Today, customers are relying more on the Internet to look for places to have their next meals. For restaurant owners, having a website to showcase what they are offering is becoming a necessity.
If you are a restaurant owner who wants to build a website but don’t have the knowledge or technical skills, you have landed on the right page.
In this guide, we are going to show you how to build a restaurant website. If you already have one, you will learn about tips that can help to improve it and as a result, increase the number of online reservations that you get from the website.
- 1 Domain Name
- 2 Web Host
- 3 Content Management System
- 4 Website Builders
- 5 Website Design Elements and Features
- 6 Essential Pages
- 7 Essential Content
- 8 Website Traffic Tracking
- 9 Elements for Search Engine Optimization
- 10 Usability Testing
- 11 Ready to Go Live
- 12 Let Us Know Your Questions
A domain name is the main element of a web address for a website on the Internet. To access your website, visitors need to know the domain name.
You have to decide on the right domain name to use before moving on to other tasks such as signing up for a web hosting package or building the website itself. Changing a domain name in the future is a hassle for your customers and yourself. Thus, the decision on which domain name to use needs to be thought through carefully.
The domain name of a restaurant website is usually a direct reflection of the restaurant’s name. For example, the best domain name for a restaurant named “78 Steakhouse” will be “78steakhouse.com”.
If the domain name that best represents the name of your restaurant is not available or it is held by another party, you can opt for either of the following options:
Negotiate to Purchase It
Domain names, especially the more generic or popular ones, are usually snapped up long ago. The owners could be domain name traders or brokers who make a living by buying and selling domain names. Some of them may be keeping the names for future use.
If you are interested in purchasing a domain name with an existing owner, perform a WHOIS search to get your hands on the owner’s contact information. Get in touch with him or her with an offer to purchase the domain name.
Although there are several factors that influences the price of a domain name, there is currently no fixed guidelines, metrics and basis to attach a value to a domain name. At the end of the day, the price that you need to pay depends a lot on the negotiation skills you possess.
Consider a Variation
Purchasing a domain name that is a variation of your restaurant name is the cheaper option most of the time.
From the same example above, assuming if “78steakhouse.com” is no longer available, the owner of “78 Steakhouse” can consider the purchase of a location-based variation of the domain name such as “78steakhousenyc.com” if the restaurant is solely based in New York City.
Other forms of variation such as adding dashes in between words of your business name can be considered. However, the best practice is to have less than two dashes in a domain name. A domain name that contains more than two dashes causes confusion and may even be perceived as unprofessional.
Assert Your Trademark Rights
If the name of your restaurant is trademarked, then you may have an advantage in getting hold of the domain name that is reflective of your trademarked restaurant name.
Trademark laws are applicable in most jurisdictions. The general rule of thumb is that if you have started marketing products or services using a name before the domain holder’s use of his or her domain name, you might stand a chance in preventing the use of the domain name.
If you are successful in filing a trademark infringement or cybersquatting lawsuit against the registrant and win, the court will usually order for the transfer of the trademarked domain name to you and may even award money damages.
A lawyer specialized in trademark infringement and cybersquatting cases within the jurisdiction of where your restaurant is based will be able to offer a better advice on this.
Generic Top-Level Domain
The homepage of a domain registrar displays almost all the different generic top level domains such as .com, .net, .biz, .org, .info, .me, .co and many others that are available for registration. Be clear of what you are looking for to avoid getting overwhelmed by the various offers.
Out of all the generic top-level domains, .com is the perceived default for a large percentage of Internet users. If you tell a group of people the name of your restaurant, most of them will automatically assume that your website is located at your restaurant name, followed by a .com. Also, .com is so much more memorable as compared to the rest.
Other top-level domains such as .info, .cc and .us are often associated with spam, phishing and other malicious operations on the Internet. As a business, especially if you are relatively unknown, it is wise to avoid them.
With all the reasons mentioned above, you should always try to get hold of a domain name with a .com extension.
Simple and Memorable
Great domain names should be as short as possible. Do a quick recall of websites that you have in mind right now. How many character count does the domain names have? The shorter a domain name is, the better.
