We’ve all been there; you built the website for your restaurant a few years ago and, since then, it has slowly slipped into the far reaches of the Internet untouched and unloved. Sure, it acts as a fairly decent beacon for your business, but it has become little more than an online version of your menu.
Taking time out from the business to update your website may feel like a wrench, but it will be one of the most important tasks you undertake and will reap rewards further down the line.
It’s time to give your website the spring clean it deserves and get it working for you as it should. In this post, we’ve got 4 ways to reignite your web presence and ensure people start flocking to your restaurant website.
1. Use it yourself
This is a common mistake made by many businesses. When was the last time you used your website? Have you ever ‘played guest’ and sussed out how useful it is for your customers? If not, it’s time to delve in.
It’s likely that you taste your own menu regularly, and you should do the same with your website. Look at it with fresh eyes and pretend you’re approaching your business as a customer.
This will enable you to start the audit process…
2. Audit your website
Now you’re wearing your customer hat, it’s time to dig into the mechanics of your website. Here are a few things to consider and make notes on as you go:
- How easy is it to navigate? Do you have to spend ages hunting for the ‘contact us’ section?
- Is it simple, quick and easy to book online? Does a book online option even exist?
- What does it look like on your smartphone? Do you have to continually pinch and zoom to see the page content
- Are the photos enticing enough? Are they high-enough quality or do they suffer from poor lighting and/or pixelation?
- Does the text ramble on or is it to the point? Are you able to suss out what kind of restaurant you’re looking at within seconds or does it take minutes?
Make detailed notes of how you think you can improve each of the areas above.
3. Review the SEO
Search engine optimisation isn’t black magic, as some people may lead you to think. It is largely common sense, although there are a few basic technical details you need to get right from the off.
At this point, it may be tempting to call on a web developer, but if you have access to your website’s back end (for example, WordPress), you should be able to figure out where to find and amend the following 3 SEO essentials for each page:
- Page titles: each one should be unique and contain key words or phrases (i.e. ‘Italian restaurant in Northampton’);
- Meta descriptions: this is a short descriptive paragraph read by search engines like Google and used to position your website within search results. The more relevant your meta description, the higher you’ll appear;
- Keywords: gone are the days when you could simply fill your website with keywords in order to appear higher in search engines – these days, you need unique, engaging, meaningful content, but the importance of keywords hasn’t diminished. Spend time listing the keywords and phrases relating to your restaurant and work them into your page text (just don’t go overboard)
If your website is indeed WordPress-powered, the brilliant Yoast plug-in will assist with the above.
4. Ask your customers for their opinion
When it comes to business websites, there’s nothing like gaining feedback from the people who use them most often: the customers. Even with your customer hat on, you won’t uncover every frustration due to how close you are to the business; you’ll never be completely impartial.
Be brave and ask diners if they used your website before visiting the restaurant and seek out their honest feedback. Do the same post-visit by sending out an email survey asking what your customers thought about your website. Be ready for critical feedback and act on it.
Updating your restaurant website should be a fun, enlightening process. If you can, try and avoid calling on a web developer for as long as possible. Depending on how your website has been built, there is a strong chance you have access to its internals, and you’ll be able to undertake much of the remedial work yourself.