Let’s get straight to the point. If you are in the food and restaurant industry, you know how competitive it can be. Standing out from the crowd requires some critical ingredients to create a recipe for success. We know you are busy and time is short.
However, your online strategy nowadays cannot be ignored, if you are going to succeed.
First and foremost, of course, you must have great food because that is the core of what you do. Additionally, your recipe for success must include an effective website. Your website should tell your story and generate new and repeat business. Customers need to be able to find you on the web so you can interact with them about your restaurant(s).
You’ve no doubt learned about search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and brand awareness. But so what? The only real business question is how do you attract visitors to your website, keep them there long enough to engage with them and, ultimately, get them to do business with you?
Here are six critical components that will help your website address that question.
Customize Your Website Around Your Story.
Do visitors who come to your website stay there or move on quickly? Do you even know? In other words, does your website catch and hold the attention of your visitors? If not, you are spinning your virtual wheels. Most websites have bounce rates as high as 85% or, in other words, visitors come to the website and abandon it immediately. Why? Because the website has not been custom-designed to attract and retain the specific audience for which it was intended. Many websites are template-based or developed with a one-size-fits-all approach. Are they cheap? Yes. Are they effective? No.
In order to improve visitor retention, keep visitors on your website longer, and keep them coming back to see what’s new– like a special your restaurant may be running, your website needs to both tell and show your business’s unique story. You are different, so make sure your website emphasizes your uniqueness like your history, food, beverage, location, catering, clientele, freshness, convenience and/ or atmosphere. A good website gets visitors to become customers by allowing them to order, or to find and stop by your brick and mortar establishment. The key with your website, just like a well-tailored suit, a custom-built house, or meal prepared with or without the sauce, is customization.
Put Your Bottom Line Up Front.
You would be surprised at the number of websites that simply don’t tell visitors what the purpose of the website is or why they need the information, product, or service offered. Your website should help visitors find what they need clearly and quickly.
What’s on your menu? What are your specials? What is your location(s)? What are your hours of operation? How is your website relevant to the visitor? What does it offer that the visitor needs?
If visitors cannot comprehend what your food service business does or offers, and how you and your products or service offerings will benefit them, they will be gone in the blink of an eye. Visitors come to your website for a specific reason. Many times that “reason” is the search term they used in a search engine. A great place to look up popular search terms is on Google Trends. You can use a popular search term that matches your “food” purpose then customize it as your website’s tagline or slogan. Is your business about Catering, Fine Dining, Fast Food, Italian Cuisine, Chinese Buffet, Locally-Owned, Family-Style, Bistro, Cafeteria-Style, Pub, Barbeque, etc.? The Bottom- Line-Up-Front is your customized message is what differentiates your business from the competition. If you do it effectively, it becomes your brand. A great example of this is Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan. This Bottom-Line-Up-Front approach has made Nike synonymous with athletic shoes. Another fitting example is McDonald’s “Have it your way”.
Keep Your Website’s Promises.
Nothing is more disappointing to a visitor than arriving at a website just to be let down by the experience. It is like going to a restaurant with a big, fancy neon sign and stylish architecture only to discover that the menu is lacking and the food is terrible. This means that your website’s job is to manage expectations (i.e. under promise and over perform) and not to make promises that you cannot or will not keep. If it fails to manage expectations, your website reviews and SEO will suffer.
Instead, grab your visitor’s attention and don’t let go.
In almost all cases, it is better to show and not just tell. To say a picture is worth a thousand words sounds like a cliché, but it is oh so true. Custom photos of your food, interior decor, outside patio, employees, etc., as well as messages and videos, are superb for establishing rapport with your visitors. So make sure your website is clean, professional, and reputable. You can include positive reviews and testimonials where appropriate.
Invest in a good website when your budget allows. If you skimp on your website design, photography, and videos, you will pay the price.kivuti
In fact, many of your visitors would rather watch an engaging video rather than scroll through text. Market studies have shown that good videos attract and grow users so be sure to give them that option.
They are an extremely effective way of getting your customized information delivered to your target audience while creating a satisfying experience for your visitors. Check out this site’s homepage video for restaurant owners attempting to streamline their ordering process, saving time, and money. So remember, promises made, promises kept, and show it to them.
Ensure Your Site is Fast and Mobile- and Browser-Friendly.
No one wants to browse a slow website!
People are short on time and long on their “to-do” lists. No one has the patience to wait for slow page loading. This is even more so when your website’s visitors are using a mobile device, especially if they are driving or walking around and looking for a place to eat. So your website needs to have cross-browser compatibility for desktop browsers like firefox or Chrome as well as mobile devices like Safari. It needs to be mobile-friendly too(responsive) and adjust to the infinite number of screen sizes and shapes of today(adaptive).
