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 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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