Here is a step-by- step guide to helping you build a website from scratch. This can be done without any technical knowledge whatsoever and you will be able to set up a platform that will ensure that more clients are attracted to your business.
By designing a website that makes you stand out from the crowd and take your restaurant to another level, you can ensure that you are doing what it takes to make more money and attract new customers. This is not greed. Let’s face it – we don’t work for glory – we work to earn a good income and improve our lifestyle.
Previously, you may have overlooked to unlimited power of the internet but now have now realized that it is time to create a website for your restaurant that will boost your visibility and make sure you stand out with the best.
Even if you are not tech-savvy, I can explain to you how to build your own website from scratch. If you have taken a look at my own Restaurant website: the definitive guide, you will already know that I am a great believer in hiring a digital marketing consultant to design it for you.
Since many restaurateurs have asked my advice on how they can build their own site by themselves due to not having the budget for a professional, I have decided to write a restaurant website guide.
I don’t lie, and before you choose to go ahead with your web marketing plan, I must point out that by following the step-by-step guide, you will definitely be able to create your own website from scratch and attract more customers. Do remember though – it will never be as effective as one created by a team of professionals.
This is not to say that you cannot still do a great job and attain a similar result as one designed by experts with knowledge and experience.
Let’s look at how you can build your great restaurant website.
How to create a restaurant website in 7 steps
The following information is the best way to build your site without IT knowledge. Even if you are planning on hiring an advertising agency to set up your online platform, I recommend that you still read this article to be sure you are looking after your investment.
I won’t go into with all the technical jargon but will explain a few basic things. A hosting service allows you to host all your files that comprise a site on a server. The end goal is to make sure your site is visible on the internet for users who want to reach it through this web address.
Do you understand so far?
No! Well, I will try to make things a little simpler. A hosting service is a web space on a server where you store your website. The server is nothing more that a computer that is permanently connected 24 hours a day to the internet and allows all users access to your website via a browser no matter what time of day or night.
In simple terms, the server is a 24 hour connected computer which holds your website and responds to requests sent by other PCs (users who want to access your website). This is a very basic explanation but gives you an understanding of what a server is.
To create your own restaurant website is space on one of these computers/servers. There are many companies around that sell hosting services. Some are good and others less so.
Basically, they should have these three characteristics:
For this reason, I would highly recommend a premium hosting service. Cheap, shared hosting seems attractive due to its low price, but you’ll often be left with a slow site and unnecessary downtime. I use WPBeast which is not only fast and secure, it also has a great user-interface making my site management easy.
2. DOMAIN NAME
What is a domain name? A domain name uniquely identifies a person, company or organization on the internet. The domain name is, in most cases, the address you enter via web browsing to access a website you are looking for.
For example, the domain name chosen by McDonald’s is www.mcdonalds.com.
Similarly, you should follow this example and choose your restaurant name as a domain name. You can use many services to purchase a domain, such as IWantMyName.com.
For example. If your restaurant is based in New York and it’s name is Zuma and www.zuma.com is not available, try one of the following:
Buy a ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) which is a domain with your country code. For example if your restaurant in based in the UK you should by the domain www.zuma.co.uk.
3. EMAIL SECURITY SERVICE
When you first set up a website, you have the chance to create a series of emails from your domain extension, which is very useful. Your employees can start to act with unique identity. So a chef, your manager (if it is not you), your sommelier and so on can communicate directly with the suppliers, customers, and external partners while still representing the business you have created exclusively.
This is a professional and practical approach to market your restaurant. Of course, this is not without an issue. You need to protect each of these emails against threats like spoofing, viruses, phishing and more. You have to secure them against external attack, essentially.
It would surprise you to learn how many employee emails are under a constant attack. To protect them, I would recommend taking a look at the best email security solutions on the market.
To begin, I can tell you what is best and among the most popular, and that’s DuoCircle. This program filters out spam, phishing emails, malware and spoofing in real-time protection protocols. This is just the beginning to the cool things it can do to offer you some peace of mind knowing that a simple mistake of an employee doesn’t turn into a corporate disaster.
You could take a look at a couple of other services to if DuoCircle does not seem like a good fit. While I believe this to be the best solution to protect your email accounts, you can also look into services like Mimecast and Proofpoint.
4. INSTALL WORDPRESS
Well done! You now have an address and space on a server. The next step is to install a CMS.
What’s that you may ask. Don’t worry, I will explain what this strange acronym stands for.
CMS stands for Content Management System. Put simply, WordPress is nothing more than a window which allows you to build and manage your website with no technical knowledge and without spending too much money.
It has a very intuitive graphical interface which is simple to use and with just a few clicks you can create pages, articles and entire sites.
Ok so how do I install it on the webspace that I have just bought on WPBeast? Simply log into WPBeast, go My Websites > Add New Website and you’ll be taken through a set-up process.
Make sure to choose “Fresh Install” and they’ll do the rest for you. You’ll be given an up-to-date installation of WordPress, ready to go.
WordPress really is intuitive and there are thousands of guides out there to help you. However, if you want to familiarize yourself with WordPress and create your own website fast then I recommend this guide for beginners.
Besides being powerful and very well done, WordPress is free! Yes, you heard right. To install and use it you will not pay a penny. This is because it is an OpenSource CMS, developed by a massive community of people.
This community behind WordPress is so important because you can find anything you need free on the net for every single function.
5. GRAPHIC TEMPLATE
Now lets dress it up. It must be consistent and fit the personality of your brand. The website design must convey the real idea of you. It is crucial that you show the right picture to your prospects and there are no false expectations created.
Due to not have the budged to invest in a graphic designer, you need to design the restaurant website by yourself.
You should go to a marketplace where you can find a ready-to-install graphic template that conveys the idea of what your restaurant is all about. Simple right?
There are many marketplaces where you can buy a website theme. I suggest themeforest.net. Click on WordPress and use the search bar to find your ideal template. For example, you may refine the options by using the keyword “restaurant” to see the many themes tailored to this kind of concept.
Learn how to install WordPress themes.
The price ranges from $19 to $59. Purchase the one that you like by following the instructions and download it to your computer.
The logo is you restaurant ID. It represents your identity and makes you recognizable. The logo is a communication tool through which a company differentiates it’s product from other similar brands. This is done through the use of letters, symbols and images to transfer tangible and intangible values of the product itself.
I suggest that you read our guide to Restaurant logo design.
7. ESSENTIAL WORDPRESS SETTINGS FOR BEGINNERS
Here is how you set up WordPress after installation. Some of these are not so important but others can be decisive for the future of your website. Go to “Settings” and you will find the following 6 options: General, writing, reading, discussion, media and permalinks.
Let’s look at how to set them individually.
General: Here you enter the site title and the Tagline (a brief description of what your site is about). In this section you can change the language of your site and the time and time zone which is important if you are going to schedule your posts.
Writing: here you can select a default category for the posts. I recommend that you leave it as “uncategorized” and then manually assign categories before publishing your post.
Reading: In this section you choose if you want the homepage of your blog to contain a static page or a list of recent articles-you can also choose the maximum number of items to be displayed.
Finally, make sure that the option “Discourage search engines from indexing this site” is not activated otherwise Google will not be able to see and rank your website.
Discussion: There are a lot of settings you can change in the discussion section. Here you can choose how to moderate any comments from your customers.
Media: This section is dedicated to everything that has to do with the pictures you have on your blog. The basic settings that are already set are fine.
Permalink: Although this is in the final section, assigning the right permalink to your website is the first thing that you need to do. This is because the basic settings on WordPress provides a URL not optimized from SEO perspective, and if you change them after launching your site you will find yourself with hundreds of errors that need to be fixed.
By default, URL’s are of the type: yourdomain.com/?p=123 and this is the worst thing for organic positioning.
Have a look at the article Restaurant SEO to learn how to optimize your website to rank higher on Google.
There are several predefined structures to choose from, for you the ideal one is “Post name”. If you choose this option, the permalinks will look like this: yourdomain.com/post-name.
A WordPress Plugin is a piece of software that is added to WordPress to modify or extend the functionality. The purpose of a plugin is to enable users to perform operations that the basic version of WordPress do not make available.
The installation is easy. Go to the WordPress dashboard and click on Plugins>Add New and use the search bar to find the plugin that you are looking for and then click on “Install Now”.
If you need more help to install a WordPress plugin, watch the following video. Basically you need the following 5 plugins to make your website effective and secure.
Wp rocket. This will allow you to improve the performance of your site by reducing up to 50% of the load time. A site that loads faster has a lower bounce rate (visitors who navigate away from your site after only viewing one page) ensuring that users will stay on your page for longer.
SEO By Yoast. To get your website ranked higher on search engines, it should be optimized. This plugin helps you to improve your search engine ranking on Google and boosts your visibility on the net.
Easy Social Share Buttons. It is the best social sharing plugin for WordPress. It makes the content of your site easily shareable. For example, if you have your menu on your site, this plugin will make it possible to be shared across all social media networks with just one click. According to research by searchenginepeople.com, social sharing buttons increase click through rates by 55%.
Wp Defence. Protecting WordPress (and every site in general) is crucial in preventing damage. It is something that everyone should do as something unexpected could happen at any given moment, things such as server failure and external attacks and WordPress is more sensitive compare to classic sites in html.
Cookie notice. Cookies are lines of text contained in a small file and sent by a website we browser. They are nothing more than information that we leave during internet connections. According to the law, site owners are required to get consent from users to store this information. Through the Cookie notice plugin, you regulate your website by automatically information visitors that you are storing their information.
Now you have built the foundation of your website. The next step is to put together words and images that will attract customers to your restaurant.
Welcome to the most difficult part of the job: developing a content marketing plan for your website. Building an effective website for your restaurant and making it attractive is not only about IT.
You can hire the best computer engineer in the world, but if he doesn’t know how to use the words, colors and images to convince people to come your restaurant the you are wasting your money.
I recommend that a look at this article to gain knowledge and understanding about how to write effectively for the web.
Let’s begin with the pages that your website needs.
What Pages Does a Restaurant Website Need?
You need 5 pages. Home, Menu, About, Photos, Online Ordering and Contacts.
This is where you make that all important first impression. You should be sure to include the most important information about your restaurant on the home page-things such as the latest news and upcoming events.
The first thing that prospective customers do on your website is to look for your menu. You don’t have a choice here: a properly designed menu should be on your restaurant website. You may want to embed a downloadable pdf menu.
Describe your restaurant and the story behind it. Put your full name as well as the chefs. This not only ranks you on Google for names but gives the restaurant a “human feel”.
Whet your future customers appetite with pictures of your food. This is one of the most important things on your site. Food pictures should be properly shot as a good picture can have customers lining up at your restaurant.
We are living in the digital era. If you provide a delivery service then you must have an online ordering system integrated into your website. This will increase your sales.
Besides the footer (the area at the bottom of a web page), you need to create a page with all your contact details including address and a Google map.
The first time a person comes to your site it is highly unlike that they will make an online order or visit your restaurant. For this reason along, it is important to focus your energies on trying to acquire the contact details of that person and cultivate a relationship through email marketing.
INSTALL GOOLE ANALITYCS AND WEBMASTER TOOLS IN WORDPRESS
Google Analytics is a free service that Google offers it users to monitor their website. Analytics is a dashboard that shows statistics and data relating to visitors. Data are organized into charts and tables to be as clear as possible.
For example, you will be able to see:
- Which location the visits come from
- How they arrived at your site
- What device they used
- How many pages they visited
- Which browser and operating system they used
- How long they spent reading your articles
- Their age and gender
- And much more…
Through Google Analytics you will be able to monitor the access to your site in real time! This means that you can see how many visitors are currently online and they are doing.
Read this guide to install Google Analytics on WordPress.
Google Webmaster Tools is completely free and not difficult to use. The goal of this tool is to make sure that your site is properly indexed on the search engine.
The Google Webmaster Tools goes hand in hand with SEO activities and if your site is a dynamic site-meaning it updates frequently-the use of Google Webmaster Tools is indispensable. Being a tool developed by Google, we can assume that it knows how the Google search algorithm works and is therefore able to give us the most appropriate advice to improve our website in this regard.
Read this guide to learn how to add your restaurant WordPress site to Google Webmaster Tools.
Optimize your Website for SEO
WHAT IS SEO?
It means search engine optimization and improves the properties of a website so that it intercepts and fulfills the needs of the niche users during the research phase.
To put it very simply, SEO has the ability to make a website rank high on search engines particularly the most important among them-Google. Did you know that to be on the front page of Google, the main keyword of your niche is essential.
You can do this in two ways.
The first is to create high-quality content.
The second is by leveraging search engine optimization. Creating a website and then ignoring any SEO activity would be akin to buying a car and keeping it locked in a garage. What would be the purpose of creating a website with all the bells and whistles if users are unable to find it through search engines?
Here is a video that explains through images what search engine optimization is and why it matters so much to web sites. I recommend that you read SEO For Dummies to learn more about how to boost your visibility on the net.
Et voila, your restaurant website should now be ready to get customers knocking at your door. If you find yourself facing any problems with building your website, use the comment box below and I gladly help you.