Memorable domain names are easy-to-spell and potential visitors should instantly know what to type into the address bar on their browser in order to access your website.
Here’s a great way to test whether your domain name is simple and memorable enough. Imagine yourself at a noisy bar telling another person the address or URL to your website. Will the person be able to pay your website a visit without any problem once he reaches home?
Domain Name Registrar
The registration of a domain has to be done with a domain name registrar.
Although the market is very competitive with different registrars offering a wide variety of top-level domains at different price points, the signup process is usually the same across all of them.
A good domain name registrar should at least offer a well written guide for customers, top notch customer support, and grant customers full control over his or her domain name.
Recommendations from friends and peers together with online reviews are usually the best ways to find out more about registrars that are out there.
Of course, if you want to save some money on a domain name, do a search for coupon codes offered by certain registrars. Many website and domain name owners choose their registrar based on price because there are not many ways for registrars to differentiate their offerings from one another.
Free Domain Name
If you searched hard enough, you will come across services that offer free domain names.
This may sound like a good deal but it is a terrible idea to host a restaurant website on a free domain name.
More often than not, free domain name providers will either inject ads into your website or they come with an uncommon extension such as .tk. All these reduce the trust that a visitor has in your website and ultimately, your restaurant.
If you are serious about building a formidable online presence for your restaurant, spending money on a proper domain name is definitely worth it.
A web host is a service that is responsible for storing and serving files as well as databases of your website.
Before the work of building a restaurant website commences, you need to sign up for a web hosting account that is capable of powering your website, reliable and offers great customer service.
For a start, a shared hosting account should be sufficient. To learn more and make a better decision on this, you can read our detailed guide on how to choose the best web hosting service.
Content Management System
A content management system (CMS) is preferred when frequent changes such as updates, new blog posts and custom design elements are among features planned for a website.
Many of us want to update our website with the latest content but we want to spend as little time as possible on the task. As such, selecting an easy-to-use CMS for your website is very important.
If you are computer-illiterate, it is not advisable to take this CMS route. Consider setting up your restaurant website using a website builder instead.
Setting Up a CMS
Depending on your literacy level with codes and programming languages, the time needed to get a CMS up and running on your hosting server may vary. Want to get started with the installation of a CMS? Here are some tips for you.
Use the Installation Guides
A comprehensive guide with step-by-step walkthrough covering the installation and usage of primary features is provided by most CMSs.
Take a quick glance of the guides and you should be able to tell whether you will be able to handle the installation on your own. Apart from this, you can also evaluate how easy it is to use a particular CMS once you have it installed.
You tend to have more flexibility when it comes to updating a CMS to the latest version if you are doing the installation yourself. Besides, you can save some money because there is no need to hire a CMS expert or to sign up with a website builder.
To help customers build their own website, many web hosting companies provide one-click installation for widely used CMSs and website software.
All you need to do is to select your preferred CMS or website software, decide on the name of your website, create a database on your server, and with just one or two clicks, a fully functional website running on the chosen CMS will be created.
It may seem like an easy solution but time is still needed to familiarize yourself with the functions and features, especially those that will be used frequently for maintenance, design and content creation.
The only downside of using a one-click solution for CMS installation is that certain web hosts are very slow in updating the CMSs to the latest version and their customers will not be able to perform the update manually.
For restaurant owners who are not familiar with hosting servers, website software and programming languages, website builders are easy-to-use solutions that allow business owners to set up a website without the technicalities and jargons.
Choosing a Website Builder
Like web hosting and domain name registrars, there are just too many website builders out there. The following are criterias that can guide you in choosing one that best fit your restaurant business.
A major frustration that may arise after signing up with a website builder is to find out that the service is incapable of providing certain website elements that you want to have. There is usually no way to insert custom features onto website builders because of their need to maintain technical stability and the interests of other customers.
Always go through the list of features offered by different services and price plans. From there, try to understand their limitations. Do a simple feature comparison between the services. Find out whether a service is better than the rest in offering a feature that your website really needs.
If the support forums of these website builders are open for public browsing, pay them a visit and look at the section for feature requests. Do these feature requests include a feature that you need most? How responsive is the team in addressing or resolving these requests?
