I can’t think of another industry where photography is as important as it is in the food and beverage industry.
1. Include Mouthwatering Photography & Videos (with alt tags!)
When a potential customer is searching for “mexican restaurants near me” and they find your restaurant, the first thing that will catch their eye is what they’re hungry for: Mexican food.
With the industry becoming increasingly visual and based on word of mouth recommendations, spend the time and resources on a professional photographer that will show your culinary skills in their best light is sure to broaden your online presence and increase your return on investment. Between lighting, props, and styling, it can be overwhelming to do it all yourself; there are professionals available to take the guesswork out of this very important aspect of your website and high quality imagery can make or break your web presence.
In addition to photos of your food, consider snapping photos of the interior of your restaurant. This will set proper expectations of the ambiance and overall vibe of your restaurant.
Be sure to include alt tags on all of your website photos. Did you know you can actually rank in search engines for your photos? The alt tag, also known as “alt attribute” or “alt description” is an HTML attribute to tell the search engines what’s actually in the photograph. Applying images to alt tags positively impacts search engine rankings, both for your pages and your photos.
2. Ensure Your Website Is Responsive & Mobile-Friendly
Your potential diners are hungry and 80% of them are finding you on their phones. It’s important that they can find everything they need from any device, especially when they are on the go.
Responsive web design takes “mobile-friendly” to the next level by creating websites that adapt to all screen sizes, all the time.
Instead of having a second version of your website that’s mobile-friendly, responsive design is coded into one site.
3. Optimize Your Content For Top Keywords
Optimizing your written content is a great way to boost SEO.
Check that your title tags are strong and that you have done research on long-tail keywords. This might start with initial keyword research to learn more about what is actually being searched for that’s relevant to your business.
What is a long-tail keyword? A long-tail keyword is a phrase that capture search traffic from a specific, usually 3+ word search query. For example, “south asian food near me” or “gluten free macaroni and cheese”.
4. Include an Easy-to-Find ‘Reservations’ Button
Trying to book a table for four at your restaurant should be a piece of cake.
There’s nothing worse than trying to make dinner reservations and it not being clear if a restaurant takes them or not, or if there are tables available at your time slot.
If you don’t take reservations, make that clear by saying something like, “Reservations for Groups of 8 or more”. If you don’t include important details on your website, it won’t show up in search results.
Additionally, if you do take reservations, make sure there is clear communication after hitting submit so that the customer knows that everything went through properly. This will avoid unneeded phone calls to your restaurant as well!
Whether you use a third-party plugin like OpenTable or a custom solution, make sure everything works smoothly when you implement and integrates with all your restaurant management tools.
5. Clearly Display Your Contact Information
Coming in right behind a clearly displayed “Reservations” button is going to be all of your contact information including phone number, email address, and a map with directions on how to find your business.
Most likely, customers will be looking for a phone number to call and confirm or change a reservation, find out more info about your menu, or ordering take-out. We recommend displaying your phone number clearly in the navigation or footer of your homepage.
6. Highlight Menus & Pricing
Displaying up-to-date menus and pricing is huge on restaurant websites.
Do you have a specific bar menu or cocktail menu? Make sure to include that as well.
It’s worth noting as well that users increasingly do not want to click through to PDFs to get your menu so it’s best practice to put your menu on it’s own page instead of as a separate file.
7. Outline Details for Catering, Private Events & Delivery
If you offer catering services and/or private events, be sure to make room for this on your website as well. This will also help with the being found for catering services or event venues in your area when people search for those keyword phrases.
8. Brag About Your Awards & Reviews
Don’t be shy! Be sure to showcase relevant badges and awards from places like TripAdvisor and Yelp that boost credibility and encourage people to try your restaurant if they have never been there before.
No awards, yet? That’s ok. Encourage diners to write reviews or leave testimonials that you can display. Reading recent positive reviews always encourages potential customers to choose your restaurant.
9. Link to Your Social Media Platforms
People are constantly taking photos of their meals and sharing with their own circle of family and friends. Be sure to have an Instagram account, Facebook account, Google My Business profile, and perhaps a Yelp account where you can capture all of those photos and engage with your audience inside and outside of your restaurant. Not only that, but encouraging people to post with a hashtag or link to your handle can broaden your reach without a paid boost.
Additionally, engage with customers on social media whether they’ve left a positive or a negative review. Every review is an opportunity to engage turn possible poor experiences into positive ones.
10. Update Your Blog
Good restaurant websites have blogs for a few reasons: search engine optimization, restaurant updates, building an email list, and PR.
Not sure what to write about? Here are a few ideas: featured menu items or new menu items, answers to common questions that you hear in your restaurant, details on private dining or catering services, employee spotlights, and event announcements.
For more help building your restaurant's website, visit Buildthis.