If you're operating a restaurant, take a long look at your website. If it's just sitting in cyberspace without providing any results, consider redesigning it and optimizing it for customer conversions. It's time to put that website to work!
If you’ve created a website for your restaurant, you already know it is an important part of your business. Your website allows you to post information about your restaurant so it can be found easily by customers. Your address, phone number, hours of operation, menu, and reservation information should all be on your website.
This makes it easy for customers to see your offerings and get a seat at one of your tables. Basic website tactics like these can help your marketing effort. However, there are many other website redesign strategies for restaurants that can attract even more customers.
1. Use a Design that Matches Your Brand
The design of your restaurant website can impact everything from how high you appear in search engine rankings to how effective your website is at attracting customers. The most basic website layouts are better than having no website at all, but there can sometimes be a disconnect between your restaurant’s brand and your restaurant’s website if they don’t match up stylistically.
Web designers know that in order for a business website to be effective, visitors have to be impressed within the first few seconds of visiting the website. In other words, they need to trust the site immediately if they are to continue browsing.
To get more visitors to trust your restaurant website, you should use design, layout, and color schemes that speak to your brand. You can even use the design elements that you incorporate into your physical restaurant, such as your color choices. If you don’t already have brand guidelines, now is a great time to establish them.
Here are some other strategies that can lend to your website’s trustworthiness:
- Implementing a simplistic layout that utilizes whitespace
- Using beautiful fonts and a reasonably large print sizes
- Adding colors and designs that speak to your brand
- Optimizing the loading speeds of your images and other elements
- Featuring images of your popular dishes
Studies have shown that most consumers only trust well-designed websites and will readily abandon them if they aren’t immediately satisfied. To make sure your website’s design sings, you can partner with a professional web designer.
2. Include Social Sharing Buttons
When people share images, posts, and information about your restaurant over social media, you are essentially getting free marketing. Once you design your website, you can include social sharing buttons on each of your pages to give visitors a chance to spread the word about your restaurant. Social sharing buttons are also useful on blog posts, event pages, and food images.
Widgets for social sharing are easily downloadable online. Depending on what service you use to host your website, you may already have access to social sharing buttons. You want to make it easy for visitors to share your content. Sharing buttons let them do it with a simple click.
3. Capture Customer Emails with Contact Forms
Including contact forms on a website is a typical marketing strategy for B2B companies, but it can also be a great tactic for your restaurant. When your website visitors fill out a form and give you their email address, you’ll be able to send newsletters, promotional offers, and event invitations. The trick is figuring out how to get them to fill out the form.
Contact forms work best as a sort of exchange. Visitors fill out your form, and you give them something in return. What you give them can’t be something that should already be present on your website or readily available elsewhere. It should be something exclusive, and you should let your visitors know exactly what they’re getting before they fill out the form.
As a restaurant, your offer could be a coupon or some other type of unique offer. You could also ask for customer birthdays, add them to a special birthday email list, and send them offers when the day comes. You can also ask them to sign up for your newsletter.
4. Optimize for Mobile
Consumers are using their mobile devices to search more for restaurants than any other industry. According to an article in Bar Business Magazine, a study indicated that 81% of consumers had searched for a restaurant on a mobile device in the previous six months.
The study also indicated that 70% of consumers think it is important that a restaurant’s menu can be read on a mobile device. There is also a growing trend of consumers using their mobile devices almost exclusively for all their internet browsing needs.
As mobile trends continue, restaurants will need to ensure that their websites can be accessed and viewed on a mobile device. Thankfully, most website creation tools now make mobile optimization relatively easy, but there are three main ways to optimize a website for mobile:
- Use plugins and widgets that facilitate mobile-viewing
- Create a separate, mobile-friendly version of your website
- Use a design that is responsive to mobile
Of these three methods, using a mobile-friendly design is perhaps the most effective. It allows you to scale all the elements on your website for both mobile and desktop viewing. It may involve making major changes to your website and redesigning it with mobile in mind.
But as a result, you'll have a more simplistic layout and a more attractive design overall.
Your restaurant website is an important part of your marketing effort. The best website redesign strategies for restaurants are implemented with the customer in mind. You want your website to be easy to navigate and attractive to potential customers, so they will actually enjoy browsing and be interested in paying you a visit.
More than anything, your restaurant website is a reflection of your restaurant itself, so it should be something you are proud of.