Almost all website builders have a monthly pricing plan that ranges from as low as $5 per month up to $50 per month. Cheaper plans come with certain limitations while the most expensive plan usually gives users every feature there is to offer.
More often than not, restaurant website builders are more expensive than generic website builders because they offer advanced features such as built-in reservation and event management.
Once you have shortlisted a number of services, a simple price comparison will tell which among them is the cheapest.
Before paying for a plan with any website builder, perform a search on the Internet for coupon or voucher codes. Certain website builders offer this to attract new customers and for us, this is a wonderful opportunity to save some money.
Ease of Use
Since you are paying for it, a website builder has to be easy to use. It should not take months to launch a website with it and updating the content should not take more than a week.
The best way to fully experience the user-friendliness of a website builder is to use it yourself. Try building a basic layout of your restaurant website, apply a suitable design template and include all the main features that you need. Is it easy for you? Are the help articles provided sufficient and comprehensive enough to solve problems you encountered?
If possible, maximize the free plan or the free trial before handing over your credit card information to a website builder for billing purposes.
There are a lot of website builders out there but not many of them are reliable. It is frustrating to be part of a website builder that always goes down. Some might even go out of business due to unsustainable business models or practices.
Perform a search for reviews on website builders that you are planning to sign up with. Find out what current and past customers are saying about them. How long have they been in business? Are they still actively supporting their customers? How positive or negative is the press coverage that they receive? Are they financially-backed by well known investors or companies?
All the above are important signals showing whether a website builder is reliable and sustainable for the foreseeable future.
A key part of building a website lies in the design, which is discussed in more detail over here.
Design templates give business owners the ability to have a unique and well-designed website without having to sweat about CSS, HTML and other web design jargons or programming languages.
Not every website builder showcases their templates but those who do are the ones that are proud of what they are offering. Glancing through the gallery of sample templates allows us to quickly gauge to quality of templates provided.
Apart from providing usable, unique and stylishly-designed templates, a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) designing editing interface is also very important. A WYSIWYG interface helps to make quick color or styling changes even if you don’t know any basic programming language.
A gallery of beautiful customer websites is a solid proof that a website builder is good.
Other than seeing the design templates live in action, you can even take the extra step of contacting these websites for their experience with the website builder that they are using.
Generic vs. Restaurant Website Builders
Most website builders out there are inclined towards helping users build multi-functional websites. Setting up a forum, an e-commerce store, a photo or video gallery or a mobile-friendly website is all possible with a generic website builder.
A restaurant website builder, however, comes with additional features that are specifically catered to restaurant businesses. The features include online seat reservations, event management tools, specialized design templates for restaurant websites, coupon generator and menu management tools.
Want to set up and maintain your restaurant website easily? A restaurant website builder is perfect for those who have the budget for it.
Free Website Builders
There are two types of free website builders. First, there are free plans offered by premium or paid website builders. These are heavily limited in terms of features and functionalities. Secondly, there are website builders that are completely free to use but they inject advertisements onto your website.
If you have a tight budget for your website, it is always better to sign up for a free plan which you can then decide whether to upgrade. The decision can be based on how desperate do you need the premium features and how important is the website in bringing new customers to your restaurant.
Do take note that features offered in a free plan may differ from one service to another.
On the other hand, it is best to avoid free website builders that inject text or banner advertisements into their users’ websites.
Any form of advertisement may distract a website visitor from learning more about your restaurant. Some of these advertisements may be inappropriate and they can even cast a negative impression on your restaurant’s brand.
Website Design Elements and Features
Once your CMS or website builder is ready to use, you need to have a basic idea of the design elements that will be applied onto your upcoming restaurant website.
If you are a beginner, start by selecting a web design template that is of the closest match to your restaurant’s brand. If there is a need, you can make slight adjustments to the template such as changing the logo or color of certain sections.
When you are done with the design, invite your family members, friends or business partners over. Show them the design and collect their feedback. You can even ask them to accomplish certain tasks such as making a reservation to ensure that your website’s navigation is intuitive enough.
