Ask Global Wire Associates: Busy Looking Websites

Questions Image Credit: AllThingsDI am in the process of building my own website for my restaurant and I am having problems understanding what I should put on the homepage.  My daughter tells me that so far it looks too busy.  She says that there is too much information on the homepage and it will turn away customers.  I have a lot of pictures and videos about my food.  I need advice on making my website less congested.

– Chen Li, Shanghai, China

All businesses have to strike the balance between having good information and having too much information on their websites.  The first thing you need to think about is what does your target audience need from your website and how you can deliver it to them while generating new leads.  While having a visually appealing website attracts users at first, users stay and come back again for the content.

Most people go to a business website to find a solution to a problem or an answer to a question.  In the case of your restaurant, the most common questions of potential website visitors would be the following:

  1. What are your hours of operation?
  2. How do I get to your restaurant? Is there parking? Is it near public transit?
  3. Can I see your menu? How much does the food cost?
  4. Can I make reservations, have food delivered, or order online?
  5. What is your phone number, email or social media?
  6. Do you have vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free food or other food allergy options?
  7. Do you serve food that is halal, Kosher or other foods that follow specific cultural/religious dietary rules?
  8. Are there any discounts or sales, especially for kids or senior citizens?
  9. What do previous customers think of your restaurant (testimonials)?
  10. Do you serve alcohol?

The answers to the top five questions should definitely be incorporated into your homepage.  The last five questions should be added somewhere on the website, but not necessarily on the homepage depending on your target audience.  For example, if your main target customers are vegetarians or Muslims, then it would make sense to explicitly say that you serve those specialized foods upfront as well.  If you are having a sale, then you definitely want people to see this first on the homepage.

Now that you have ideas for content, this is how to put it all together.  A clean, uncluttered website isn’t largely dependent on the number of words, images and graphics, but rather how the site’s layout is designed.

For instance, instead of writing large paragraphs of text, use bullets, headlines and wider line spacing.  You might want to also experiment with different fonts to give your site variety.  Most users don’t have the time or interest to read a lot of text; they would much rather scan the main points and quickly find the information they need.  This is especially true now that more than half of all web traffic comes from mobile phones and tablets.

The main component of your homepage should be the food you are selling.  You should invest in taking high-quality, professional photos and video of your best dishes and put them front and center on your homepage.  Many people decide quickly if they want to visit your restaurant based on how attractive your food looks!

It might also help to look at your competitors’ websites to get a better idea of what works and doesn’t work, as well as get continued peer review from your daughter and others.  To get a better grip on how to create an effective website with clean design and architecture, you might also want to consider hiring a professional web designer to help you.  For more information on business solutions for your website, contact Global Wire Design.

Have a question? Email us at info(at)globalwireonline(dot)org with “Ask Global Wire Associates” in the subject line.  

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