5 Steps To Updating Your Restaurant Website
It’s a great time for restaurant owners and managers to audit and update their websites.
While you should be updating your website menus on an ongoing basis, or whenever you make menu changes, it’s a great idea to update others areas of your website.
It’s also a good idea to update your website based on what you’ve learned about your business, and also what you’ve heard from customers throughout the year.
If you want to separate yourself from the competition, update your website on a regular basis and keep your content fresh.
In this article, we’re going to highlight five steps to updating your restaurant website.
First, let’s talk about why you should update your website:
- If your website isn’t responsive (mobile-friendly), you absolutely must update your website. Now.
- You’ll want to update colors and fonts if you’ve changed them this year.
- Update with fresh content and images.
- Update your site if your website conversions are low, and your bounce rates are high.
- Update if your customers complain about your site or ask for more.
Step 1: Audit Your Existing Site
Your first step is to take a look at your existing site. Make a list of the improvements you’d like to make. These may be things you’d like to update or things you heard from your customers.
Look at your site as a new visitor would. View it as if you are a new customer walking into your store for the very first time. Do you feel welcomed? Can you find what you need? Is the site fresh and modern? What could use a bit of polish?
You’ll want to look at each page individually. Ask yourself a few questions as you work through each page:
- Is my navigation easy to follow and intuitive?
- Are my photos high quality?
- If I didn’t know anything about my restaurant, does my site answer all my questions?
- Is there a direct call to action on each page?
- Is my content short, to-the-point and descriptive?
- Do I provide my location, hours and phone number up front?
Next, you’ll want to get into the back-end of your site and look at the following items to ensure your site is working well when it comes to search engines and search engine optimization (SEO).
- Page Titles – each page needs a unique page title – if this isn’t so, you’ll want to update this.
- Meta Descriptions – each page also needs a meta description – this is what tells search engines what your page is all about. Again, don’t duplicate these.
- Broken links – check to make sure they all work.
- Ensure that all of your images have alt text. Hover over your images – if there isn’t a description, go back into your back end and add one.
- Check your site speed and performance using Google’s PageSpeed Tool.
You can also use this Site Audit Checklist to make sure you’re auditing everything that needs audited.
Step 2: Invite Your Customers to Weigh-In
Consider asking your most loyal customers what they think about your website. Ask them what works and what doesn’t work.
Then, ask them what they’d like to see. Tell them what you are considering updating, and see how they’ll feel about it.
Once you’ve redesigned your site, make sure to visit with this same group of people to see if your enhancements meet their needs.
Step 3: Back It Up
Before you start the actual work of updating your site, you should properly back it up. There are many ways to do this. You can use a plugin, or you can check with your host and see if a backup service is available.
When you back up your site before updating, you ensure that you have a “back up” of your theme, files and database in case something goes wrong.
You’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by backing up your restaurant website before performing any updates. (tweet this)
Step 4: Refresh and Revise
We recommend taking a look at your analytics. Look at where your customers are going on your website. When updating your site, make sure these pages are the easiest to find.
Consider refreshing your message on these pages. Give your customers something new to look at. Perhaps it’s a revised call to action or a new photo.
Refreshing and revising doesn’t always mean creating something new. For example, you can re-purpose content and rewrite it so it looks new and interesting.
Take a look at your bounce rates and conversions. Updating poor performing pages.
Step 5: Test
Once you’ve updated your site, go back to step one and take an honest look at your site. View it as if you’d never seen it before. Involve others in the process.
You want to make sure everything works properly. This includes your online ordering system if you updated it as well as contact forms and newsletter signup forms.
Lastly, with mobile website usage finally on top of desktop usage, you can’t afford to have a site that isn’t mobile friendly. This is perhaps the single most important update you can make to your restaurant website.
Additionally, you’ll want to follow the best practices of restaurant website design when updating your site. This includes prominently placed location info, menu prices and beautiful photos.
Once you have updated your website, make sure your staff is familiar with the changes. (tweet this) It pays to have staff members who are familiar with your restaurant’s online presence. This is often a huge disconnect for employees. Be sure to provide time to walk through your updated website with your employees.
One final word – remember to update your site often. Refresh your photos, make sure your information is current and correct and find ways to add new content.
One of the easiest ways to do this is with your restaurant website’s blog. You can then share this on social media to increase your website conversions.
Now that you’ve learned five steps to updating your restaurant website, it’s time to get started. If you’d like help, we are here for you.
At Restaurant Engine, we build responsive, mobile-friendly restaurant websites with dynamite online menus. Contact us today for your free website consultation. We are here to help you update your website and stand out in the crowd so you can stay ahead of your competition with your restaurant website.
Images: John and Michael Stern
Leave a Reply