Restaurant websites make strong impressions on visitors, especially new potential customers. Decisions is restaurant website design need to be based on actual website behavior.
A restaurant wants to be just as careful in being inviting to customers on their website as when they enter the door to be seated. There are certain things that almost always hurt restaurant on their websites. And we wanted to share them so you can avoid them. We see the negative consequences of these mistakes in Google Analytics and the decreased usage of the calls to action, such as placing a reservation online.
- Background Music
Yes, there are still websites that use music in the background. I understand they want to give the feeling of the cuisine and restaurant but what they don’t get music in the background makes their site slower and makes people annoyed because they are only looking for information related to dining. The worst case scenario is that they are somewhere that they will be embarrassed if music starts playing.
- Flash Website
Even we don’t see a Flash website that often anymore(as Adobe has moved away from it). However, there are websites still use Flash inside their website. Avoid Flash. They don’t work on all devices (especially mobile) and they are very slow. Many of the qualities of Flash websites can now be accomplished with a web designer familiar with HTML 5. The importance is to make sure your restaurant website design is based on technologies that not only look good but work well.
- Not Responsive Website
Well, restaurateurs might think that “responsive” is a new term but actually it is not. However, only over the last year has having a responsive website been essential.
The reasons are simply based on all the devices we now use. Because there are so many screen sizes, just having a separate mobile website doesn’t work anymore. Responsive sites adopt the size of the screens; it can be mobile, desktop, tablet or even a TV screen. Google also said that they favor responsive website in rankings.
- Never Updating
Some restaurants create a website one time, and they never update or it takes them a year to update hours. The menus change. The hours change. Even the links to social media or marketing tools (such as OpenTable) may change. A restaurant should check their website’s accuracy at least once a month. Also, you should have a system in place to carry out website maintenance.
- No Blog
Blogs are powerful, especially for restaurants. They can use blogs for announcements, some recipes, some local news or a good quality article. Blog articles helps restaurants in many different ways, helps you communicate with customers, especially in social media. Good quality articles might show up in search results, more potential customers. Lastly, Google likes content, more content is better than nothing.
- Bad Pictures or No Pictures
There are restaurants that use bad pictures on their website, or they have no pictures. That only does harm. When potential customer visit your website, they are window shopping. With food and drinks, you have a powerful motivator in a great image. You need get a good professional photographer whose photos you review beforehand. Photos have so many usages from your website to social media to local search and are key to your branding.
- Too Crowded With Too Many Links
Some restaurant websites love showing all the links in the main navigation or they squeeze in the header area. By crowding the site, customers cannot find the most important information and do not receive the brand message you are trying to communicate. 70% of visitors are brand new. Focus on putting your best face forward and convincing them to place a reservation.
- No HTML Menus
HTML Menu of AYZA WINE & CHOCOLATE BAR
All search engines crawl your websites, looking for content including menus. That means restaurants should stop using PDFs and stop using 3rd Menu platforms on your website. HTML menus give you additional flexibility brand wise, are faster and easier to access and they help your SEO. Most importantly, it is your own and not tied up to paying or relying on a 3rd party.
- Wrong 3rd Party Content On The Site
Nowadays most restaurant websites have way too many links to 3rd party website, instead of focusing on content on the site. Visitors quickly bounce off the site.
There are several must-have 3rd party platforms such as Seamless or Grubhub for restaurants that rely on delivery. That doesn’t mean that you need to direct people away on your site.
Use something cheaper that you can embed inside your website. A good example is Gourmet Labs online ordering system. You can put it inside your website accept orders like it is your own application. If you are not a crazy busy restaurant, Freebookings is also a great choice for reservations.
As I mentioned before don’t use 3rd party menu platforms in your website, keep it HTML.
- Including Social Media Feed and Not Buttons
Unless you are a food cart, there is no reason to have a full social media feed on your site, especially one on your home page. Some tools can elegantly insert the latest tweet but putting Twitter’s widget smack in the middle of your site is distracting. Unless you have a very good reason, you should avoid this.
Of course, you want to include your social media presence if that is what customers are looking for. And there are cases where social media is key to a restaurant’s brand. Normally, it is not as important a marketing platform as the website, and a restaurant has not invested enough time and money into their social media. Instead use buttons, whether the social network icons or counters in strategic places on the site.
Restaurant website design is an ever changing field. Some best practices become hurtful. New technologies improve websites overall. So it is good to make sure you have an up to date website, as it is your core marketing platform online.
Image courtesy of Rasmus Thomsen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net