Category: Website Design

If you want your website to earn money for you, read on.

When I opened my very first business I just knew that the day that we launched our perfect (or so I thought) website, that we were going to be overwhelmed with business.

We launched.  I waited.  Crickets.

It didn’t make any sense to me.  We had spent hours coming up with the perfect words. The perfect colors. The 10 Restaurant Website Hacks [Infographic]perfect pictures…and I think we probably had a whopping 100 visitors 3 months in.  Disappointing results to say the least.

But the nice thing about failures is the lesson that you have the chance to learn if you’re open to seeing it.

And although my first colossal website failure was not a restaurant website, the lessons can be applied perfectly to restaurant websites.

I read a surprising statistic in a study SinglePlatform and Chadwick Martin Bailey conducted (I would recommend giving this a read).

The study found that out of 1,497 surveyed consumers, 92% searched a restaurant website through a web browser in the last 6 months.

92%!  1,377 out of 1,497 people searched a restaurant website through a web browser!  Those numbers are ‘nothing to sneeze at’.

Bottom line: you need to have a website – a good one for your restaurant.  It’s that simple.

10 Website Hacks To Get More Customers Walking Through The Doors Of Your Restaurant:

  1. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes.  Then go through every piece of your website and observe the experience.  If it’s not easy and intuitive to follow, change it.  View every action to be taken as an experience, and make sure it’s a good one.
  2. Keep the design clean and simple.  See hack #1…remember what your customer is coming to your website for. So, for example, if your restaurant doesn’t have any outside seating, then there is no need to place a weather widget on your home page.
  3. Make sure it’s responsive.  Responsive means that your website is built to detect what type of device your customer is accessing your website from and automatically “responds” to make the viewing experience great.  In other words, minimizing the acrobatics (scrolling, changing orientation, etc.) while viewing your site.  If you don’t have access to a web developer or designer,  you don’t have to worry. There are tools to add responsive functionality to existing websites like the WPtouch Mobile plugin for WordPress sites. Just remember to add tools that are specific designed for the platform your website is built in.
  4. Create a digital menu in an easily readable format (no matter the type of device it’s being viewed on). Remember, it’s pretty hard to view a menu as a picture from a smartphone or even a browser.  At a minimum, a pdf is an option, but actual dedicated, responsive pages on your website is a considerably better way to go.
  5. Make the access point to your menu prominent.  Access to your menu needs to be so obvious that even the most technologically challenged person can’t miss it.  That study that I mentioned earlier found that 80% of consumers think it’s important to see a menu before they eat there.  It’s pretty hard to argue with those types of numbers.
  6. Place your address and phone number in a very visible and intuitive location.  The main reasons that your potential customers are visiting your restaurant website can usually be attributed to 1 or a combination of these 3 things: 1) your menu, 2) your address or, 3) your phone number.  And don’t forget your hours of operation.
  7. Add links to your social media profiles.  No matter what you do, people are going to take to social media to discuss their experience at your restaurant.  The easier you make it for your customers and potential customers to access these other communication tools, the better your chances are to stay on top of addressing feedback – good or bad.
  8. Use photos wisely.  See point #2.  The best photos to have on your website are professional ones.  But for many operators, it’s not feasible from a cost perspective.  The good news is that with the right app and a smartphone, you can still put together some pretty decent photos.  We’ll be showing you how next month with our Photography for Restaurants course.  Be on the lookout for details.
  9. Anticipate customer questions.  But more importantly, make it easy to help them find the answers.  You already know the questions you get asked repeatedly.  Make this a part of your website and therefore the experience.
  10. Add an “order online” function.  Again, there are tools available to add this functionality to sites – platform specific.  Try a Google search like “online+ordering+plugins” and see what results are returned for the platform your website is built on.

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How do you know when it is time to redesign your website instead of just updating your content?

Exakt Marketing is here for all your web and WordPress needs. If it has been a few years since updating your website, you may want to consider a website redesign as well as updating your content.