The following are detailed tips on every website design element and features that you need to deal with:
The structure of a website is usually mapped out in the navigation bar. A well-structured website allows visitors to find what they are searching for without much trouble.
Brainstorm and settle down on how your restaurant website should look like and what are the important elements, pages or features that it will have.
Get your inspiration by browsing through other restaurant websites or business websites. What are the features that make them stand out? Do you enjoy browsing the websites? If yes, why?
Design and Templates
The next step to take once you have a website structure in mind is to pick a suitable website design or a design template.
This may not be as easy as you think, especially if you are not familiar with web design or design in general. Before dipping your toes into the gallery of website design templates provided by your CMS or website builder, have a look at the list of items below. It can be very helpful in getting web design newbies through the selection process.
The number of columns is a key element that set different web design templates apart. Most websites on the Internet spot a two-column design. For your website, however, the number of columns should be dependent on the amount of information that you are going to feature in the sidebar.
The header and footer of a website are up next on the list. The height, width, look and feel of your upcoming website’s header and footer, as well as whether they are text or image-based should all be considered.
The rule of thumb is to always go for the template with a clean layout. A cluttered layout will not help visitors in finding what they are looking for and they will end up leaving your website as a result.
Colors are almost always the most important design element of a website.
For beginners, you should go for a design or a website template with a color that is of the closest resemblance to your restaurant’s logo, brand or ambiance.
Understanding the meaning of different colors to your website visitors places you in a better position in deciding which color to use.
For example, moderate use or blend of warm colors like red, orange or yellow fires up a person’s appetite; Green and brown colors, on the other hand, are often seen as natural, organic and healthy when used by a restaurant. The more prestigious fine dining restaurants may have sparkles of gold in their choice of colors as it usually resembles luxury.
Just like choosing a color for your restaurant, a one-size-fit-all color scheme doesn’t exist for the restaurant website that you are about to build.
People arrive on your website to learn more about your restaurant so website text should help to convey the information clearly.
A website font should be consistent and easy-to-read. Don’t make visitors squint their eyes trying to differentiate between “U”s and “V”s, or “I”s and “J”s.
Ensure that you have adequate spacing between the lines of text. To improve the readability of texts on your website, make sure that they are written in short paragraphs and sentences.
Although they may look cool to you, multiple text colors, blinking text and other unnecessary styling are design elements of the past. Having any of these frustrates site visitors and makes it hard for them to consume the content on your website.
The purpose of a good navigation on a website is to help visitors find the content that they are looking for. For example, the link to your restaurant’s menu should be one click away from the homepage because most website visitors arriving on your website will be looking for it.
Include all the essential pages on your website in the navigation bar and make sure that the labels are self explanatory.
Apart from the navigation bar, it is also a good practice for website text to contain links that lead to relevant sections of your website. For example, a mention of events on the About page should link to the listing of upcoming events at your restaurant.
Today, most consumers are browsing the Internet using mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. In order to keep up with this trend, your website should have a mobile responsive design.
A mobile responsive website design fits itself into any device with different screen sizes.
Here’s a simple illustration. On a laptop or desktop computer, a website may be fully loaded with pixel perfect images, a navigation bar and a sidebar on the right; On a mobile phone, however, the same website may load with smaller images, a shrinked navigation bar and the sidebar is pushed right down to the bottom.
Moreover, to have a faster load time and to provide visitors with a better browsing experience, a mobile responsive design usually takes out website elements that are nonessential to visitors who are browsing on a mobile device.
Mobile responsive design templates should be available with popular CMSs or website builders. If you are hiring a web design agency or a freelance web designer to build your restaurant website, they should be able to make it mobile responsive upon request. Of course, some may ask for extra charges.
Flash vs Non-Flash Website
A Flash website is a website that contains a high proportion of interactive media properties authored and created using a software called Adobe Flash.
Although the usage of these properties is going downhill, there are still a small percentage of design templates out there that are Flash-based.
To identify a Flash-based website, right-click on any animated media property on a website and the context menu that shows up will contain an option labelled “About Adobe Flash Player”. Refer to the illustration below that uses O’Learys Seafood’s Flash-based restaurant website to understand the steps better.
