How to Create a Website for Your Restaurant

/ Foodservice Tips, Restaurant Tips / February 11

How to Create a Website for Your Restaurant - User on Website

Learning how to create a website for your restaurant is essential. According to a MGH, Inc. survey, 77% of guests visit a restaurant’s website before eating there, and ⅔ of respondents have been discouraged from eating in a restaurant because of its website.

Although having a site is important, you might feel overwhelmed by the idea of building a website from scratch. With this guide you will learn the process of building, designing, and evaluating your site from the ground up. Once you have a high-quality site, you will be much better prepared to compete in the challenging restaurant industry.

1. Choosing a Domain Name


What is a Domain Name?

The first step in creating a website for your restaurant is selecting a domain name. It’s the .com, .org, or .net address at the top of the screen when you visit a site. For example, if you want to learn more about Parts Town, you can go directly to the company’s website by typing the domain name (partstown.com) into Google.

Think of it as the address for your website on the Internet. Just like a brick-and-mortar restaurant, you need to direct potential customers to a specific address in order to make sales.

Checking Domain Name Availability 

Ideally, your domain name should be thenameofyourrestaurant.com. However, just like in the real world, only one website can exist at any one domain name, so if your preferred domain name is taken, you have to choose another.

Although there are websites dedicated to checking domain availability, most people just check the availability when they go to purchase their domain. Adding the name of your city or using .net instead of .com are good ways to make your domain name unique. 

Buying Your Domain Name

There are many sites where you can buy domain names, some of the more popular ones being Namecheap.com and Bluehost.com. Some like NameCheap.com focus just on domain names, while others like Bluehost.com also provide other services like hosting for websites (more on that later). 

Although some are a bit cheaper than others, a domain name for an independent restaurant’s website should not cost more than a few dollars per month.

2. Hosting your Website

If your domain name is the address, think of the hosting as the location. In order to use a location, you have to rent it, so think of hosting as “paying rent” on the Internet. 

Bluehost.com and HostGator.com provide hosting for about $5-$10 per month. In fact, these companies offer both hosting and domains. You do not have to buy your domain name and hosting from the same company, but doing so makes life easier. 

3. Designing your Restaurant Website 


Making a Website with a WordPress Template

Once you find a location, it’s time to start building. Although there are many website builders, WordPress is the most common. If you use a WordPress template, known as a theme, you can make a website easily without knowing how to code.

Simply upload the website template and add content like photos and articles. You can also install WordPress add-ons known as plugins to add things such as an email capture, social media links, and an online ordering system. 

Thankfully, creating a website with a WordPress template isn’t expensive. Many themes are free, and premium themes only go up to about $200. If you are willing to do a bit of work, you can make your website almost for free.

Other Restaurant Website Builders: Wix and Squarespace

Besides WordPress, Wix and Squarespace are also popular website builders. These drag-and-drop site builders are more user-friendly than WordPress, and since they are not self-hosted, you can skip the first few steps in the website creation process.

However, many marketers have noticed that Wix and Squarespace sites tend to not rank as highly on Google. If you want a top-notch site that ranks well in Google search, WordPress is probably still the best option.

How to Create a Website for Your Restaurant - Man and Woman on Computer

Hiring someone to build your website allows you to focus on other things.


How Much Does It Cost to Hire Someone to Make a Website?

If you’d rather hire someone, be prepared to pay for it. According to WPBeginner.com, a simple, custom site costs $1,500-$5,000, while a site with a fancy design and many plugins may cost $6,000-$10,000.

These numbers are on top of the domain and hosting, as well as any paid content for the website. Hiring someone to make a website and add content isn’t cheap, but as mentioned at the beginning of this article, it will be worth it in the long run.

Optimizing Your Website to be Mobile-Friendly

Even if you design your site on a desktop, most users are going to view it on a smartphone. In fact, over ⅔ of Internet traffic is on mobile devices, and a Pew Research Center study found that 15% of US adults are “smartphone-only” Internet users. 

Considering this, designing a mobile-friendly website that looks good on a small screen, loads quickly and has clear navigation should be a top priority.

How to Create a Website for Your Restaurant - User Ordering Food from Phone

Most web visits are mobile, so designing a mobile-friendly site is crucial.


4. Creating Content for Your Restaurant’s Website

After you finish designing the website’s layout, it’s time to add content.

Good content ideas for a restaurant website are things like:


  • An “About Us” section – Tell your story. Customers love getting to know the face–and the story–behind a business.

  • Menu – Detailed, mouthwatering descriptions of the menu items can entice customers to order from you.

  • Blog – Tell loyal customers what’s new with your restaurant.

  • Photos of popular dishes – High-quality, stomach-rumbling photos make people want to try your food ASAP.

  • Photos of the interior and exterior of the restaurant – Let people get to know you before they do business with you: they will feel a lot more comfortable.

  • Online ordering system – Uber Eats and DoorDash keep customer information and charge service fees, so it’s good to have an in-house delivery system and not let middlemen control delivery.

  • Contact information with map Be sure to include your restaurant’s name, address and phone number so that people can find you and ask for information.

  • Reviews – Positive feedback from others is reassuring to potential customers.

  • Links to social media – If people can find your official accounts easily, they will be much more likely to follow you.

If you are not sure what to add to your website, remember that the people using your website are your customers. What would they like to see? What would they need before deciding whether or not to place an order? If you keep that in mind, both people–and Google–will love your site.

Should I Hire a Content Creator?

Rich, detailed content is critical for your site. However, if you are not good at taking photos or writing copy, you may want to consider hiring someone to create content for your website.

If people find your site interesting, chances are that Google will as well, giving your website a boost when potential customers search for relevant keywords. Content is important, so spending a couple hundred or thousand dollars on high-quality content will pay dividends down the road.

5. Evaluating Your Website’s Performance Over Time

Knowing metrics such as which items are your best-sellers and what time of day is busiest is important for any restaurant. Similarly, there are several KPIs that help you evaluate how well your site is doing:


  • Number of visitors – The number of individuals who visit your site.

  • Number of pageviews – The total number of times a page loads. For example, if someone reads your “About Us” section and then the “Menu” page, that counts as two pageviews.

  • Bounce rate – The percentage of visitors who only visit one page and then leave.

  • Time on page – The amount of time people spend on a given page.

  • Keywords – Words that people type into Google to find your site.

  • Rankings over time – Is your site now on the second page of Google when it used to be on the first page? What happened?

Metrics such as these can be tracked in free programs such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console. All restaurateurs need to know how their business is changing over time, so familiarizing yourself with website analytics should be a priority.

Summary 

There is no doubt that learning how to create a website for your restaurant or cafe is very important. About ¾ of potential customers visit a restaurant’s website, so having a good website with valuable information is essential. 

Although the idea of making a website from scratch is a bit daunting, following this step-by-step guide makes the process much more manageable. Once your new website is up and running, you will be better able to satisfy customer needs and compete in the restaurant industry.


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