Your website is often one of the first points of contact with your current and potential customers, and depending on your business it can also be your most important channel.You should always think of your website (and your other digital channels of course) as a billboard for your brand and a means to drive your revenue, whether it’s through an online shop, a booking widget or function enquiry form.
With this in mind, you should ask yourself the question – if this was a billboard that I paid for, what would I say and how would I say it? Whatever your answer is, it should be applied on your website and remember, you may just have one shot to make a good impression.
We have put together a list of 5 things you should think about when you design and maintain your website!
1. The Look & Feel
The look of the website is the first thing that people will visit. They say don't judge a book by it's cover but people do so that first impression is important.Your website should communicate your brand story and what people can expect when they visit your venue. Think about your brand, what it is, how you want it to be perceived and how it is perceived before you design your website. Always (!) stick to your business’ branding and with branding we’re not just referring to your logo but to your menus, in-venue collateral, tone of voice and even the in-venue atmosphere.
2. What Images You Use
If you visit a website for a restaurant you’re considering trying out and are met with blurry, amateur food photos, are you going to think “wow I must try this place”? No you probably won’t and neither will other people. While you may be able to get away with iPhone photos on your social channels, your website needs professional photos. Investing in quality images will ensure that your website is visually appealing and you're most likely going to be more likely to convert. However, it's just as important that you ensure the photos are an accurate representation of what it looks like in real life. You don't want a Big Mac ad vs Big Mac reality situation. Whatever you do, please do not use stock photos.
3. What You Write and How You Write It
The text on your website is just as important as your imagery as it helps with SEO and with telling your brand story. It’s important that you write the text aligned with your brand’s voice and that it is written to your targeted audience. Don’t write a certain way because you think you have to and don’t use words repeatedly because you think that it will help your SEO. It will actually hurt your SEO, the crawlers will outsmart you.
Best practice is to write content that is informative and serves a purpose but with your keywords for SEO in mind. Don’t forget to check for spelling mistakes!
4. Is Your Information Correct?
Our fourth point may seem obvious, but you would be surprised how many websites we come across that have outdated information. Always make sure that the information on your website is correct. This includes everything from your contact details and opening hours to menus, specials and events artwork. Not only will it annoy your customers if the information is incorrect, but this too will hurt your SEO. Do an audit of your website to check that it's all correct and that it’s matching Google, social media and other listings. It will save you time not dealing with complaints or answering messages from confused customers.
5. Is It Easy to Navigate?
It is important that you think about your website from your customers’ experience. Is it responsive? Is the menu easy to find? Is it easy to contact you or to make a booking? How does it look on mobile?
Make sure that all your links are working, that key features are easy to find and that your customers aren’t forced to click through 20 times to find your opening hours.
People have little patience and if it’s not working or they can’t find what they are looking for, chances are they’ll move on.