Now you have a decent website representing your brand, a complete menu, and some information on the business to help consumers find it and contact you. How do you get from this point to top performance? Let’s start with something so important that it should be on the basic list, but it does require extra effort and patience — that is, SEO.
A website without good SEO implementation is like a car without wheels — it will just sit there. I’m surprised every day by businesses from all walks that miss this. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is an intentional process that optimizes the content on your site so Google (and other search engines) can find it.
Part science and part art, SEO is implemented over time. In theory, it never ends. Google is ever-changing and you will be forever be competing for customers and better search ranking. It is possible to short-circuit organic search and pay for ads online to get immediate visibility. Paid search is a viable part on online advertising and not all bad, but will never return the benefits of a good SEO strategy over the long haul.
Second, somewhat related to SEO is content. You may have put up your billboard (your website) that statically represents your business — visual media, menu, who you are, where you are, and what you’re about. But, people expect to see signs of life on your website. Everyone has heard of a blog so I won’t explain. The point is, creating ongoing content related to your business — stories, anecdotes, recipes, event recaps, whatever — will give your website the life it needs to keep your customers and the search engines happy. I can hear you now saying, “I barely have enough hours in the week to run my business. How do you expect me to write regular content?” Heard it a thousand times. It doesn’t have to be literature. Maybe you have an employee who is passionate about writing. I can even help you with content as part of our ongoing support. It’s not debatable as to whether you need it. It’s a matter of, will you go the extra mile to get maximum return from your online presence?
Last, websites are not one-and-done appliances. You should think of your website as the window into the soul of your business because people are much more likely to visit you there to try and glean something about you before they walk through the door. It’s been proven that if they don’t like what they find — an acceptable standard — they’ll just move on. If they find you and can’t access the site effectively on a mobile device, they’ll move on. And, if they can’t find you at all, guess what? No explanation needed.
There are many other ways to achieve greatness online. Whether you integrate a reservation backend like OpenTable, or tightly integrate your social media sites with your website, or broadcasting live events right on the site, the sky is the limit.