No matter the industry, a company’s website is often the first impression they get to make with potential customers. The goal is to attract, appeal, and entice people to visit your location, submit an inquiry, or book a service. With that said it’s vital to keep your website updated and easy to navigate to ensure customers and clients know the latest menus, ingredient information, and other company news.
This isn’t just for bars and restaurants; it’s just as important for on-premise and off-premise caterers seeking to market their event services to new clients. A website with a high conversion rate is an invaluable resource for prospecting, so it's time to take it off the back burner and make it a priority as you move forward in your business.
Here are four key areas to start when updating and refining your website for maximum impact.
When someone lands on your website, what is the first thing they see? Is it enough to pique their interest and keep them on your site? The headlines on your homepage should be designed to showcase the value your business provides, while also gently guiding them in the direction of inquiring or making a reservation. If the messaging on your homepage doesn’t encourage visitors to take the next step, your website won’t convert visitors into paying customers.
Promoting food is heavily image-driven, so your photos can be a make-it-or-break-it aspect of your website. Photos that are low-res or in poor lighting aren't going to sell your clients the value your business provides. Start updating your pictures on a seasonal basis, especially if you have a seasonal menu. This helps prevent your website from becoming stale with fresh, new photos regularly. While you're at it, take a look at your imagery through an inclusivity lens — do your website photos represent your ideal customer? Be intentional about including different genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations — this helps form a connection with potential customers and showcases your business as an inclusive space for all.
Since search engines crawl websites for new content, updating your website regularly can help generate more robust SEO results. Aim to produce some type of content to publish on your site weekly. This could be a running blog series, show notes for your latest podcast episode, or a transcript of a YouTube video you created. Whatever it may be, make sure to include keywords that attract your ideal customers. This helps to build brand awareness through SEO, while also showcasing yourself as a helpful expert.
Even the best content and imagery are overshadowed by poor website structure — if a visitor can't find your valuable information, it's as good as missing. Your website needs to make sense, and everything should revolve around your key marketing message: What is your ideal client's problem, and how can you solve it? Everyone is in business to solve a problem, so you need to be specific about the issue you're addressing and tell a story that captures visitors' attention. Stick to that message throughout the visitor's journey on your site to hold their hand from the home page to the about page and to the contact form.
Once all these are in place, you'll start to see more conversions that turn into revenue to increase your bottom line. Outside of publishing weekly content, you just need to keep your website maintained by regularly auditing performance. In addition to updating your photos every quarter, check for broken links, 404 errors, and anything that doesn't seem to load correctly. Visit your site on your mobile phone to ensure everything remains responsive and confirm all of your photos have alt text attached to improve accessibility and boost SEO results.
There's no better time than the present to evaluate what isn't working on your website and finding solutions to fix them. If you're ready to begin, download this checklist and start from the top. It will walk you through the steps of enhancing your website to become a highly-converting platform that supports your business goals.
Aleya Harris, CPCE, an award-winning marketer and former chef and catering company owner, is the Owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency that provides marketing education, strategy, and tools to help wedding, catering, and event professionals get and keep a consistent stream of clients. Aleya is a StoryBrand Certified Guide. She uses that narrative-based framework to develop clear, engaging, and highly converting marketing assets, like websites and social media solutions, for her clients. Aleya is the current Marketing Committee Chair for NACE and a top speaker at conferences and events like Catersource and The Special Event.