Design a Restaurant Website in 3 Easy Steps
May 27, 2021
Restaurant marketing in today's competitive environment can be overwhelming. Creating a restaurant website is by far the best way to ensure your customers find you and understand your offerings. This post will teach you to create a restaurant website and include the content you need to attract and inform your audience.
There's a common misconception that you need technical or design skills. This assumption is false!
With the website-building tools available today, it's simple and easy to build one that strengthens your brand and keeps your customers coming back for more.
Why do I need a website for my restaurant?
Like most other consumer choices today, the decision about where to eat begins online. Therefore, patrons tend to search for restaurants using a search engine (e.g., Google) when looking for a new place to dine. A website serves as the central online location for your brand and provides all the information customers need to know, like menu, location, hours, etc. Having a website with relevant content is the best way to rank high in search engines (SEO).
Learn more about using google to help patrons find your restaurant website here.
Can you rely solely on 3rd party social platforms like Yelp and Facebook to serve as your website?
Unfortunately, you can't. First, these platforms limit your control over the content. Therefore, you're also subject to their ever-changing algorithm, restrictions, and policies. Social media is an essential part of any restaurant marketing strategy, but should never come before your own restaurant website design.
How to create a restaurant website
Here are the basic steps to build a website:
1. Purchase your domain name
Selecting a domain name can feel overwhelming, but there are a few simple tricks.
• Stick with a .com domain because this is best for SEO and easiest for your customers to find.
• Always start with the name of your establishment. If it isn't available on its own, add additional search-friendly keywords to it. For example, if your restaurant is called "Zeller's Chicken", try to purchase zellerschicken.com. If it's not available, then you could modify it to something like zellerschickenrestaurant.com. Overall, try to keep it short, unique, and branded for someone typing the address directly into their browser.
• Use the google trends tool to see top searched terms, which can help with your domain name/SEO rankings.
2. Select a website builder
There are many content management systems available for building websites. But you have a few things to consider before purchasing. Do you plan on offering online ordering for takeout or delivery? Since the pandemic, online ordering has grown substantially, and many consumers prefer to have this option. However, this does add complexity to your task.
Select an option with a lower monthly fee that doesn't require a programmer to start. There's no need to pay more than $100/month for restaurant website templates that you can launch with minimal hassle. Many point of sale (POS) systems offer website building/hosting, so make sure you check with your POS provider before selecting a different website system.
TIP: Any solution you choose should be mobile-friendly as patrons generally search for restaurants on their mobile devices.
3. Take photos and write content with your customer in mind
Photography and content are probably the most critical parts of creating a good restaurant website user experience. Before you start the website design process, research other restaurant websites, including competitors, and decide on a look and feel that best suits your restaurant brand. A good search term to use for inspiration is "good restaurant website examples". Put yourself in your customers' shoes and what they want to get out of visiting your website.
Good photos can make or break your website and social presence. Consumers eat with their eyes, and photography is an important investment for any restaurant's marketing strategy. Learn more tips for restaurant photography here.
Below are some key content sections to include:
1. Menu with pricing
3. Contact information
4. Online ordering
5. Online reservations
6. Gift card purchasing
7. Email collection form
8. Links to social accounts, including Yelp!, if you're proud of those reviews!
9. About the owner and your brand story
TIP: Make sure you have a place for your customers to sign-up for regular emails on specials, events, and discounts. Ask for their phone number too to help you with text message marketing!
Add these for extra credit once you cover the basics:
1. Online loyalty program
2. Recipes for favorite dishes
3. Weekly specials
4. Staff bios
5. Catering options
6. COVID-19 PPE policies
For restaurants today, digital is destiny
As the pandemic demonstrated, restaurants with strong digital assets fared better, especially those who control their online ordering. Make sure you're one of them! Having one of the best restaurant websites that entices both customers and search engines is the first step. It may seem daunting, but there are many inexpensive tools available that make it easier and more cost-effective than ever.
Need more info to optimize your restaurant's digital marketing? Download our free beginner's guide to restaurant digital marketing here.