Starting a new sushi place? Trying growth hacking techniques on an ageing thousand year old family business?
Then you’ll need a website. Anything that’s not online practically doesn’t exist, anyway.
Whether you’re a veteran or an utter newbie, a good website can flock customers to your business – just as much a bad website can scare them away.
It’s not rocket science. What you need is a blend of good info, a fast and responsive website that’ll work on any device (especially on cell phones!) and an added bonus: a reservation system.
Why you need a website
The #1 reason: Online Search.
People will lookup your restaurant one way or another, for a whole bunch of reasons. Most of the time, study shows, they’ll be doing a quick search on phones. Probably because they realised they’re really hungry after a pleasant round of recreational mood enhancers, and they suddenly feel an unyielding urge for delicious food. However, since it’s probably 2am and they’re stranded in a sketchy looking yet glamorous apartment, one of the invitees will pick up their phone and check for restaurants nearby. Google will be almost certainly be used for this.
They’ll be presented with the best search results Google has to offer.
Google’s made heavy strides in this department. A quick search of your fave place in Google will, along with relevant results, reveal details about the restaurant; info like working hours, contact info, delivery options, parking options, its location on a map, in some cases even reviews, and more.
Google’s become so good at this, in fact, that most folks don’t bother to open a restaurant’s website. However, don’t let this fool you, because where do you think Google get’s all this info from?
If you want your place to show up as a neat Google info card, you’re going to need to set up a website that’s modern, responsive, and has all key info – that’s easy to find.
No one truly knows how Google’s result ranking system works. But what’s known are best-practices that are reworded by Google’s algorithms. These include making your site mobile-friendly, so folks can see a version of your site that’s especially made for smartphones.
While it sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Responsive websites adapt to any screen, and change themselves on the fly so as to better suit the device they’re being viewed on, be it a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop or even a TV.
But that’s only the “look” part of the website. What’s running underneath it is just as important.
Designing your website, the easy and fast way
WordPress works like a charm on its own. It keeps everything humming nicely in the background, and organises your content and info gracefully. But what about the foreground?
Luckily, WordPress can be outfitted with any conceivable design. These are called themes. There are countless free ones, but take care – free themes don’t have support; genuinely look cheap; anyone can easily copy your website by using the same free theme.
Invest instead in a quality theme that’s above all else: responsive. Try something like the elegant Spooner or Stomaci.
What’s so gorgeous about Spooner is that it offers a built-in reservation system and can be effortlessly customised: you can insert your photos, branding assets, content, info in a matter of minutes!
You can choose to post regular updates, or post relatively nothing but a barebones menu. Whichever way, your site will look effortlessly elegant.
The Google in us all
Next, sit back and relax. Google’s automated crawlers will find your site.
What you can do in the meantime, is create pages on social media and restaurant review websites like Yelp. Although I’m not a big fan of Yelp, having a presence there might be better than having none.
A Facebook page and an Instagram profile might well be enough for your first marketing push online.
But that’s a story for another time 😉