bottom of each page and an easy form to fill out with questions or comments. We’ve even made it easy for you to write a review on TripAdvisor about your stay with us. And, we now have a modern website that won’t conflict with the booking engine where we have links on every page to make it quick and convenient to make your reservation with us.
We’re really excited about our new website. We think it shows our unique Lodge and Cabins very positively. It’s been an enjoyable, educational, and challenging project all at once. We hope you find our website interesting, informative, and easy to use.