Despite how cool and impressive you may think about Flash-based websites, most Internet users generally dislike the use of Flash because it tends to slow down a website and hurts usability.
Moreover, Flash-based content will not load unless your visitors have the Flash browser plugin installed. On the search engine optimization side of things, although Google is getting better at understanding Flash content with some limitations, most search engines are completely unable to index Flash content.
Unless it is an absolute necessity, you should avoid as many Flash-based elements as you can on your upcoming restaurant website.
Having the following pages is crucial in turning visitors to a restaurant website into customers. The majority of your time and efforts should be spent on them.
The homepage is almost always the top landing page for any website. This is where a website visitor gets his or her first impression about your restaurant.
A great homepage of a restaurant website stays simple and concise in letting visitors know more about your restaurant, why should they care, and how they can learn more about it. The homepage is where you highlight the best attractions of your restaurant.
To entice visitors to continue browsing, consider about featuring the latest images of your best food and the interior of your restaurant. Having a clear set of navigational links will also help visitors find what they are looking for.
If there is a goal to turn website visitors into customers, consider about placing a prominent reservation form with an irresistible offer or discount for patrons who are making their reservations through your website.
About Us Page
The About Us page is where website visitors get to learn more about your restaurant. For you as the owner, this where you get to build trust and rapport with website visitors as they know about the restaurant and yourself better.
The page may include the story behind the founding of your restaurant, short paragraphs about the founders and how the restaurant is different from the rest.
A great way to add authenticity and trust to the story that is told on your About Us page is to use complementary images. Some of these images may include the restaurant’s interior during its founding years and photos of the founders or the management team.
What is a restaurant without a menu?
The main attraction to a restaurant is often the items that are inside the menu. A well-designed Menu page does not only help to turn website visitors into customers. It should also enable them to share any item that is on the menu with their friends and family easily.
Short but descriptive write-ups should be used for every food item on the menu. If possible, signature dishes and the items that you wish to highlight should be complemented with a high quality photo.
An absolute no-no for a Menu page is to require website visitors to download a PDF file. This is too much of a hassle, especially for visitors who are browsing on their mobile devices or those who don’t have a PDF reader installed on their computer.
Other Services Page
Does your restaurant offer a wide variety of services such as events, party planning, food catering or food delivery? If you do, make sure you have a dedicated page for them.
Answer all the questions that a potential customer may have about these services. For example, if you are offering food delivery, a potential customer would want to know about the delivery coverage. If you are providing food catering, he or she may need to know who to contact for a quotation.
Specials or Promotion Pages
Many restaurants have specials and promotions to attract the attention of potential patrons.
Put up a dedicated page for every special and promotional offer on your restaurant website. The pages should clearly highlight the offer together with the benefits for patrons. If there is a special price that they need to pay, state it clearly on the page. Make it exciting!
You can also take these opportunities to turn website visitors who are excited by your offers into leads for your restaurant. Attach a form beside these specials. Visitors will then be able to submit their basic contact details such as email address and phone number in order to redeem or qualify for the offer.
Many restaurants consolidate all their promotional activities and specials onto a single page. This encourages comparison between your offers and most visitors will get confused and leave your website without converting into potential customers.
Photo and Video Gallery
Nothing is a better social proof than a photo or video gallery filled with happy customers dining at your restaurant. Photos taken during events that were held in your restaurant helps to paint a better picture of what can be done.
Keep in mind that this page should not act as a dump for all the photos and videos that you have. Showcase only your best.
Just like promotions and specials, a dedicated page needs to be set up for every upcoming public events happening at your restaurant.
Always attach a brief description of what the event is all about, the agenda, why should your customers be interested in attending, price and of course, a sign up form for the event.
Mentions by the press, food reviews, blogs or other media outlets are great social proofs for a restaurant.
Set up a dedicated page for these mentions. Highlight the positive and impactful blurbs used to describe your restaurant. If possible, have a link back to these mentions to reinforce the trust and credibility that you are trying to instill.
