What stands between you and a new customer? You might think it’s your menu, but it’s probably an earlier introduction than that: your website. Restaurants are one of the most highly searched industries online, and in one study, over 90% of participants reported using a mobile web browser to search for dining options.
So what makes a good website? What factors help you stand out? Most importantly: can a bad website turn a customer away?
The most vital parts of a website can be summed up in four main buckets:
- Ease of Use / Simplicity
- Authority / Trust
It doesn’t matter how good your website is if no one can see it! Your domain (i.e. your website URL) should be easy to remember and optimized for both desktop and mobile. A fast site can make all the difference for hungry, discerning customers, so it’s worth it to run periodic page load tests. As for smartphones, Google provides a handy, free tool to score your site for smartphones.
Besides delivering a quality customer experience on your website, search engines like Google categorize optimized sites as “healthier” overall, which can help your visibility in search results. This means when people search for your pizzeria, if you have a good website, it ranks at the top of the list.
Busy customers want answers (and food!) fast, and the best way to help them out is to streamline your site down to the essentials: high-impact content, clear navigation, and some key images to put your brand’s best foot forward. Keep the juiciest bits of information — your menu, hours, and location — highly visible. The average person spends about 8 seconds on a website before they navigate elsewhere. When it comes to helping customers make a decision, straightforward design always wins out over complex, flashy sites.
Additionally, online ordering should be front and center — the fewer clicks it takes to order, the more orders you’ll get.
Imagine you’re trying to make dinner plans with friends. One friend suggests a local restaurant that advertises dinner service starting at 7 PM. You check their Google My Business listing and report back that dinner service starts instead at 6 PM, not 7. Where would you look to confirm which one is accurate? The restaurant’s website. Think of your website as an extension of your physical location, the ultimate source of truth for every element of your business. It’s crucial that you keep hours, contact information, and your menu up-to-date — if not, you might miss out on a customer (or have them show up when you’re closed!).
Professional design, ease of use, and accurate information can do wonders for a customer’s confidence in your business. Because so many sites online are out of date, it’s a boon to a customer to know that a business owner takes the time to manage their online presence and present accurate information to their patrons. Ultimately, consistent management and care of your website facilitates trust and says to customers, We take this seriously and furthermore, that they can trust you to keep their payment credentials safe, if you offer online ordering. Another step you can take is to update your domain to https — this version of a site offers protections to ensure scammers can’t phish any info entered on a web page.