Elements of an effective website: Giorgio’s corner

Giorgio Taverniti
May 08, 2018
By Giorgio Taverniti
Websites, Instagram and Facebook are often the first place people look for a business or service, and this is especially true in the case of restaurants. It’s important to invest the time and money needed to make your website the best it can be.
After all, it is the first point of contact and it could be the last if not done properly.

Instagram and Facebook accounts can be colourful, creative and also have a touch of your personality without having a systematic plan for layout and appearance: you are using the platform’s template and don’t need to create your own.

Websites, however, need to be well thought out. What information do you want to share and how will you present it?

MAKE IT MOBILE-FRIENDLY
First, let’s talk about mobile compatibility. It’s 2018, folks, and it’s a mobile world. Instagram, UberEats and all our other favourite apps have one thing in common: they are mobile-friendly. Most people use their mobile devices every day.

It’s so important to take that next step and make your site mobile-friendly by getting help from an expert. When people search on their phone and come across a site that doesn’t display properly on their smartphone, they generally become frustrated and give up. It leaves them unimpressed and kills their excitement for this new place.

Problems with content and structure can stop that potential customer from even bothering to give you a try.

We need to make life easy and quick for people. Anything that takes too long is on the chopping block because it means you’re losing a potential customer without even knowing it due to a problem that may have a simple fix. Investing the time and money in making your site mobile-friendly will allow for easier navigation and less frustration for new customers who don’t know how great your spot is.

MAKE IT READABLE
Font and layout play a big role in any website. We all like to be unique and stand out, but let’s be honest: people still need to be able to read the words on a site. A poorly chosen font or colour can make your site look amateur from the get-go. I suggest using something that is clean, fresh and legible. Try not to focus on choosing a fancy or unique font; instead, stick to the basics and be sensible. If possible, try to match your website font to your current menu font. This will give your site the same feel and be a true reflection of the business.

INCLUDE KEY ELEMENTS
An effective website should be broken down into natural categories. A brief biography or “About us” page is always nice to have as it gives a little insight to your business. There should be a prominent menu tab with separate categories for items and all of their modifications. There must be a contact section with all elementary business information such as phone number, business hours and address.

Sounds simple enough, right? However, it is surprising how many websites lack some of the basics. Once you have determined everything you need, you can add one or two extra sections: perhaps charitable events the business is involved in or what’s coming soon. These can be anything you feel will put you in a positive light. It’s also important to put all social media and delivery app icons (and links) you may use on the site. People do look for these markers and it is yet another way to keep customers engaged.

POST PHOTOS
Pictures, pictures, pictures! Everyone wants to see a place before they decide to dine there for the first time. The right pictures can entice people instantly. When choosing which pictures to post, remember you’re not scrapbooking, so try not to get carried away. Choose pictures that are relevant: photos of your bestsellers, or have-to-try items and a few of your pizzeria exterior and interior will be enough to entice potential customers.

The quality of the images is important. There is nothing worse than a customer being turned off by a dimly lit picture of food that looks unappetizing. Use a good-quality camera to ensure you are getting appealing pictures. If your budget allows, spring for a photographer.

Sticking with the basics and top sellers will ensure that the pictures do not need to be updated every couple of months.

Ultimately, remember that your website should be a reflection of your and your business. No two businesses are alike and nor should their websites be! •


Giorgio Taverniti owns Frank’s Pizza House in Toronto, which has been in his family since 1990. A graduate of George Brown College’s culinary management and Italian culinary programs, Giorgio helped found a popular pizza-making workshop at the college and ran it for three years.

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