Did you know that for every one-second delay in page loading results there is an up to ten percent conversion reduction?kaytouch
It doesn’t matter how good your content is if your website is slow. One of the things you can do to speed your website up is image compression. Images have an enormous impact on page loading time, and there are several applications that reduce page loading time.
You can also use a content delivery network (CDN) which consists of multiple data centers and servers distributed throughout the world to reduce load times for your website.
The CDN provider caches your website files and delivers your website’s content to your visitors, providing them with the fastest experience based on geographical or logical proximity (or both). A content delivery network you may want to check out is Cloudflare.
If you do not know why your website is slow, seek out professional help. Again, custom development of your website by someone who understands how to implement these site acceleration techniques is critical.
Make Your Content as Specific as Possible.
So we are going to emphasize customization (again). Good content has a couple of dimensions including what you say and how you present it. Again, a cookie-cutter, templated-model does not fit all sizes. The first thing is knowing your target audience and what they like in terms of themes and symbols. One audience’s art is another’s graffiti and vice versa. You have to get this right.
Depending on your website’s purpose, everything–from your text layout, font choice, color scheme, and even grammar and syntax–matters. Typos, unless they are intentional, and poor grammar tell your visitors that you are sloppy and don’t care about details. If you don’t care about the details, how can you care about your food products and services and your customers? If you want to convey a professional, trustworthy, and reputable message, ensure your grammar is on point.
Another point about content is to be specific. In other words, if your website tries to communicate with everyone, you will likely attract and engage no one. Remember, get to the point. Also, ensure you keep your content fresh and current. Tell your audience about changes to your menu, locations, hours of operation, online ordering and delivery options, and specials.
Don’t forget to make your site user-friendly. Again, your site should be easy to navigate, and your visitors should be able to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. A good way to test this is to have friends or colleagues (or even strangers) browse your website for two minutes. After two minutes, stop them and ask if they can tell you what the website is about and what its purpose is. If they can answer, great. If not, then you may want to revisit your content and messaging.
Use a Call to Action. CTA
Ok, what do you want your visitors to do? Don’t assume they will miraculously know exactly what you want them to do. In this instance, simplicity beats clever all day, every day. You need to tell your visitors what they should do on your website in different ways, repeatedly.
A good call to action is short, simple, starts with a verb, and gets to the point. For example: “visit us for lunch today” or “place your online order now” are both effective and clear calls to action.
If you have blogs on your website, put a call to action at the end of each blog. Ensure your contact forms, email addresses, Skype information, and chat icons are on each page. They can be discreet but should be present.
You want to give your visitors every opportunity to do what you want them to do. A good call to action might also include motion like a slide-in opt-in at one of the bottom corners so as the visitor scrolls down your page the call to action is always there but not intrusive. If you use a chat application drop-down, you should be able to set the amount of time a visitor is on your website before the chat icon drops down. Exit-intent popups also work to help retain and re-engage with visitors who are about to leave your website. You can find some great examples of exit intent popups at Wisepops.
We have talked about a few ways to attract and keep your visitors engaged with and on your website to ultimately get them to become customers at your food & restaurant business.
Remember one size doesn’t fit all. We are a full service, inexpensive and hassle-free web design & services company. We want to be your technology partner so you can focus on running your food services business. Our sole purpose is to provide you with the technology and business tools tailored specifically to your business so that you can gain and retain clients through your web presence.KayTouch Solutions
It is a proven fact that visitors stay longer on a custom-built website as opposed to the cheap, ‘templated’ ones. All of our websites are custom-built. You are immediately connected with a dedicated concept developer who stays with you throughout the entire development and deployment process. Below are just a few of the features and benefits that are included with our basic package:
- Custom Web Design & Development
- Concept Development approach
- Domain Registration+hosting
- Logo Design
- Structured Data
- SSL Certificate
- On-Page SEO
- Mobile Responsiveness
- Cross-Browser Compatibility
- Google Page Speed Testing
- Google Analytics Tools
- 24-7 tech Support
- Monthly Website Maintenance
- Custom web application development
- Website Analytics
- Fullstack Web & Application Development
We also specialize in developing databases, building e-commerce platforms and custom web applications and have deployed successful technologies to a number of clients.See our portfolio on Behance. Our design process is meticulous and sure, that’s how confident we are that we can win and keep our clients’ business as we develop solutions that solve problems.
Get in touch for more details and a courtesy consultation and ask how we can attract and keep visitors on your website. To view specific examples of our websites for restaurants and the food industry click here. Hope this helps and, until next time, Good Luck!