So if you run a bar or restaurant, what are the steps you need to take to launch a finely tuned website that really works?
Choose a platform or outsource the work
The first dilemma you’ll face is whether to build the site yourself using one of several platforms or pay a designer or agency to do all the heavy lifting for you.
The former option is inexpensive and gives you control over all elements, although can leave you with a site that looks a little generic.
The latter is more costly, but lets you conjure up a completely unique site and even allow experts to monitor and maintain it, rather than struggling to cope if downtime occurs unexpectedly. Just be sure to ask the right questions when recruiting a web designer.
Make the site bespoke & appropriately branded
Obviously, your site will need to give key information about your bar or restaurant to customers, but it’s much more than just a repository for your contact details. You also need to see it as a brand-building tool; one which will benefit from being as unique as possible.
Adding professionally snapped photos of your top dishes and drinks, for example, will connect it with your bricks-and-mortar locations. Including your logo, and using consistent colors and fonts, will keep it cohesive and specific to your business.
Get ideas for your website and Instagram content
If you’re struggling to come up with ideas for adding the aforementioned uniqueness to your site, then it’s a good idea to look for inspiration elsewhere.
Platforms like Untappd are ideal for this, whether you want to find useful info and advice on showcasing your menu items on your website, or you’re looking for guidance on what works well for maximizing your impact on social media services like Instagram.
You can also look to rivals for a bit of website inspo, or simply to spot the mistakes that they’re making so that you don’t stumble into them as well.
Test out the interface and make sure it’s intuitive
The worst thing a website can be is difficult to use, so if your site’s interface isn’t up to scratch, you need to nip this in the bud as soon as possible.
It’s a good idea to trial it for usability on as many devices as possible, because you don’t want to only have a website that works well on desktop PCs, only to find that mobile visitors are being alienated.
Provide customers with a few ways to get in touch
If your bar or restaurant has a diverse target audience, then you need to accommodate the different methods by which people might want to make a query, book a table or provide feedback.
Aside from including your telephone number and address, it helps to have a contact form. That way, visitors will be able to email you with any inquiries, and you can get back to them at your convenience.
Feed into the rest of your online presence
We already touched on the likelihood that you’ll have an Instagram account for your hospitality business, and so this needs to not only drive visitors to your website but also be featured on the site itself so that there is plenty of cross-pollination.
You never know where or how customers might find you online, so making each aspect of your presence interlinked is the only viable option.