Restaurant Marketing Online, #5 – Copywriting, what and where
Every website needs a decent amount of text in addition to the photos, videos, etc. This is where you define who your are, what you do and why customers should visit. If you’re not comfortable doing it, the you can hire a copywriter to take care of it. I suggest writing them yourself first and having a pro polish it up if needed. That way you can make sure to include your personality in the writing. Either way, here are some thoughts to help you along.
You want your text to be straightforward and to the point. Keep the long stories separate from the main pages and include it in blog posts or their own page. This will keep visitors from reading through more than they need to on the site. Above all, keep your audience in mind. Write as if you’re answering questions and speaking directly to someone. This will keep your website more conversational, easy to read and entertaining.
Include your keywords
In our last post we briefly discussed SEO and the importance of keywords. You need to make sure that you include those throughout your pages, all the while keeping it natural sounding.
Keep your list of keywords handy while you write so you can include them as you go along. Most of them will comes naturally- it’s easy to fit in the major words like restaurant, lunch, dinner, etc.
Your main page should include a welcome message that is a short overview of what you’re all about. I like to write this first and use it to frame out the rest of the pages. You’ll want to include a bit of your story, what kind of food you serve, something about your staff and location, and finally a few reasons why people should come in to visit.
In the page be sure to include links to other parts of your site. For instance, when you mention your location on the main page link it to the location/map page of your site. Same goes for menu, staff, etc. The reason for this is that it will help your visitors navigate your site a bit more naturally. As they read and become more interested they can find the pages that share what they are looking for.
This is where you expand on your story a bit. Make sure to share the answers to what, when where, why and how. You want your visitors to have a good understanding of you and your restaurant as well as how you got to where you are. It’s okay, and expected, to take a personal approach to this page as once people get here they are looking for that kind of info.
While it’s important to tell the story you want to keep it succinct. No one will want to read a never ending story so keep it entertaining and interesting, walking your customers through the story of your restaurant.
Your menu and offerings
To me, this is where you can make or break a visit to your site. Your menu is the best representation of your restaurant and usually a huge deciding factor in whether or not someone joins you to dine. There are a few ways to put your menu up on your site and each has it’s ups and downs.
- PDF- PDF stands for Portable Document File. It’s a very common type of file that can be viewed in any modern browser and/or computer. The file itself is “crawled” by search engine so you people can find it when searching for words in your menu. Some say they actually rank better than an HTML (standard) web page. The best reason for using a PDF is that you can usually just host a digital copy of your printed menu and preserve the formatting, font, style, etc. The downside is that they can be slow to load, especially on mobile device.
- Image file- including your menu as an image file will allow you to keep the same look as your printed menu and it will be a bit smaller than the PDF so it will load quicker, even on mobile devices. The text in an image won’t be searchable, but the image itself will be.
- HTML/text- This format will be setup just like any other page on your website. You can include images, etc. but you probably won’t be able to format it to be exactly like your printed version. The search engines will be able to index the page and your visitors will see it in any browser that they use. It will also be the fastest loading out of these options.
As each format has its benefits and drawbacks, why not use them all? Include a link to the HTML version of your menu on the home page for mobile browsers, a PDF version on your main site for regular visitors and an image in a gallery of photos on your website. This way you have good exposure to search, and an easy to view menu for any visitor.
Finding your voice
Keep it the same as real life
Your online presence should simply be an extension of the atmosphere in your restaurant. If there are any buzzwords used in your restaurant, greetings for example, then include them on the site. Keep it friendly and conversational throughout in the same manner that you do face to face. We want visitors to get a good feel for your restaurant as they browse your site and that feeling they have should be carried on when they visit.
Don’t use industry jargon
Remember that the guests of your site aren’t in the restaurant business. This means that they may not understand certain industry specific words. There really aren’t many in our business, but it’s good to keep an eye out for them anyhow.
You will probably see this happen on your menu, if anywhere. If you have people repeatedly asking questions about terms on your menu, then maybe it’s time to change them up a bit.
Get the personality through
Overall, keep it true to you and your business. The professional level, buzzwords, greetings and overall feel should emulate a the interactions you have with customers in your restaurant.
At this point in the series, you will have all the tools needed to get your website laid out. The necessary pages, information and design are all ready to go. If you have any questions at all, you can email me for a quick response.
Our next post will cover user interaction. A few tricks to keep your visitors on your site and moving through the sales funnel, as well as ways to include social sharing and encouraging visitors to get in touch with you.
If you already have a website up and are looking to make some changes then fill out this short form and we will give you a free appraisal of your site along with ideas on improving it. Thanks for following along!