Part One - Restaurant websites: Where in the World Wide Web to start?
"A restaurant without a website is like fish without chips."
Alone they work, but together they make a perfect pair! We believe a website not only compliments your restaurant in a variety of ways, from raising your profile to showcasing your wares, but can ultimately help you win more customers.
This week’s post will look at why restaurant websites are so important and how to gain the most from yours.
Customers want a website to answer their questions:
"What does this restaurant offer? How much will the meal cost? Where is it?"
Potential guests can get some of these answers from other online sources such as Tripadvisor, Yelp or even Facebook, but you can’t fully control the information on these platforms. Contrastingly, you have absolute control of your website and should aim to create a hub of information about your brand and offering, direct from the source.
It’s something that warrants time and effort, as research shows that restaurant websites influence booking decisions; 57% of diners refer to a restaurant’s website before making a booking. Discover some of the benefits of having your own website:
- Control your content – you can fully manage what you post on websites, whereas with social media platforms, comments and reviews are harder to control.
- Increase your chances of being found on search engines such as Google.
- Showcase menus on a better platform than social media.
- Show off your brand – on third party sites you are limited to how much you can customise your page due to standard formatting. With your website you can inject some personality into your site.
What kind of websites are out there?
It depends on what you want
Depending on your budget and what you want from your website, there are a variety of options available to you. If you are looking for an attractive design at an affordable price, a pre-designed website would be a good option for you.
With a pre-designed site, you choose a website template that can be tailored to reflect your logo, colour scheme, images and content. Typically a website design will include different layouts for the different sections of your site – your homepage design would be different from the menu page; and the blog page will be different from the page which delivers your contact details. You may have heard of the popular ones, such as Wix and Squarespace, which are widely advertised, easy to use and low cost :
- Wix restaurant templates: https://tinyurl.com/l7aym7b
- Squarespace Food & Drink templates: https://tinyurl.com/m944ohv
- You can also buy affordable design templates on a framework called WordPress which offers more advanced customisation options whilst being very search engine friendly. Template designs for WordPress can be bought from a number of sites, the most popular being Themeforest: https://tinyurl.com/krh6vaw
Another way Wix, Squarespace and WordPress help control costs is that all sites through these platforms are built on content management systems. This means users can easily update content without the requirement for a web developer. You simply need a login to the system to change things like menus, offers, images etc.
If you are in the position where you can spend more on your website, you may choose to outsource your site design and build to an agency that can customise every detail for you and your restaurant.
Once you have decided which website works best for you, the next part is the content. Keep reading for our checklist of things we think every site must have to help interest customers and maximise business.