Business and Operations
Designing a pizzeria website: Making Dough with Diane
How to design and build your website
By Diane Chiasson
Designing a new website for a small pizzeria can be overwhelming. You might be wondering what to include on yours.
There are many elements to designing a beautiful, professional and secure website, and one of them is to make sure that your website is customer-friendly. Make sure you use easy-to-understand and logical names for the various pages (navigational buttons) of your website. Above all, make sure it matches the look and feel of your overall brand. Your domain name (URL) should include just your pizzeria business name; don’t make it complicated, keep it simple. I always recommend the .com domain to my clients as customers usually type that extension when they enter a web address. I also recommend avoiding dashes and numbers, which may confuse your customers.
Don’t mess around with hosting, but it is imperative that you have a secure, trustworthy hosting company, especially if you accept online credit card payments. Having your online information hijacked would be your worst nightmare and could potentially cost you customers. Here is a list of important information that should be included on your website.
Build and design a mobile-friendly website
Mobile is changing the world. Restaurants are the single most popular search on the mobile web. Over 80 per cent of mobile phone users and tablet owners use their devices to search for local restaurant information. Since most consumers today own multiple devices for accessing the internet, it is difficult to predict which device they will be using to visit your website. Your website should be readable on any handheld device. Having a mobile-friendly website isn’t just good practice – it’s a prerequisite.
A few years ago, mobile overtook desktop as the primary device for people searching the net. This is the first time in history, that mobile has exceeded desktop internet use. Today, everyone has a smartphone and they are constantly looking for information. Designing for the web then meant designing for a computer, now your pizzeria needs to build a mobile-responsive as well as a website optimized for any device with an internet connection, that is, smartphones, tablets and laptops. Don’t forget that Google is giving preference to websites that are responsive or mobile-friendly.
Essential elements of a good website
Homepage (first page) – Your website is your first impression on a customer. This is the page most of your customers and potential customers will see first. You should have a highly esthetically pleasing, concise and short-to-the-point homepage. Don’t make it content-heavy as less than 30 per cent of visitors actually read homepage content. Make sure your content is original and well written. This is your “pitch sales” page: it should give a brief overview of who you are and what you do, a brief description of your pizza, other food products and services, and a summary of visitors can find on your site.
About us – This is a very important page. Your community wants to know who you are, why they should buy your pizza and services and/or simply trust your pizzeria. Your potential customers may want to learn a bit more about you and also something about the employees who are behind your company. Give your site a personal touch by always including fresh content, your profile and background, and also a profile and a picture of every staff member who works at your pizzeria. Tell them how you got started, how long you have been making pizza, and what your favourite pizza toppings are. Your customers will connect best with you when they can relate to your story. Break things down into short paragraphs, use bullet points, and highlight important words or phrases.
Menu / food products / services – It’s no surprise that a site like Pinterest is so successful. Consumers can quickly scroll through hundreds of beautiful food photos. Through great images, visitors to your site should be able to figure out right away what your pizzeria does. If you can afford it, use a professional photographer or take an online video course on how to take excellent food photos. Pictures coming from the latest iPhones are pretty amazing. This is where you want to show off your pizza, toppings, salads, desserts, drinks, etc. You need to post your menu with some high-quality photos of your pizza and toppings, including short descriptions in order to delight and tantalize potential clients. In the end, simplicity, basic colours and elegance are your best bet. A tip: When making your pictures, save them as the lowest size possible. Save them as “web” sized but at the highest quality you can. Your website will load a lot faster and you will have happy customers.
Customer testimonials / product reviews – Show off your customer testimonials. Honest words from other customers will make your pizzeria products or services more tangible to potential customers who are visiting you online. Always include positive comments from your current customers. These testimonials will help show you are trustworthy, reliable and offer some great food and services. Where possible, include a sentence or two, accompanied by photos and the name of the customer. This will add authenticity to each testimonial. Just remember that people love to hear stores from real people.
Contact us – You wouldn’t want to lose a potential customer to a competitor just because you made it difficult for them to get in touch with you. You should let your customers know exactly how to reach you. Include contact details in as many places as possible. Make it easy for your customers to contact you. Highlight your complete physical mailing address, including postal code and city. You should also include your phone number, email address, website address, any social media profile links such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., and your pizzeria business hours and directions.
Keep in mind that your website is your first impression on a customer. Making it mobile-friendly and paying attention to all of its elements will help customers find and interact with you online.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping food service, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years by providing innovative and revenue-increasing food service and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com