It's true – your restaurant website has the power to make or break the business. Today, your restaurant website is more than a digital menu. In order to create the best website to delight your customers, you will need to start thinking in the same way they do.
When you put yourself in the shoes of your customers, you will start to seek opportunities where your website can be better acquainted with your visitors. There are many powerful tools out there that can help you create a gorgeous website. But you also want to be the best among your competitors. And that requires more than looking beautiful.
From being the number one restaurant that people are looking for to encouraging your visitors to order online, your restaurant website can become a powerful tool for marketing when used correctly. Let's dig into the 10 things top restaurant websites do to get your customers coming back!
1. Let them know how to reach you
The first 'best practice' that any restaurateur should adopt is to provide information on restaurant locations and contact details. Your visitors need to be able to find you and call you for a reservation. Besides your address and contact number, be sure to include your store’s opening hours. This should be on your home page and every interior page. Many website visitors actually land on your site, in search of your restaurant address. Hence, it is essential for you to ensure the accuracy of information provided on your official website.
2. Give your visitors regular updates
One of the downsides for many existing websites out there is the lack of updates. Have you ever visited a site that has not been updated for years? You've spent a lot of effort on building a great site, now it's time to take it to the next level. Unfortunately, the lack of regular updates is what separates many restaurant websites from the hallmark of top restaurant websites. Build a schedule on how regularly you are going to update your website, and stick to it! To retain customers and keep them coming back, you will need to build a relationship with your customers, which can only happen when you start providing content consistently on your platform. If you've got nothing to provide your customers on your website, you will probably have to revisit why your website exists or relook the strategies to engage with your customers.
If you're waiting for the inspiration to kick in, don't wait any longer. Allison Tetreault, Food Industry Expert, provides 7 creative content ideas for your restaurant website. Do check it out!
3. Make sure your menu is intuitive
We know that 88 percent of people who look up a restaurant online will take action on the same day. The question is, what will your restaurant do with that information? When your restaurant is successful at bringing online traffic, you need to think about how the web experience can add more value to your restaurant business. Your products are the focal point of your website, so be sure that they appear tasty enough to entice your customers! Be sure to include the prices as well, so your customers will know what to expect from your restaurant.
If you would like to take it a step further and provide more convenience to your customers, consider online ordering straight out of your menu.
4. Your website branding is who you are
It doesn't take rocket science to explain why your branding should be consistent across all restaurant outlets, and your website is no exception. Your website is who you are! Upon your customers' visits to your website, they will need to be able to recognise you almost instantly! Brands are like people, each one with a unique personality. If your brand was a person, how would he/she sound like? Think about the types of images or slogans this person will most probably use to communicate with peers. Pay attention to the details. Low resolution images are a sounding no-no!
If you're looking for more tips on getting your branding right, check out our article on how to keep things authentic and unexpected! You'll definitely love these 5 restaurant branding tips that don't suck.
5. Call-To-Action (CTA) buttons they can't help but click
Top restaurant websites are clear and effective in guiding their users to fulfil desired goals on their website. In the name of being unique, many restaurants often commit the mistake of using ambiguous CTAs in their shopping cart. For instance, using "Submit” would probably be more apt if customers were submitting a consent form while “Buy Now” seems to mislead one into thinking that he or she has to immediately make a payment when selecting an individual item. Words such as "Click here” doesn't say much about what follows either. They simply do not have the same effect on customers, unlike a simple “Add to Cart" button.
6. Widgets help to grow your followers on social channels
Top restaurant websites know how to improve the web experience for their users. By adding social media widgets, you can grow your social media fan base within your website too! Social channels create great opportunities for you to get personal with your customers. If you're only starting to explore them, it's never too late! Find where your customers are at and make that social platform your base. You can do this by sending out a short survey or simply asking your dine-in customers.
If you need help in creating social media widgets for all the top social media networks, this ultimate cheat sheet gets you covered. Have fun!
7. Mobile is the way to go
Mobile users are shoppers, and ComScore has got the data to prove it! With 75% of mobile users finding information on restaurants as they come out, mobile optimisation is a must for restaurants. Unfortunately, FSR Magazine reports that even though half of all visits to restaurant websites are from mobile devices, only 5% of restaurants have mobile-optimised websites. It takes merely 8 seconds for your customers to form an impression on your website. It's a small window of opportunity, so you need to be ready to impress!
If you're exploring online ordering options for your restaurant website, be sure to opt for a platform that can be accessed on all mobile devices.
8. Be visible on local searches through SEO
Did you know, 72% of all searches are related to a search for local content? SEO practices aren't just for big restaurant brands. Unlike enlisting the help of paid ads, SEO refers to taking actions to push your website to become a "natural", "earned" and "organic" top result on Google search or other search engines. To the beginner, it may seem complicated. But don't worry, there are many beginner-friendly tools out there to get you up and running!
Remember when we said about how you need to start thinking like your customers? When you're looking at implementing an SEO marketing strategy, putting yourself in the shoes of your customers is ever more so important. As with all top restaurant websites with awesome SEO would advocate: Always put readability before SEO. Keeping your consumer in mind will put you in the good books of Google, than any other dirty SEO tricks. All the best!
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