Vacation Rental Managers Need to Know These 24 Website Design Terms

Unlike some website design companies, OneRooftop is built from the ground up to help vacation rental professionals grow their online presence, edge towards listing site independence, and earn more direct bookings. OneRooftop has done this by tying its leading property management software directly into website design, both with vacation rental website templates and custom website design.

Design is all about details. Whether you’re using a vacation rental website template or working with a designer to build something one-of-a-kind, you get more out of your website when you know the lingo. OneRooftop has put together this list of website design terms to help cover all the bases, from basic terms to intermediate concepts and advanced design techniques you can implement on your website.

The Bare Necessities

Content – Content is one of the most important parts of your website. It’s all the text on your pages. Content also remains one of Google’s priorities for PageRank, plus it’s what tells your guests everything they need to know! With a website template, your content is easily organized and you have full control of adding and editing it whenever you’d like. If you ever jump on the phone with someone from OneRooftop, you’ll likely hear us talk about adding content. Plus, when you get a custom website design, you can add content while OneRooftop’s design team gets its creative on.

Website Template – Website templates translate to no tech skills required and work great whether you’re new to computers or are a website wizard. Templates consistently organize your content across across all pages so your branding can shine. All the tools you need to add more pages, set up a property, and upload pictures are at your fingertips.

Theme – Many people will use template and theme interchangeably. Much like a template, the theme is what your website actually looks like. It’s that ready-to-go design with modern flourishes. You can change your website’s change whenever you want without losing any content. Pretty cool when you feel ready for a change.

Lorem Ipsum – When you got your free trial website, did you see your About Us page had some funny text in a different language? Lorem ipsum is a dummy text. Designers use it so you can preview what your font will look like. Once you’ve decided on a website template, you’ll want to replace this content with your own.

Widget – It’s a funny word, that’s for sure. A widget adds interactive elements to your website. All OneRooftop websites come equipped with a Booking Widget and an Ask Question widget. But there are other kinds of widgets too. Many marketers include a widget from Mail Chimp so they can collect an email address for email marketing and newsletters. Some hosts also ask for a weather widget so people coming in from out of town can learn if there’s snow on the mountain or sun at the beach.

Responsive design – Responsive design is a website architecture that makes your website look great on all devices. When your website is optimized to load on a smart phone or an iPad, guests can more simply navigate and perform tasks.

Home Page vs Property Page – At OneRooftop, we love this one. Website design for vacation rentals brings some ambiguity to that term “Home Page,” as it isn’t actually the page where guests view property photos, rates, and availability to book aka “the home”. Rather, your home page is the first impression a guest gets of your brand. Using big, high-resolution photos with a logo help make your home page pop. Having some content with a few keyword phrases can help your website with SEO too!

Property Results Page – Property managers or owners of multiple properties will by default get a property results page on their website. This page lets guests filter through your homes based on location, property type, and even price. Single-property websites won’t encounter a results page since they only have one home. Guests can just navigate to the property page right away.

Header and Footer – Much like your body, the header is at your website’s top, and the footer is at the bottom. Makes sense, right? But what are they for? You can include very useful information in your header and footer. Often in a header, you will see a logo, a menu, and perhaps also contact details or social media icons. Sometimes website’s will also include this information in the footer. In OneRooftop’s system, the footer is also where you can log into your account as an owner.

Logo – Every website needs a logo to be memorable. Even if it’s just a simple logo, having a name for your website with some graphic detailing is a must have. Plus, on your website a logo is also a great way to navigate back to your home page. Gertrude Rentals have designed this refined and elegant logo for their website.


Intermediate Design Concepts

Slider vs. Fixed Image – People land on your website and what do they see? Great big beautiful image. Whoop — and then there goes another. Choosing between a slider with multiple photos or just one static image is a personal preference, but it also depends on what photos you have. If you have a great photo, don’t put in a small photo just so you can have a carousel. Static, or even “Hero” images, can make a big impact on guests.

Full-width gallery – On your property’s page, OneRooftop incorporates variety into its themes. Some themes are designed so the photos reach the edges of your web browser. This can be a great way to wow guests — if you have the right photos. When the screen is wide screen, tall or skinny photos turn blurry. (See Lightbox below to learn about how some designs can help fix this!)

Valle Crucis Vineyard went with Ithica to display their huge photo, crisp photos.

Valle Crucis Vineyard went with Ithica to display their huge photo, crisp photos.

Fixed-width gallery – As opposed to a full-width photo, fixed-width galleries have a specific dimension set by the designer. Fixed width galleries are great! They’re a clean layout, and prevent that photo of your remodeled kitchen from stretching!


ATX Casas keep a clean look with a fixed width gallery.

Hardcode – When you add content to the back-end of your website, you’ll see that content appear on the front-end. Most templates accomplish most needs, but sometime a designer needs to come to click your design concept into place. You might hear someone say “hard code”. All this means is that a designer will customize the site, and this one element won’t be editable except by a designer.

Favicon – When you look at the tab in your web browser you’ll see a mini version of the logo. That’s a favicon. Why are they important? Because when a guest is looking at multiple properties, you want the guest to remember which website is yours! When you design a logo, just ask the designer for a favicon to upload to your website!

Embeded Videos – Embedding videos to different web pages is a great way to convert guests. Your website is made up of a bunch of code that ultimately turns into a website. If you get a YouTube or Vimeo video, you can copy and paste that HTML code into a page.

Landing Page – A landing page is where a guest enters your website. This could be via paid advertising or natural searches. Most often it’s a specific page you’ve optimized with a specific Call to Action.

Beneath the Fold – The “Fold” is a newspaper term for when you unfold a newspaper to see the bottom half the front page. In website design, designers recommend adding some a few keywords above the fold so guests know they’re in the right place. OneRooftop’s client Rio Beach Rentals has these terms above the fold for a great effect:


Putting the heading above the fold is a smart SEO move.

Advanced and Awesome!

Maybe that stuff was too easy and you want to get down to the nitty gritty stuff! These techniques are definitely more advanced, but that doesn’t always mean they require custom work by a designer! Many OneRooftop themes incorporate these ideas.

Lightbox – We recommend using them if your photos aren’t the right dimension for the gallery. It’s a nifty for vacation rental website builders, where maybe some photos work for full width, but others are tall skinny ones.


Guest Spaces used a lightbox design on their property pages.

Overlaid Text – One technique people can’t get enough of is text that overlays their photo. But hang on there. Some design work guarantees you don’t lose the text in the photo. People new to design maybe don’t realize there are plenty of techniques to make this tactic look great!

Healdsburg Experience used text deep shadow to make the text pop above their photo.


Another tactic some designers will do is image blur quiet down the image. This example actually comes from an iPhone app that specializes in making images with overlaid text


Hamburger Menu – No, we’re not talking In’n’Out Burgers here. With your responsive website design your website will scale down to look good on an iPhone. How do your guests navigate around a website on such a tiny screen? The hamburger menu is just a two-or-three-line button that opens up your menu so guests can easily navigate on mobile. While it’s most often seen as a solution for phones and tablets, it is actually coming back in style for full websites, like OneRooftop’s newest theme “Citrus”.


Have a great logo and beautiful pictures? Try Citrus.



OneRooftop provides leading vacation rental software and website design. In need of a website for your vacation rental? Start a 15 day free trial today.

Liked what you read? Sign up for our weekly newsletter with vacation rental news marketing strategies that work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *