Creating an effective restaurant website means designing an optimal experience for users- your customers. Much like your physical location experience, you have to consider things like ambiance, simplicity, wait times (loading speed), and more. Digital media isn’t going away anytime soon, and 2020 has been an eye opener for many businesses on the importance of digital / delivery offerings. You can read more about these types of emerging trends in this article. Today, I want to discuss 5 specific tips that can help any restaurant build an effective, valuable website that converts hungry traffic and is optimized for discoverability in the search engines.
1. Include delivery integrations on your restaurant website
Delivery has seen a massive increase in popularity over the past few years, with many new, hungry entrepreneurs purchasing businesses like pizza franchises specifically to take advantage of this increased demand. When building your website, you need to consider the fact that many people are navigating there simply to explore your menu, and if you deliver. Now, of course many restaurants lean on third parties like Uber Eats or Postmate, but if you’ve already got a system in place for delivery in-house, you should make sure your website notes of that.
There are a variety of solutions for delivery integration- the easiest (and readily available) is simply adding a phone number for placing an order. Not the most efficient of course, but it can certainly be cost effective. Alternatively, if you DO leverage delivery services, you should consider adding a button on your site that redirects visitors to your listing directly within those apps. Remember, simplicity is key.
2. Optimize your restaurant website for mobile
Now, we look into the technical configurations of your site. In general, people tend to explore food options from their mobile devices- when they’re laying on the couch or out with friends / family. Web certainly still exists, but it’s becoming increasingly less popular over the years. I suggest exploring your current websites’ (if you have one) analytics, to see if the majority of your viewers are on web or mobile. Mobile integration is key, as a website that doesn’t have the best mobile web design layout will negatively impact viewership and could even nerf your ranking in Google search results (they’re picky about stuff like that).
Depending on how your website is built (which tools used), I suggest first exploring the layout in mobile, to evaluate if the experience is as good as it could be. Look for things like images that stray off screen, menus that can’t be clicked, and words that are overlapping each other. You may also want to make sure the site isn’t overly complicated on mobile, which leads me to my next point.
3. Keep your restaurant website simple
As a restaurant, your website can certainly be unique and exciting, but it shouldn’t be too complicated. Your bottom line is a meal sale, so your website should be sure to provide that service up front and center. This could look like a button on the top of your home page that directs viewers to your “shop now” link, or perhaps to the food delivery app of their choice. Some restaurants like to make their homepage their current menu, which is also a good strategy to show your visitors upfront, what they can expect. The only exception to this rule (for me) is something like a newsletter popup, which momentarily takes the visitor away from your site, but hopefully gains you a direct marketing contact. If you’re setting up a newsletter, just be sure it’s clearly providing value and not just spam.
4. Utilize keywords and google my business for SEO
Search engine optimization has always been a tricky, changing beast. For a restaurant business, it’s important to ask the question of “what is my goal with this site”. If your restaurant only sells to a local area, then it would be advantageous to include keywords relevant to that area. This way, Google knows that you are an X food provider in the Y area. A common mistake I see in my years of marketing is local providers targeting global keywords. Remember, your goal is to get visitors to your site from your immediate area who can actually order your products, not from across the world (unless you serve globally).
The second part of this tip is to utilize Google My Business, which allows you to verify your restaurant in search results and; effectively, boost your SEO even more. When you verify an account with GMB, you must provide your restaurant’s address, which Google then serves to web searches who are in your area, specifically through the knowledge panels. SEO is still very important, so all I ask is that you consider what your conversion goals (local sales or global discovery) are, and come up with a strategy to reach them.
Overall, having a website for your restaurant is a necessity, if not for the delivery expectations then for the benefit of increased local discoverability (through SEO). Take the time to craft an eloquent experience for your website visitors, and they’ll be sure to return the business.