Not sure if you need to redesign or update, ask yourself these important questions:
1. Is your website is accessible and/or optimized for portable devices such as smartphones and tablets? (Learn more about WordPress responsive website design)
2. Does your site use Flash? (Flash is not supported on most portable devices and can leave “holes” in the content of your site)
3. Is your content out of date? Are there new products/services you offer or products/services you no longer offer?
4. Is your contact information highly visible and on every page of your site?
5. Do you have an easy to use contact form?
6. Does your website provide a clear message about what your company does?
7. Is your website easy to navigate and read (without being boring)?
8. Do you integrate your social media platforms into your website?
9. Do you have any website security in place?

Exakt Marketing can give you a full evaluation of your site and recommend a course of action in the following fields: Website Design and Development, Copyrighting, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), plugins (are you using the best plugins, is there a plugin you should be using, are there plugins that are not being used that can be removed to reduce vulnerabilities to your site and/or improve site performance?), comments (approve, spam or trash) and more.

Contact Exakt Marketing today to initiate a website evaluation or get your questions answered!

After months of hard work, Exakt Marketing is pleased to announce the launch of their new website www.exaktmarketing.com! Since our merger in November 2012, we’ve been busy developing the overall message and experience we wanted to present to our users and we think we’ve got it “exaktly” right (well at least for the time being!)

The new site answers all of your burning questions including:

  • • What’s up with our name and why do we spell it funny?
  • • Which one of our “exes” has a dog with the nickname “Loco”?
  • • What is the real reason we like to work with the restaurant and hospitality industry?
  • • Are we giving anything away for free?

So what are you waiting for? Head over to www.exaktmarketing.com and check us out. After you’ve had a chance to explore through the site, be sure to shoot us a message to tell us what you think. Feedback will only help our site be extraordinary!

example of responsive website design on range of devicesAs we predicted in our past blog post, Website Design Predictions for 2013 Trends, responsive website design is quickly becoming an important trend in website design and development. Responsive design refers to the way a website visually appears and functions across a range of devices. Desktop and laptop computers are no longer the only screens on which we can connect to the internet. Mobile phones and tablets are becoming more popular in people’s homes and businesses. Does your business have a responsive website?

At Exakt Marketing, we are now including in our focus of website design and development, responsive functionality. WordPress is a content management system that we use frequently to build websites for our clients because it gives them access to edit their website freely. Responsive design is trending in the WordPress community as well. Themeforest.net is a great resource for beautiful and full functioning WordPress themes. While recently scanning the multitude of themes available, I began to notice that nearly all the new themes are built to be responsive.

However, themes are not the only aspect of a website that need to be responsive. WordPress plugins need to be mobile friendly as well. Unfortunately, most plugin authors do not seem to note (yet) whether or not their plugin designs are responsive or mobile friendly. This means, you must be careful about what plugins you have activated on your site and you must test your site across multiple devices to ensure that everything is appearing and working correctly.

I personally experienced a mobile plugin mishap while working on Out2EatLocal.com, a product of Exakt Marketing that provides restaurants with quick and affordable websites using WordPress. Within the site, I had some content set up in tabs and accordions using the WP UI – Tabs, Accordions, Sliders Plugin. I liked this plugin because it has a variety of colors and styles to apply to your tabs and accordions. However, when testing my site on the mobile device, the tabs and accordions were NOT visible! Luckily, I found TheThe Tabs and Accordions by TheTheFly. Not only did these tabs and accordions function correctly, they appeared and functioned on the mobile device too!

So, my word of advice, constantly check your site on mobile and other devices throughout the development of the site. Don’t panic when you run into a snag. Contact Exakt Marketing if you are interested in finding out more about responsive website design and WordPress.

According to the Retail Email blog, this year the week before Christmas was the busiest week ever for promotional emails. Online retailers sent out an all-time high of around 6 promotional emails over the week of December 17th, which is up 4% versus the previous week and up 16% over the whole year.

