Having a great website is crucial to the success of any restaurant. Whether it’s looking up the menu, making a reservation, finding out your hours of operation or ordering food online, customers almost always search for a restaurant online before dining there.

Here are six important elements to consider when you’re designing your restaurant’s website.

Simplicity

When designing your website it’s important to stand out from the crowd in an ever competitive industry. However, many restaurants take this too far with all the flashy bells and whistles that distract from what a customer is actually looking for.

Skip out on using Flash, animations and music. All of these things make it harder for your website visitors to find the information they need that will turn them into an actual customer at your restaurant.

Instead, have a clear call-to-action that visitors will be presented with immediately. Anything from making a reservation, ordering online or joining your email list for a discount will work.

Photography

How many times have you gotten hungry by just looking at a photo of food? Admit it, at least a few times. It happens to everyone.

Having professional photos of your food and restaurant atmosphere is extremely important, especially to people who have never visited your restaurant before.

Make the investment and hire a professional food photographer to take photos for your website. It’s worth every penny.

Essential Information

It seems obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how hard it can sometimes be to find a restaurant’s phone number, email address or even location.

Showcasing your essential information on every page, clearly, is extremely important. Visitors shouldn’t have to spend time looking around, clicking through several pages, to find it.

Include your phone number, email, address and hours on each page in your website’s header or footer.

Responsive

Over 50% of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. It’s impossible to ignore any longer if you don’t want to alienate half of your potential new customers.

Make sure your website is responsive so that it will adjust and look good on all screen sizes.

Use Google’s mobile test to check if your restaurant’s website is mobile friendly.

Search Engine Optimization

What good is a great website if no one is visiting it?

If you’re a burger joint in Los Angeles, you want people that are searching for similar restaurants in LA to find you. That’s what search engine optimization (SEO) is for.

There are several factors that affect how high your website shows up in Google’s rankings. Some of these includes:

● Keyword optimization on your website
● Inbound and outbound links
● Content quality
● Local directory listings
● Website speed
● Social signals

While something like SEO is usually left to a digital marketing agency, there are a few things you can do yourself.

Make sure you’re listed in all of the major directories like Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor, Yellow Pages, Google Plus among others.

Constantly share quality content on social media and the number of social signals can also affect your website rankings, not to mention find new customers by going viral.

Use top-of-the-line hosting. Website speed now plays a role in SEO. The fast your website is, the more Google likes you. Don’t cheap out on hosting. Use a quality hosting service that will maximize your chances of a high ranking.

Your Story

Every restaurant has a unique story. In a world of fast food and corporate restaurant chains, these stories often get lost when restaurants try to be something they’re not.

Use your story to your advantage. Include a page on your website with your restaurant’s history, how you got started as a restaurant owner and why you have a passion for being in this business. Customers will appreciate your openness.

With over a billion websites online, making a statement on the web is often difficult. Whether you hire a professional restaurant website developer, or go the DIY route, keep these 6 elements in mind with your design and you’ll have a better chance of standing out from your competition and turning those website visitors into loyal customers who keep coming back.

From: Restaurantden.com an all-in-one website design and online ordering solution for restaurants. We design and manage websites that turn visitors into loyal customers.”