Don’t use stock photography, make it mobile friendly and ensure that it’s SEO optimized are just some of the tips for improving your restaurant website.

Think of your website as the front door of your restaurant. It’s the place where prospective customers will look for information about your establishment and then decide if they want to come inside.

For that reason, you’ll want to put your best digital foot forward. Here are seven tips for how to make sure you’ll be found and then make a great first impression on those new customers:

1. Make sure it’s SEO optimized
If you want to be found online, it’s imperative that you learn about SEO, also known as ‘search engine optimization.’

In a nutshell, SEO is a way of organizing your website so that Google can more easily understand what the website is all about. To that end, you should make sure that your website comes with SEO tools. Those tools will permit you to add keywords to your site in ways that the Google spiders will see when they crawl your site. For instance, if you have a restaurant that offers Cajun cuisine in Greenville, N.C., you’ll want to include that information in your SEO keywords.

Restaurants should focus on a concept called ‘local SEO’ to ensure that they are found by people in the area where the restaurant is located. If you’re not familiar with local SEO, check out this introduction from SEOMoz.

2. Don’t use stock photography
Some restaurants decline to photograph their food and that’s a shame. You always want to present unique images on your site that reflect the actual cuisine customers will see when they visit your location. Using stock images means you are displaying the same images as who-know-how-many other websites that are also using that stock photography.

3. Make it mobile friendly
Do you check in your analytics program to see what percentage of traffic to your website is coming from mobile phones? Odds are that you are receiving a lot of traffic from mobile phones because that’s how lots of people who are not familiar with the area learn about food options. This is particularly true for people who are traveling and want to know where they can find a bite to eat.

Not only should the website be mobile friendly but pay particular attention to the menu. In surveys done on consumers, many have noted that the ability to read the menu on their phone influenced their decision to patronize a business.

4. Sell and ship one special item
Is there anything that you can stock and sell through the site? Maybe t-shirts or other souvenirs? How about a cocktail premix or a sauce or other bottled item? If so, the website can help you boost revenues by a small-ish amount (probably a single digit percentage). But, it also can help with your marketing efforts by using the customer information to send promotional emails later. Also, if customers order t-shirts and then wear them around town, that’s free advertising! With any luck, your restaurant POS system can facilitate online sales.

5. Post regular updates
Want to keep customers coming back to your website? Post updates regularly. Write about a new dish, a new staff member or any other news you think customers will find interesting. Bonus tip: after you post the updates, go on social media and announce that you just made an update. That lets people know that there’s new information on the site.

6. Sell gift cards
We talked about selling and shipping physical items on the website but now we’ll talk about selling gift cards. Customers often enjoy the convenience of buying gift cards via a website and then hand them out as presents on special birthdays and holidays. Sometimes, it may even be possible to add them to a digital wallet or send them via email. Check with your gift card provider.

7. Don’t forget to make it handicap accessible
Lastly, make sure your website developer creates the site in a way that make it accessible to visually impaired users. This means organizing the code so that it can be interpreted easily by screen readers. This makes a good impression on the community that needs this type of equipment and give you a more welcoming website where everyone can find the information they need.

Want to know more about how your point of sale system can help you sell more online? Contact us today to get a free demo.