When designing effective websites, business owners must focus on their customers’ needs. Restaurant competition is fierce, and you only have a few seconds to grab the users attention and present them with a valid reason to visit your business before they move on.
With restaurant websites, visitors are primarily interested in finding specific information. Therefore, critical sections of your restaurant site should be prominently displayed, be easy to read and can be saved for repeat visits.
Some of the tips below may seem obvious, but many restaurant websites, even those created by professional designers, don’t follow these simple guidelines.
Every restaurant site should have a menu. This is especially important for locations that have carryout and delivery. A pdf menu is better than nothing, but in order to take full advantage of the SEO benefits of online content, you should have the menu built into the body of the website.
The menu should be printable and be readable on a mobile device. Avoid using a scanned image of your menu. Text is hard to read in an image and the large file will load slowly on many computers.
OpenMenu is a great free service that allows you to input and store your menu using an online menu builder tool. Once your menu is built, you can share it on websites, mobile devices and social media. You can see a sample menu we added to our restaurant website at: http://restaurant.tervosystems.com/full-menu/
Contact information should be prominently displayed or linked on every page. If your phone number is hard to find, many visitors will quickly give up and move on.
Remember, there’s a good chance visitors picked your restaurant from a list of search results. It’s only a matter of a single click to go back to the list and pick the next restaurant.
Better yet, make sure your contact info is in front of the visitor before they even see your website. Make sure all your details are updated in Google Places and Bing Business Portal.
Hours of Operation
A common reason visitors are looking at your web page is to see if you’re open. Make sure your hours of operation are prominently displayed and are correct.
A map to your location is essential. Links to directions from Google or Bing Maps should be accessible on the desktop and mobile phones.
Nearly half of Americans own a smartphone and that is increasing every year. If your restaurant website can’t be found or easily read in a mobile browser, you’re losing customers.
Your website should be mobile ready. It should have a link that will automatically dial the restaurant and also have links to maps of your location and mobile readable menus. OpenMenu has a free mobile site for restaurants as a part of their service.
Skip the Flash Intros
Fancy flash intros add no real value to your website and are a waste of bandwidth and money to have them developed. If there’s a “Skip Intro” link on your flash intro, a majority of your visitors will click it.
Also, any visitor to your site using an iPad, iPhone or a computer with an outdated version of Flash Player will get a big ugly error box.
Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms are great ways for restaurants to advertise. Customers can like and recommend your restaurant to their friends. It also gives you a way to interact with your customers by sharing pictures, specials and events.
Your site will get an extra boost from Google and other search engines if you are posting content regularly. Weekly specials are a great way to add fresh content to your website. Use blogging software like WordPress to post specials and events. If possible, write several posts in advance and schedule them to appear on the site at the right time.
The good news is that a lot of your competition isn’t paying attention to these basic guidelines for restaurant web sites. Therefore, with a little effort, your restaurant will rise to the top of the search rankings in no time. We built a sample website at http://restaurant.tervosystems.com. Take a look at our sample and see what we can do to improve your restaurant sales.