Do you have mentions from traditional media outlets such as newspapers, TV or magazines? Try to digitize a copy of the materials. Turn them into text or an online video for TV mentions. This will allow them to be readable, discoverable and indexable by search engines.
Online Reservation or Contact Us Page
The ultimate purpose of a restaurant website is to acquire customers who are searching for places to dine on the Internet.
With that in mind, every restaurant website should have an Online Reservation and Contact Us page.
Depending on the website software, you may have different options to embed a contact form onto a webpage. Popular CMSs such as WordPress or Joomla have plugins and addons that help users to set up their own contact form.
If you have a little more budget to spend, then you may opt for a robust online restaurant reservation system that comes with features such as seat selection, reminders, wait list management and more.
Apart from all the important pages explained above, a restaurant website is not complete until the following content are in place.
If this is your first website, then feel free to use the following as a checklist.
Every website needs to have text copies that are able to persuade and sell what you are offering.
Identify the biggest attractions at your restaurant and why you stand out among your competitors. Highlight these attractions throughout the website copy.
Stories in a website copy helps to connect visitors with the information that you are trying to convey. They may even encourage visitors to find out more about what you have to offer. Storytelling website copies are frequently used on the About page.
Copywriting is hard, especially for restaurant owners who don’t write very often. You can choose to hire a professional copywriter to help you out or to search for copywriting tips online. 20 Killer Web Copywriting Tips by Christina Walker is a good article to get you started.
Without customers knowing and arriving at your restaurant’s physical location, you will not see an increase in revenue any time soon. Even if you offer food delivery only, having an address on your website shows that you are an actual business and it definitely helps to build the trust that potential customers have in your website.
Additionally, having an address on the homepage and other prominent sections of your website helps search engines to rank your website better for location-specific searches.
Many restaurant patrons, even those who are not that savvy with technology, are starting to rely more on mobile navigation apps to find their way around.
Include the GPS coordinates to your restaurant underneath the address together a location link to popular navigation apps such as Google Maps.
You can get the correct location link for your restaurant on Google Maps with just a few simple steps.
- Visit Google Maps.
- Right-click on the location of your restaurant and select “What’s Here?”
- Once you see a red pin mark appears on the map, click on the “Link” button on top of the left sidebar to get the location link to your restaurant.
- Copy, paste and save the location link somewhere for future reference.
Other than adding trust, having a phone number on your website may help to get reservations from customers who are not familiar or comfortable with online reservation.
Website visitors with questions about what you are offering can have their queries resolved much easily over the phone and your team can even take the opportunity to convert them into customers.
Opening or Business Hours
Do you have different opening or business hours on a different day? Do you take breaks in between lunch and dinner?
Specify them on your website to help customers plan their meals ahead of time. The last thing you want happening is to have an excited and hungry customer realize that you are not open for business upon their arrival.
High Quality Photos and Videos
Food photos do a great job at enticing our taste buds, and together with the photos of a restaurant’s interior, the combination often performs the best in attracting customers to a restaurant.
Shoot high quality photos and videos of your restaurant and menu items. Use them sparingly across the website to complement the website copy. Want to shoot high quality food photos without hiring a professional photographer? Here are some simple food photography tips from Darlene Hildebrandt.
A blog is where you can publish the latest updates about your restaurant easily.
Apart from updating customers, content published onto a restaurant blog, which may include stories of your chefs, event journals or even recipes to some of your menu items can help to establish a personal connection with patrons.
The practice of creating more content for your website through a blog will also increase the number of keywords that your website is indexed for in the search engines.
More often than not, people prefer to dine together with their family, coworkers and friends. Social media sharing buttons allow visitors to share your restaurant website with their connections via email or on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ easily.
ShareThis and AddThis are two popular services that webmasters and website owners usually use to install social media sharing buttons onto their websites. If your restaurant website is built on one of the CMSs that these services support, installing social media sharing buttons is as easy as just installing a plugin.
If you are planning to publish useful content such as dining and food preparation guides consistently, installing sharing buttons alongside these content will help them get a wider exposure as readers who see them as interesting or find them beneficial will be more than willing to share them.
