This day in age, every restaurant needs a website to be taken seriously. Patrons expect to be able to find information about your business on a designated page, not just a social media page. A good restaurant site will offer everything from online reservations to directions and the menu to available merchandise. Building your own website is easy with today’s point and click builders, but first, you need to know where to start.
Domain & Hosting
There are essentially two main parts of building a website – determining the domain and hosting and then building the actual site and getting it live. The first thing that you do is select a hosting company. There are plenty to choose from and all come with their own perks. Start by comparing the features you want in a hosting company. Things like 99% uptime, around the clock customer service and plenty of positive reviews are critical. Next you want to compare the plans and see which company offers the best rates and the best features with their plans. Let’s say you decided on website hosting at Unitt. You can easily see that they have two focal points – ecommerce hosting and high-traffic hosting. Both of these are good because they are designed around the needs of your business. If you anticipate that there will be heavy web-traffic due to your popularity, then you want a server that can handle it. If your site crashes because it cannot handle the volume of products you are selling or the amount of traffic then it is only costing you money instead of making it. Once you select a hosting plan, the prompts will help you through the rest of the set up process.
Build Your Site
The right point and click site builder for you will depend on what you want to get out of your site. Many people today prefer using WordPress because it is easy to find thousands of pre-designed themes that are prefect for any type of restaurant. More importantly, you can easily customize your site by adding plugins and widgets. These are features that are added to your website with a few clicks. You can add things like an interactive map, review/rating system, clickable menu, online ordering and merchandise sales. It’s important to choose a hosting plan and theme that supports webshop hosting if you plan on selling any items, including food, through your website. These items take up more database space than traditional content on a website.
Important tips to remember are:
- Have your full menu available online as well as a PDF download version.
- Make sure the address, phone number and hours are clearly visible on the first page.
- Don’t forget a contact page where customers can submit their compliments or complaints.
- Use original pictures of your food and establishment on your site. Hire a professional to get the best results.
- Publish & Promote
Once you have finished your website it is time to send it live. You will want to submit it to the major search engines to help it rank in search results. Also update any online profiles for your business such as Facebook, Twiiter, TripAdvisor, Google+ and Yahoo. List your website on your business cards and promote it to your customers via social media and in-house experiences to help drive traffic to the site.