I have been working on my own websites for years. I started with basic html, and even produced several flash websites. I enjoy using my graphic skills, and mending them in a way that is useful for others to see online. Since starting my web design business, one thing has become very apparent. There are restaurant website failures that I see happen time and time again. Here are some of the biggest offenders that you should steer clear from.
This one is self explanatory. The largest business website failure is simply not having a website. Millions of people search daily for products, services, and information. Not having your piece of internet real-estate is a huge failure. It is cheap, dynamic, and can be engaging. If you don’t have a website, get one right away.
Flash websites were really the greatest thing about 5 years ago. They allowed for very interactive sites, that shared content in a way that was exciting, and fun. These sites often had music, whirling graphics, and all sorts of goodies. The problem is three fold.
Flash websites are not viewable on all mobile devices. The websites we produce are viewed on average 25% of the time from a mobile device such as an phone, or tablet. Having a site built on flash would mean losing these customers or readers.
Flash loads very slow. Unlike a traditional website that loads each page as it is requested from the viewer’s browser, flash websites load every page and most details before they can be viewed. That is why they have that progress meter that is displayed before letting you continue. Hopefully the reader will wait for it to stop loading. Then again, they might not.
Search Ranking is Horrible with flash. What good is a website that can’t be found? Search engines have a hard time crawling flash sites for information. This will almost certainly keep your business at the bottom of the search list.
Browsing websites daily, we see many examples of poor content. Putting your best foot forward and making your business look it’s best is very important. Websites with poor content reflect upon the business in a negative manner, and this could cost you new customers. There is even a blog site devoted to restaurant website failures. Here are some of the most important things to avoid.
Poor photography, or no photography. Showing your customer what they are dealing with is very important, and this cannot be one without the proper images. Whenever possible, use a professional camera, with appropriate lighting to display items in all their glory. If it doesn’t look good, why would anyone spend money on it.
Out of date information.Do you have the wrong store hours displayed, or perhaps you have information online that is old and outdated. This reflects poorly on your business, and should be avoided.
You have just gotten to the home page of the business you are searching for, but then you have to scour the site for what it is you need. Poor organization is another doom and gloom scenario for your website. Layout the pages so the most important information is easily accessible. Think about what people are navigating to your site about. Is it to order, maybe it is to see a restaurant’s menu? Make those items readily accessible, and don’t require your customers to jump thru hoops to see it. For example, requiring your customer to download a pdf of your menu is a turn off, why not just display it in text, right there on your site?
Whether you are updating a current site, or working on your business’s first web presence, please, whatever you do, avoid these common mistakes!