HotelCritic Flip – Before and After

I've had a number of requests from readers lately to share more of my flips on the blog. Today I finished a flip of my popular hotel review blog, HotelCritic(dot)org. This is a great example of how a little bit of time and energy can completely change the look and feel of a site.

If you have ever watched a house flipping show, at the end they show a "before" and "after". So here is my "before" and "after" for HotelCritic(dot)org:


When flipping a site like this, the first thing I notice is a lack of Brand Identity. The word "hotel critic" is displayed in gray text at the top, almost blending-into the page. Google Ads are the first thing you see which can make a user concerned that the site is more interested in advertising than providing information.

The color scheme is a bit annoying too – the hot pink makes the body-text look less important. While there is great content on the site it is not being done justice by the look and feel of the site. When visitors are looking for travel advice, they want a professional website that looks like it can represent the caliber of the hotel they might be looking for.

So, close your eyes, scroll, and then open your eyes again because here comes the "after":


For the flip I focused on using an elegant design and strong branding at the top of the page. The site not only has an identity – but it feel clean and refined. While these little details might not seem like much they have a lot of affect on your website visitors.

Both of these sites were designed using blogging software, the first TypePad and the second WordPad. Don't think that TypePad is crap because the first page doesn't look good. I choose to use WordPad because this particular theme really called-out to me and seemed like a great fit for a site like this.

Remember, domain flipping can take many forms, for a site like – a blog is a perfect format that adds an easy way for yourself or anyone to add content to your site, from anywhere in the world!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Have a great weekend and happy flipping!

Morgan Linton

Morgan Linton