Each day thousands of your potential customers form their first impression of your restaurant by looking at your website. Optimizing your restaurant’s website ensures that your website is quick, easy to navigate, and provides a seamless user experience. It can also help increase your ranking on search engines, thus, making it easier for customers to find your restaurant. It increases brand awareness and leads to a long-term increase in revenues.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can optimize your restaurant’s website in ten easy steps.
The first step to building great website is selecting a reliable web host which help you to optimize user experience on your website by reducing load times and improving your search engine rankings. This great resource by digital.com can help you get on to the right web-hosting service. Now, let’s discuss how you can create a great website for your restaurant.
10 Steps To Optimize Your Restaurant’s Website
1. Brand Identity
Your restaurant’s website is an online extension of your brick and mortar store. It should be a reflection of your brand identity. If your restaurant has been in business for some time, you may have already established your identity as a brand. This includes elements like your logo, your brand voice, your products, your positioning as a fast-casual or fine-dine restaurant, all aspects which makes you instantly recognizable to your customers and determine how they perceive your brand. Your brand identity should be reflected in every aspect of your website design including
- Color palette
- Brand voice
On the other hand, if you are just starting out and are yet to establish your brand, here are some questions that would give you an idea of how to go about branding your restaurant.
- Your Target audience
- How do you want your customers to perceive your brand
- How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?
- Your brand voice or how would you communicate with your customers.
2. Mobile-first design/ responsive design
Responsive website design automatically adjusts your content for viewing on different screen sizes. While we cannot stress enough on the need for responsive website design, the focus has now shifted to mobile-first design. So, what exactly is the difference between the two? Up until a few years ago, a website developer usually designed the website with desktop users in mind and then used additional coding to optimize the website for mobile screens.
However, with the recent shift in browsing habits, and with Google endorsing mobile-first, the right way to design your website is to focus on the mobile experience first. And it is logical, considering that most of your customers access your website on their mobile phones.
What makes for a perfect mobile-first design? I am sure, you have browsed quite a few websites on your mobile, so you know intuitively what works on mobile, so let’s just sum it up.
- A Fast loading site
- Less is more on mobile- we definitely want the content to be concise and to the point
- Simple Design
- Easy Navigation
- Accessible Menu
- Font should be readable on a mobile screen
- Images rendering on the mobile screen
- Contrasting color scheme
- Clickable buttons
3. Use Instinctive Navigation
Navigation should be simple and intuitive. Period. Your customers should be easily able to find the information they are looking for. And yes, it is your Menu page and order-online button, which they want to see the moment they land on your site. So make sure they appear right on the top prominently.
Primary navigation should stand out and sit along the top of the page. Include only the most important information such as a menu, reservations, contact information, and locations or events (depending on your requirements). You could add a secondary menu to the page footer, if required, which can include your blog, about us page, or any other info you might want to share.
4. NAP Information
What are the things you usually look for when you visit a restaurant’s website? After taking a peek at the menu, it is usually the address, phone number, or maybe business hours or the online order button. And, if you are on your mobile phone then the phone number should ideally be click-to-call. Well! The good news is that your customers are probably looking for the same. And it is best to give them what they are looking for.
Your NAP information – Name, address, and phone number and business hours should be prominently displayed on all pages, ideally in the footer or header of your website. Add Click-to-call extensions for mobile sites that offer a convenient way for website visitors to call you without leaving your website.
5. Store locator/map
Another convenience that you could offer your customers is adding a store locator to your website. A store locator helps users find your physical store via a map on your website. There are several ways you can do it:
- Use a Google Maps Widget: These widgets can be placed in specific areas on your site (such as your sidebar or footer).
- Install a Google Maps Plugin: There are seral plugins such as The WP Google Maps plugin, which enable you to create custom maps and give you flexibility over where your map is placed.
- You can even embed Google Maps Manually.
6. Menu Page Optimization
If restaurants could have only a single page menu, it will obviously be the menu page. Your menu page is basically your whole restaurant in a nutshell. Ensure that it is well designed.
- Create food categories Organizing your menu into categories such as vegetarian, non-vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, breakfast, or lunch enhances user experience especially on smaller screens.
- Add a short description to each food item.
- Use pictures: Use Good quality pictures of menu items.
- Prices: Add prices to each item.
- Personally, I want to see an add to cart option below each menu item.
The food industry is a visual industry. Your images are the focal point of your website. Ensure that you are using high-resolution images. Hire a professional photographer to do the job, if required.
8. Pop-ups and Auto-responders
Are you planning to set-up pop-ups on your restaurant website? There is a lot of controversy on the benefits of having a pop-up. While some feel that they are a great way to attract attention to your most important offers and deals, others argue that they are downright annoying. In either case, if you choose to use them ensure that you are allowing visitors ample time on your website before you start bombarding them with pop-ups.
- The CTAs on your pop-ups should be clear and they shouldn’t take a lifetime to load.
- The close button should be easily visible and accessible.
- Avoid pop-ups on mobile as far as possible.
- And, just do not shower your customers with pop-ups after every 5 seconds.
Auto-responders, on the other hand, is a great way to engage your customers. It makes sense to immediately thank a customer who takes the trouble to reach out to you.
Set up auto-responders on your contact page and everywhere else that you are asking the customers to reach out to you. You could even use this opportunity to engage your customers or upsell. For instance, if you ask your customers to subscribe to your newsletter, you could set up an automated thank you note with a welcome coupon. If it’s a simple contact form you could set up a thank you note with an update on your latest offers. Or, a link to your online order page.
By adding your restaurant to local and relevant listings, you build your website’s credibility and trust with the search engines. Some of the most relevant listings that your restaurant should be on is Yelp and Tripadvisor.
- Apple Maps
- Google My Business
- LinkedIn Company Directory
- Super Pages
- Yellow Book
a. Domain Name
Ensure that your domain name is short and as close as possible to your restaurant name.
b. Add Meta Tags to each of your website pages:
The Meta description summarizes a page’s content and appears in search results below the title of the page. Create a unique meta description for each page on your website. Try to keep your Meta description tags between 150 and 160 characters and incorporate your focus keywords in the text.
c. Use Keywords Carefully
Research keywords for your restaurant and include them in your page’s body, header, title tags, and Meta description.
d. Use Alt Tags and Title Tags Your Images:
Add Titles to your images using keywords. You should also add Alt Tags to images. Ait Tags are basically a short accurate description of the image that helps the search engines understand the content of images.
e. Create a Sitemap for Your Site:
A sitemap helps search engines understand the organization of content on your site. You can easily create a sitemap using a plugin. Once you are done submit your sitemap online on Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster Tools.
f. Optimize Your Images:
Large, high-definition images can slow down your website damaging the user experience on your website. There are several plugins that you can use to optimize your images.
g. Include Links to and From Your Site
Participate in local events and contribute to your community by the way of fundraisers. This not only helps you build local awareness for your restaurant, but it also allows the opportunity for you to be featured on high authoritative local websites like .edu or .gov links that can greatly boost your local rankings.
Schema Markup assists Google in understanding the content on your website. For example, if you have schema implemented on your menu page, your menu page may show up on Google search results. You can use tools like Google Structured Data Markup tool or schema.org to implement schema on your website.
A website requires regular maintenance, fine-tuning, continuous monitoring, and testing. However, having a well-optimized site can generate huge dividends in the long-run.