Much like the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls might tempt a passerby to walk through your restaurant doors, a well designed and optimized website can entice a potential customer to do the same.
Your restaurant’s website is your online hub, your information center. It’s your space to represent your brand and share your story. Make it magnetic. Lure visitors in with delectable photos and easy-to-browse menus, call them to action by providing links to make reservations or order food online, and make it enticing to stay in touch with links to your social media accounts and email newsletter sign-up.
These are the six basic ingredients your website restaurant needs to start attracting dream diners to your dinner table:
Imagery is key, especially when it comes to food. Be sure your home page includes a slideshow that showcases your dishes, restaurant atmosphere and friendly staff in their best light. Hire a food photographer if you can, or simply snap pics with the latest smart phone.
2. A Clean Layout
Keep your text to a minimum and make it easy for your restaurant goers to read. Once a visitor reaches your website, they will only give the page a brief scan before deciding to click on the oh-so-important menu. Make sure the headline is in a larger font size than the rest of your content, and break up any blocks of text with delicious-looking photos.
3. A Responsive Design
Make sure your website is responsive (optimized for mobile viewing), including your menus! Google recently made an update to their algorithms factoring mobile-friendliness into how it ranks websites. It’s now more important than ever to make sure your customers can consume your content on all of their devices.
4. Easily Accessible Menus
Your restaurant’s menus need to be one click away from any page of your website. If you’ve hooked potential patrons with stunning photos and a clutter-free design, they will take the next step to click on the menu link and find out more about the food. All of the menus you offer should be displayed and up to date, from happy hour grub to prix fixe dinners, wine lists and weekend brunch.
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5. Calls to Action
Once you’ve sealed the deal with your mouth-watering menus, give your website browsers the opportunity to take a bite. Do you offer takeout or delivery? Include a link to order online. How about reservations? Make it easy to reserve a table right from your website, whether viewed on a tablet, smart phone or laptop.
Invite your website visitors to join your conversation. Include links to your Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts in the header and/or footer of your website. Create an incentive for users to sign up for your weekly or monthly email newsletter. Complimentary appetizer anyone? How about a $15 tasting menu? Make it fun for your customers to stay in touch and be a part of your story.
By following this recipe for your restaurant website, the search engines will take notice and so will your potential customers. Once they click, they’ll find themselves admiring your flavorful photos, scouring every detail of your menus and ordering online so they can savor your food first-hand.