A US survey found that a whopping 86% of diners visit your website before visiting your restaurant in person, and that 88% of them will take action on the very same day. We imagine Singapore, as the nation of foodies we proclaim to be, is not much different, and that’s how important your website is for your business.
We’ll be diving deep into principles like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for ranking highly on Google searches, or secret tricks to prompt coverage from media outlets. But let’s start with the basics:
1. Make important information easy to find
This may seem intuitive, but you’d be surprised how many restaurant websites fall short in this regard.
Key business information such as your contact number, physical address and operating hours should be prominently displayed (particularly on your homepage, and ideally on every landing page as well). Make sure browsers can copy and paste your address to search on Google Maps; better yet, embed a Google Map widget onto your website.
2. Cater to every customer
People visiting your restaurant’s website are at different stages of the conversion funnel, so consider their browsing behaviour when building your website.
Scenario 1: They’re casually looking for a place to eat
These people are still in their research phase, and might have reached your website while searching, say, “Italian restaurants in Singapore” or “restaurants in Tiong Bahru”.
Sell your restaurant to them. Perhaps include a slogan that sums up the food and vibes of your restaurant. Make sure call-to-action buttons are subconsciously persuasive (e.g. contrasting colours make the buttons pop and make browsers more inclined to click in). Your homepage should make them feel like they’ve found exactly what they were looking for.
Scenario 2: They’re not looking for a place to eat – they’re looking for your place to eat.
In other words, they already know they want to dine at your restaurant. Perhaps they’re looking for your address to make getting there easier, or need to call in to book a table for a large group. High-intent customers are the most valuable to you, which brings us back to our first point: make important information easy to find.
And now, to take things up a notch: Make sure you’ve also got these covered in your restaurant’s website:
3. Your menu
“I have no idea what this restaurant serves, so I’d love to go!” said no one ever. When potential customers are searching for a place to eat, they’d naturally want to know what you’re serving.
One point to note: To ensure that your website is search engine optimised, display your menu on a static page, and not as an image or PDF file. Google can’t crawl for text in those file formats, which means won’t count for anything when it comes to ranking highly when people search for anything related to your restaurant.
4. A photo gallery
As much as your menu is important, you’ll still need pictures to say what words can’t. After all, people eat first with their eyes.
American street dining hotspot Mischief nails it. They’re all about “a good time, every time!”, they say. And if their idea of a good time is a mouth-watering, indulgent platter of grilled goodness – which is what greets you the second you enter their website – then we’re all up for a good time.
Here’s a secret: Your photos aren’t just for the eyes of your potential customers. Having high quality visuals also makes it much easier for media outlets to pick up on your restaurant when creating their own content, be it in the form of a food review, listicle or F&B-related news. The relatively small media circle in Singapore also means content is frequently echoed across various media platforms, essentially marketing your restaurant for you. Score!
5. Social Media Plug-ins
You wouldn’t serve stale meat to your customers in your restaurant, so why would you do so with your online presence? No matter what industry you’re in, an updated website tells your audience that you mean business.
But, of course, you’re a restaurant, not a content house. You don’t have to churn out articles on the daily; simply embed your social media feeds onto your website, as these platforms are also probably where you update your customers with your promotions and latest news.
Facebook provides a page plug-in generator tool for embedding your feed on your website. Simply input your Facebook page URL, adjust the width and height of the plug-in according to your website’s layout, and input the code on your website.
Instagram doesn’t offer the option to embed your feed on your website (You can only embed individual posts, and even so, that means you’ll have to keep manually updating your Instagram display on your website. Not smart.), but you can easily work with third party tools such as InstaWidget to do so.
Marketing your restaurant
You’ve got great food that diners will love, but the first step is to convert them into seated diners. And that’s exactly what your restaurant’s website is for. Nail your online presence, and you’ll surely be seeing growth in your business’s numbers.