By Adam Roseland, Appetizing sites
Thousands of restaurant websites are in existence today, so it's not easy to be seen by customers in searches and other online channels. But with the new online marketing platforms that are readily available nowadays, restaurant owners can do a few things to make their website more visible to millions of local customers and tourists.
As Internet marketing and Web design technology advance, changes happen very quickly. Today, a restaurant owner's biggest challenge is adapting to these changes to keep up with the new trends, especially when it comes to making it convenient for customers and prospects to find your business on Web searches using their mobile devices. While observing the new trends in local business and restaurant website design and development, we noticed some creative ways that immensely helped successful websites put their business right in front of their customers. The following are seven of our picks that can have an immediate impact.
1. Making phone numbers clickable
In this mobile age, if there's one small, yet effective, fix that websites can have for their mobile audience it would be to make phone numbers clickable. Making your restaurant's phone number clickable is the most convenient way for customers to contact you and reach you via smart phones and other mobile devices.
This quick fix saves the time and frustration of having to copy or type in your number each time a visitor wants to contact you. Your mobile visitors will thank you for offering this convenience. Placing this contact information prominently on each page of your website is not only crucial to convert visits into sales, but it also helps improve its search ranking. If you don't have a mobile website yet, it is necessary to filter your code for mobile devices first to make this fix work. If you're not familiar with this, be sure to seek the help of professional website developers.
2. Getting listed on Google places for business and other local business listings
One way restaurants and local businesses get found on the Web is by inclusion in online directories. Adding your business to their listings allows you to include vital business information and personalize them by adding your establishment's photo and including hours of operation. The days when people go to the yellow pages to find local businesses have virtually disappeared. Today, people search on the Internet to find trusted businesses and recommendations for products and services. It definitely makes sense to take advantage of this trend.
3. Putting the business on Google Maps
Putting your business on Google Maps makes you visible in map-based searches. We know that Google Maps is the first thing that comes to mind when people search for and calculate distances of locations. Their map also shows driving directions.
4. Adding driving directions
If you think that your business address and zip code displayed prominently on your website is enough, it's actually even better if it is available with driving directions from Google Maps. Simply because it enables your customers to determine your exact location and calculate your distance from where they are. Take note that adding this feature to your website will make it easier for customers to find you in location-based searches.
5. Getting listed on review sites
Yelp, Citysearch, Tripadvisor and Yellow pages are some of the popular review and directory sites that come with social networking features. This means they allow users to interact through comments and ratings. Their social networking feature enables customers to give reviews about the food and service as well as their overall dining experience in a particular establishment. These sites offer great opportunities to promote a dining place not only to local customers but to the tourists who will be travelling to your place.
6. Making the most of your social media presence
Social media is one of today's growing platforms where businesses build social relationships with customers, prospects and fans. Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube are among the most popular social networking platforms that enable you to share the story of your business, coming events and your restaurant's services including your latest offers. Since these sites have the most number of users, making the most of your presence by posting and sharing your current menu as well as your best-sellers with their millions of users is definitely worth the time and effort.
The best thing about these social media channels is that they always offer innovative ways for businesses to interact and listen to customers' feedback and concerns. In other words, it is the perfect medium for engaging customers and your online audience. Make sure your website integrates with these social networking platforms.
7. Food photo sharing
One of the best ways for a restaurant website to show up on image-based searches is by sharing food photos or pictures of special recipes on food photography submission sites. Kitchenartistry.com, dessertstalking.com, chowstalker.com, dessertstalker.com, dishfolio.com - these are just a few of the hundreds of food photography websites that are waiting for spectacular photos of your food specialties. This technique is definitely another way of enticing customers to visit your restaurant.
All of these creative fixes can potentially help local business websites, such as your restaurant website, convert visits into sales. But despite the many new ways that have emerged in online marketing, one thing remains the same - whatever type of business you have, having a well-designed website that easily adapts to the changing marketing and web design trends is a must to get to your goal. So, implement these basic fixes on your website first and you'll be on your way to making it easy for your prospects to find you each time they surf the web.
Can't wait to implement these easy fixes but not sure how to do them? Contact AppetizingSites.com, we can help get them done for you.
Adam Roseland is a blogger, podcaster and entrepreneur who owns a restaurant marketing firm called Appetizing Sites.