What this means is given the volume of emails sent out not only during the holiday season, but throughout the whole year, getting your subscribers to open your e-newsletter can be a tough task. And since most companies are always looking for cost-effective ways to promote their products and services, e-mail marketing continues to be one of the most popular online marketing methods available.

So while you can’t guarantee your audience will open and read your e-newsletter, there are some tips and tricks to designing an effective e-newsletter campaign.

1)   Ask your subscribers to add you to their white list: What this means is they will add your email address to their address book. This will ensure that your newsletters are not delivered to a junk mail folder.

2)   Be consistent: If you can send your emails on the same day and time each week, your subscribers will learn when to expect and anticipate your emails. Most email programs (i.e. MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Vertical Response) allow you to set up a delivery date/time so you can write your e-mail blast in advance, but send it at the same day/same time each week.

3)   Pick the right subject line: Your subject line should preview the contents of the email by summarizing the main point of your email’s message, while not being too sales driven or spam-ish. Avoid writing your subject lines in all caps. Tell your customers in 50 characters or less why they would want to read your message and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box in order to pique your subscribers curiosity (but make sure you’re not so “out there” that you turn them off!) Try out different subjects lines in each newsletter and review your email statistics (through your e-newsletter program) to know what resonates best with your audience.

4)   Keep your newsletter short and sweet: If your ultimate goal is to direct subscribers to your website, short snippets of text with “read more” links back to your site is a good idea. Longer email newsletters are usually filed away and read later (or not read at all).

5)   Convey valuable knowledge and a hint of personalization: Showing your users you’re human, is a great way to connect with your audience. If you can relate anything that you’re doing personally, to the message that you’re sending your audience, include a snippet in the newsletter. Users like to connect with a personal side of your company, not just a sales pitch.

6)   Construct the right footer elements: Your footer should not only abide by CAN SPAM laws, but it should also have a way for your users to opt out of your e-newsletter list if they wish to. This will help ensure your newsletter is reputable.

Have any additional tips and tricks that you’d like to share? What has your company done that has increased your subscription base? We’d love to hear from you!

Knowing what’s hot in website design can make or break your company’s website. It is important to know what trends are in style and how to successfully incorporate those trends into your design. Current trends that are successfully integrated into website design can boost the overall effectiveness and appeal of the site. Here at Exakt Marketing, we have some predictions for the upcoming year’s web design trends:

1. Responsive Design

With smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices making their way into everyone’s hands, business owners need to be aware of how their web presence is presented in mobile form. Responsive design will allow web developers to code and style websites to adjust to various screen sizes and resolutions. Using responsive techniques to control the display of websites on various sized devices will ultimately save business owners money – because web developers will not have to develop individual websites for each device’s needs.

2. Typography

A great amount of tools have surfaced that allow web designers and developers to implement a nearly unlimited amount of fonts in website design. This gives web designers more freedom than ever to design beautiful websites focused around typography, and using type to send a message. There are already a number of sites that successfully use typography to create and support a message, we predict this number will only continue to rise throughout 2013.

3. Colors

While a website’s colors will always vary and depend on the company’s branding, it is an integral part of website design. Pantone has announced their fashion color report for spring of 2013. Below is a screen shot from Pantone.com. If you notice, the first color on the far left is Emerald, the Pantone color of the year 2013. Here at Exakt Marketing, we plan on keeping an eye out for Emerald and the other spring 2013 pantone colors in upcoming web designs throughout the beginning of the year.

Pantone's Spring 2013 Colors

Digital image. Pantone.com. Web. 21 Dec. 2012. <http://www.pantone.com/pages/fcr.aspx?pg=21005&ca=4>.

4. Textures

Already a common practice, we predict that in 2013 textures will play a large role in website design. Whether its mimicking a coffee stain on a napkin or the fibers of a corkboard, digital textures are becoming more real. There is a subconscious comfort in seeing texture on a digital surface. Many digital devices are embracing this trend including mobile devices and tablet interfaces. It’s usually the little details that really bring a website to life.

Conclusion: We are looking forward to seeing and setting new trends in 2013! Do you have any comments or ideas for website design trends in 2013?

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