Website Traffic Tracking
Understanding the traffic and visitors to your website is extremely helpful in identifying pages that attracts the most visitors as well as the best source of traffic that brings the most customers.
Google Analytics is a free solution that tracks traffic and visitor activities on a website.
To install it on your website, you need to set up an account with the service. A snippet of code will then be provided and it has to be pasted before the HTML tag on all the pages of your restaurant website.
The default reporting is fairly intuitive. It can provide answers to questions such as where do my visitors come from, what browsers do they use, which page do they visit the most and many more.
You can even set up goals to help identify the best sources of visitors in delivering online reservations.
You may also visit the Google Analytics Solutions Gallery to get solutions such as custom dashboards, custom reports and advanced segments that can be applied to your Google Analytics account. These solutions will provide better insights on the data collected by the service.
Elements for Search Engine Optimization
Major search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo! are often the best source of free relevant traffic for almost every website out there.
In order to rank well for keywords that potential patrons to your restaurant may search for, the following elements have to be incorporated correctly.
If your website is built using a popular CMS like WordPress or Drupal, consider searching for a plugin that creates a simple but usable XML sitemap quickly and easily.
In cases where there is no simple-to-use XML sitemap plugins for your website software or website builder, you can use XML Sitemaps Generator to create a sitemap. The tool is free for websites with 500 pages or less, which is more than sufficient for most restaurant websites.
As a website owner, apart from having unique, descriptive and useful content on our website, we need to make sure that the title and meta description tags for every single page on our website is describing the content adequately.
Titles are texts in between the <title> HTML tags in any HTML document and they should be unique for every page.
On the other hand, a meta description tag is a longer description about a web page. As seen from the screenshot below, it may be used by search engines as a snippet to explain what your web page is all about when it appears in the search results.
Here is an example of a meta description tag:
<meta name="description" content="Best Fine Dining Restaurant is a restaurant in New York City serving the best steaks and wines.">
Instead of being stuffed with keywords, both title and meta description tags should describe your web pages and highlight their best value proposition as compared to your competition. In return, search engine users will be more attracted to click on your website in the search results.
Do take note that it is best to keep title tags within 70 characters and meta description tags within 156 characters. Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool by Darren Slatten is a useful tool that illustrates how your title and meta description tags will look in the search results.
High quality images are frequently used to showcase menu items or interior decorations on restaurant websites. Search engines understand the web by crawling the source code of web pages. Unlike text, it is very hard for search engines to understand what an image is.
Image File Names
Descriptive image file names help search engines understand images on a website. Use names such as ribeye-steak-special.jpg or fish-and-chips.jpg instead of image001.jpg or 72648.jpg for images.
ALT tags are texts that are shown in a browser when an image on your website fails to load. Search engines rely on them to better identify and understand what an image is about. As a website owner, you need to make sure every key image contains an ALT tag.
Here is an example of an HTML code that inserts an image with an ALT tag attached.
<img src="ribeye-steak-special.jpg" alt="Ribeye Steak Special" />
Once your website is up and running, maintain a good user experience by making sure that all website features are working as wished.
Of course, the priority has to be given to mission-critical features such as the contact form or online reservation form. Send a test message or reservation to see whether they are received by your staff.
Run a check on whether any broken links exist using a tool called Online Broken Link Checker. The tool can scan up to 3,000 pages for free.
You should also browse through the main web pages to make sure they are presented correctly on the latest version of popular browsers like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Opera.
Ready to Go Live
Visitors will not stumble across your website unless you put in some efforts to get the word out.
Let your patrons know about your brand new website by showing the web address prominently on your business card, at the entrance or on the menu. Share the URL with your fans and followers too if you already have an established presence on social media.
From there, improve the website by constantly updating it with your restaurant’s latest offerings and events. Remember to update the blog consistently too.
Let Us Know Your Questions
Is the guide above helpful? Did you manage to build a restaurant website using the steps and tips above? What other problems did you encounter while setting up your website?
We try our very best to help our readers by providing a response to their comment in less than 24 hours. Ask us a question or share your feedback with us by leaving a comment below.