A mobile website for restaurants is becoming increasingly important in dining decision-making
Did you know that 30% of all US restaurant searches are done on a mobile phone? Did you also know that 64% of diners that search for restaurants on their smartphones dine within an hour? And with 45% of consumers choosing where to eat with an online dining guide before leaving their home, it’s even more critical for a restaurant’s website to be optimized smartly for all devices, especially mobile.
Just as ambiance and great service are hallmarks to the success of your business, so is your web presence. Creating a usable, useful and desirable online experience that drives diners offline to your door is paramount. Is your website ready for prime time? Here are five tips to consider in opening your digital front of the house for business.
1. Let’s Get Visible
Have you done a web search for the name of your restaurant? Do you show up in search engine results? How are you ranked? When consumers are searching for your business and can’t find you, that’s a missed opportunity for conversion. How do you resolve that? Be sure that the content on your website is html based, making it indexable by search engines. And don’t forget to include relevant keywords and search terms in your content, headlines and in tags. Organic search drives unique visitors, grows page views, and increases brand awareness; leverage it and reap the benefits.
2. Pictures are worth a thousand words
The old adage is true, people are innately visual and respond positively to evocative imagery. To convey the character of your business and entice consumers to experience it for themselves, showcase your photos and videos. A little goes a long way; you don’t want to overwhelm the visitor with too many. Choose your best three to five images wisely and let them speak for themselves. Quality lighting, engaging shots and clear visuals are invaluable to recreating the ambiance of your establishment. Likewise, alluring photos of cuisine and beverages help stimulate the senses, and can be a very persuasive motivator in turning website visitors into actual customers.
3. A “Flash” in the pan
Flash was great when introduced in 1996, but times have changed and so has technology. In the past, cellphone web browsers were rudimentary at best, internet connectivity crawled and desktops were the main devices in which we viewed websites. Fast forward to today where 56% of the US population uses a mobile device to access the internet, and where high speed connectivity is commonplace – we’ve taken our web consumption to-go. Websites now need to be fast, simple and accessible. If your site is built in Flash, you may be seeing a significant bounce rate, as consumers are turning away, unable to see your content. Say no to Flash and say yes to HTML5. Not only is it supported by a majority of devices and browsers, but it also enables an uncomplicated way to update your website on the fly, saving you valuable time.
4. What’s Cookin’?
While it seems like an effortless means of displaying your menu online, formatting your menu into a PDF and posting to your website actually does more harm than good. Viewing PDFs on a mobile device can be a frustrating experience, as users are required to open the file in a separate application, affecting the speed of the device as it renders the file. Instead, PDF menus should be supplemental, for users to view offline or to share. Remember, there’s a heightened sense of urgency to find information quickly on a mobile device. Immediate access to online menus is every bit as important as contact information, hours of operation and photos. It is a key diver in the decision making process as to whether a consumer will opt to go offline and visit an establishment. Use text based menus to create a better end user experience and as an added benefit, take advantage of the SEO equity they garner.
5. Content is King
Relationship building and customer service is just as important to your business’ physical presence as it is to your online presence. Loyalty develops from transparency, engagement and fostering an open and continuous dialog with consumers. That said, creating interesting and timely content to place on your website can be the catalyst to developing that special connection with patrons. Whether you publicize your upcoming events, showcase your employees, feature unique dishes, highlight dining reviews, etc., you want to give visitors a reason to keep coming back and engaging with your brand. And don’t forget to promote your social media channels, it’s great way to not only build a loyal community, but it’s also a valuable means of acquiring feedback and responding directly to your patrons. Consider it your digital comment card.
A mobile website for restaurants is a key driver for business. How are you optimizing your web presence for mobile? Have you tried any of these tips? We’d love to hear about it.
http://mashable.com/2012/05/14/technology-in-restaurants/, Google Internal Data 2011, Mobile Path to Purchase Study, xAd/Telmetrics/Nielsen, October 2012, Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, Summer Tracking Survey Aug. 7–Sept. 6, 2012.