How to make your restaurant website work harder

Website planning and design

How to make your restaurant website work harder

We all know that a website is a must-have for any business, large or small, no matter what industry. Yet many small businesses in hospitality don’t have one, relying instead on a Facebook page that’s not even updated regularly. 

Although it’s an expense, a website is just as important as your fit-out. In fact, as a shop window for your business, you can consider it part of the fit-out!

Here are some of my hot tips to make your website work hard for your venue and deliver new customers and repeat business.

Keep it up to date

Nothing confuses or irritates diners more than a website with out of date menus, opening hours or function information. Any time you have a change, even if it’s small, make sure it is reflected on your website. It is best to delegate one person to be responsible for all updates, but have a back up person who also knows what to do. Ensure someone on your own team can be responsible for this, if you constantly have to go to an external supplier to make small changes it can get very expensive.

Make it functional 

We’ve all seen the websites that look oh-so stylish, but bury the actual stuff you want to know. Make sure your site is easy to navigate, with a clear menu or links to booking, menus, images and other info right there in the top half (also called above the fold) of the home page. 

Your website also needs to be responsive, which is another way of saying it should work just as well on mobiles, computers and tablets. Remember that most people looking up restaurants and cafés are using their mobile on the go.

Share the news

Although it requires a bit of time to maintain, it’s a great idea to have a page on your website with the latest news about the venue. You can include new dishes, shout-outs for staff, any changes to opening hours, the options are endless. This can be linked to your social pages so the post is immediately uploaded to Instagram, Facebook and others. Keeping the posts on your website means it belongs to you and not Facebook! If you really don’t have time to produce regular posts, outsource it. 

SEO matters

A website that follows good SEO (search engine optimisation) practices is easier for Google – and therefore your customers – to find. It can be a complicated topic but basically there are two aspects; the techie side and the content side. For the techie side, make sure your web provider is across the latest best practice. They need to know their meta tags from their title tags. Ask them for a report!

Google also pays attention to the written content of your site. It notices if you haven’t updated it for a year, or don’t have much information for customers, and it will rank you lower on the search pages when people are looking for you online. Good written content uses keywords in all the right places but doesn’t overdo it, is easy to read and understand, and doesn’t contain spelling or grammar errors. 

These are just a few ways to make your website work harder for your business. Investing some time each week to spend on your website will ensure it makes you money, instead of just costing you money!