In the era of social media is it worth hassle to make your own restaurant website?
Why you might not want a website for your restaurant
You don’t know where to start
You think it will cost too much
You’re afraid of the cost
If you’re already posting on Facebook and Instagram and have followers there, you may not think the additional trouble of having a website for your restaurant is worth it.
You could be missing essential opportunities
One of the most important things to understand is how people find local restaurants. While your Facebook and Instagram are vital places to “preach to the choir” and build your fanbase, there’s a crucial opportunity you’re missing out on called “Google local results.”
The Google search engine understands where people who are searching restaurants live and when they search for “seafood restaurant” or “breakfast cafe” the top results are going to be tailored to their location.
If your competition has a website that ranks them first in Google and you don’t –guess where they’re most likely to go!
What’s the point of a restaurant website?
The type of website you choose to make for your restaurant has a lot to do with:
Your target audience– Your website is another opportunity to communicate your brand message and unique offerings. Just like your restaurant, it’s self, you need to consider how to appeal to the type of guests you want to bring in. Choose a look and style that matches your restaurant’s theme.
The kind of service– If you have a big menu, post it online, that way customers know what they want to order when they come in. If you do delivery, there is no excuse for not having your menu online, and taking online orders can be a considerable convenience for your customers.
How much time/money you have budgeted--Depending on resources you may choose either to do it your self or have someone do it for you. It’s always better to host your own website rather than use a “free” webpage service, but because having a website is so important, something is better than nothing!
Do you take Reservations?– If your restaurant takes reservations, but your dining room isn’t full every service, then online reservations could be the boon to more bookings that you’re looking for. Just make sure to choose a system that is easy to implement and doesn’t charge you extra fees for online reservations. Rezku is a leader in front of house management and has affordable solutions for restaurants looking to start using an online reservation system.
How to Start a Restaurant Website
Where to put your website
Free Hosting– Yes, there are many free web hosting services but be aware that there may be a catch. Many free hosting services include paid versions if you need more space, have more visitors or wish to remove ads from your page. These can cost
Paid Hosting– Paid hosting offers you more control of your website, and due to aggressive competition great hosting can be found for around $10 a month. With these services, there is a bit of an expectation that you have to know what you’re doing and may be a better choice if you’re planning to hire a web developer.
How to design your website
WYSIWYG– Some of the well known free sites have built-in themes or templates you can use. Sites likeTripod.comandAngelfire.comare well known for their ease of use. Using these sites, you won’t have your own domain name. Also, keep in mind you might be required to display targeted ads on your site which may have a “spammy” feel, and the preset templates give your site an unprofessional or amateur look.
Templates / Wordpress– If you’re willing to learn a bit about website design a good entry point with lots of learning resources are website templates. Many are built on the Wordpress platform which can be pre-loaded for free with most paid hosting sites. Sites likeHoastGator.comandGoDaddy.comeven have lower priced Wordpress only hosting available.
Hire a Web Designer– If you’d rather not deal with the hassle of learning how to design a website you can easily find a freelance web designer. Important things to look for are a track record of successfully completed projects and experience with restaurant websites. While you may be tempted to find a kid who knows a thing or two, it’s highly advised you pay a little more for someone who’s doing it professionally.Fivrr.comandUpWork.comboth feature web and graphic designers who work for peanuts but produce professional results. Although, beware YMMV.
Always remember to have fun with your website and tailor it to the needs of your guests. After all, the whole point is to help new food lovers find your restaurant online and give your regulars an easy way to keep in touch with you.
Now you know why it’s so important to have a restaurant website!