A Few More Pro Tips for Restaurant Websites
Contained within are a number of other do’s and don’ts for restaurant websites. These are a bit more “all over the map” than yesterday, so I’ve decided to break them off and just let them run wild! But first…
A MENU-RELATED ADDENDUM TO YESTERDAY’S POST!
For starters, if you’re only going to do one version of your menu, it needs to be an HTML one. Do NOT just throw up the PDF for your menu and call it a day. Copy and paste, people! Also, making it printable (“Click Here For Printable Version”) is a big help.
For seconds, I do recommend uploading your menu as a text-based PDF as well, and having a little “Download As PDF” link on your menu page. This accomplishes three main things:
- A properly optimized (and don’t worry, it’s easy to do) PDF helps your SEO. Remember, where SEO is concerned, lots of little, super-crazy things add up. You can read more about optimizing PDFs for search here.
- It gives your potential customers more ways to interact with your website’s information without impacting the look or functionality of said site.
- It allows workplaces to store a local copy and hoard your PDF in a virtual menu folder.
So again, to reiterate: HTML menu, most important. Optimize PDF for search.
OTHER BASELINE BITS AND BOBS
- Make sure you have a mobile version of your site. More and more people are accessing the web while on the go, and these people are likely to be your customers.
- I think you should have an email address or a contact box. Preferably a contact box, which makes it easier on your potential customers. If you do have an email address or contact box, though, make sure that there’s someone on your end standing by to answer any potential questions quickly. If you can’t commit to that (and I understand if you can’t, so no judgments), you’re better off sticking to a phone number and leaving it at that. You don’t want people emailing you and then getting a response days later, if ever. That just makes you look bad.
- Always include pricing on your online menus. Always. Remember our discussion on price presentation, obviously. Price is vital information for potential customers to have. I don’t understand why so many restaurants are coy about telling people how much stuff costs. I think there’s this notion that people will just have to call or come in and see for themselves and once they’ve made personal contact, they can wrangle them in. Of course, that’s not how the internet really works. How things really work is that when someone doesn’t see any prices, they can’t budget for a meal. They then move onto someone who will tell them how much their meal out will cost. Congratulations! You’ve just lost a customer!
- Those introductory landing pages? Bag them. It isn’t 2002 anymore, nobody wants to sit through an introductory animation. Cut to the chase and land people on your main page so they can get right down to the business of making decisions.
- KEEP IT CURRENT. Another thing I’ve harped on in the past. Make sure everything is up-to-date and looks like it’s up-to-date. Often restaurants throw a website on the internet and call it a day. Two years later, nothing has changed. Everything on the site has to be current and look current. When someone hits your site and it looks like it’s been sitting in its current state for a couple of years, it reflects poorly on you.
- Don’t tell people what’s “on the way” for your site. They don’t care. The website that inspired these posts had the gall to tell me to “CHECK BACK SOON FOR A NEW DIGITAL VERSION” when I was looking at not one but two separate PDF files for their menu (an appalling three PDF files if you count their carryout menu). For starters, that barely makes sense. Who wrote that? And who approved it? Second, I’m not interested in checking back soon. Nobody is. We’re there now. If you don’t have something right then and there, don’t bother telling me that things will be better later. All that really says is that you know your stuff totally sucks and you can’t be bothered to make it right. I think it goes without saying that that reflects poorly on you as well.
THE END… FOR NOW.
This topic is something of a never-ending font, because there are so many bad websites in general out there, and bad restaurant ones in particular. As such I’m sure we’ll be revisiting this topic again (and again) at some point(s) in the future.
Also, please note that this is just some extremely simple, baseline stuff we’re talking about here. You should really be engaging in social media. There are both online ordering and online reservations (to be discussed in the near future), and all of the other things that you should be having your operation actively engaging in online. So what I’m saying is that if you’re not doing any of this other stuff that you should also totally be doing, make sure you don’t screw up these basic fundamentals.
Again, this is admittedly a pretty large topic, so if there’s anything else that I missed (and I’m sure there is), hit it up in the comments! And as always, let the folks at Vanee Foods know what they can do to help you with your operational needs.