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Your bar is more than a watering hole – it's a space for the community to gather, celebrate, and escape from the pressures of a fast-paced modern lifestyle. Bring the comfort and ambiance of your bar to the digital sphere with a professional website.
A restaurant website can do lots more than provide info about your bar to customers – it acts as an extension of your brand and is a valuable asset in your marketing toolkit. Make your bar accessible online to retain loyal customers and gain exposure.
Your website is the virtual front door of your restaurant, and you want to make a good first impression. Here's what you need to know about managing your website.
Goals for your Bar’s Website Design
Start pinpointing the solutions your website could provide for guests. The first step is asking yourself why you want a website for your bar and establishing some clear, actionable goals you can work towards.
Why You Should Build a Bar Website
The digital universe offers powerful marketing tools but utilizing them can seem daunting – you’re a savvy businessperson and an expert mixologist, but designing, hosting, and maintaining a website requires new technical skills and lots of time, right?
Not always. It’s easier than ever to invest in a business website that becomes an asset to your bar without being a burden. Take the guesswork and frustration out of the process with a clear plan – luckily you found this guide to help you build one!
Restaurant Website Goals Checklist
You want your website to drive traffic to your business, so evaluate its profit potential by answering the following questions.
What do you want your bar’s website to do?
What is the design of your bar’s website?
How will your website fit into your marketing strategy?
Where will you host your bar’s website?
When should you launch your bar’s website?
Who is going to maintain your bar’s website?
Bar Website Content Strategy
“Content” refers to all the visual information that lives on your food bar’s website, from hours to blog posts to images. Your content strategy is the plan you devise and execute in order to get that info onto your website and/or social media pages.
As you start to imagine your website, consider what information you want it to deliver and what you want your customers to be able to access. Basic info like hours, menus, and specials are a must. But it’s up to you how prominently it’s displayed on your website depending on importance.
Pages and Content
There are a few standard pages for bar websites, and some that are optional depending on your business model:
A homepage that directs users to content
An “about” page with hours, contact information, and important info about operations
Your business’s menus. PDF menus are increasingly popular, accessible easily through a QR code scanner on a smartphone
Ordering forms for carry-out or catering
Special or seasonal information
An online store
Links to affiliated programs, such as a community outreach program or classes open to the public
Often, all of a bar’s information is available on the homepage, with hours, contact information, vital information about operations and a menu listed on the landing page.
This is where the basics of User Experience (UX design) come in handy. Deciding where to put your content and how your customers access information is a crucial part of content strategy.
Voice and Messaging
Content strategy is also focused on maintaining a consistent voice and messaging across all of a company’s communications. As you build a content strategy for your website, think about how content works with the vision, design, and “voice” of your bar. Imbue all of your website’s content with a consistent tone and message for brand consistency.
Content Strategy Research
As your business expands, or if you’re rebuilding a website for a well-established company, you might invest in some content strategy research. Creativity can still be guided by data, and the best content strategy plans involve research using focus groups, surveys, and other methods to inform how you manage and distribute content.
Creating an email marketing strategy for your restaurant can help you build lifelong relationships with your diners. Here’s how to use email for restaurants.
Design your Bar’s Website
UX Research and Functionality
Human-centered design is the current model for UX (or User Experience). It’s a fancy term for ensuring that the greatest possible number of people have access to your content.
When you design your website, make sure it’s functional for users that may have little to no technical experience. It should be intuitive to all users, including those with disabilities.
If you use an online ordering system, consider providing a link on each page of your website. That way, your customer can initiate their ordering process no matter where they are on your site.
Color Scheme and Typography
Color scheme influences how visitors experience your website. Be sure to choose high-contrast fonts that are easy to read on your website’s backgrounds.
The size of website text is another critical design element. Typically, sans serif fonts, those without the “flags” on the ends of letters – are easier to read digitally. Be sure that the text on digital menus is large enough to read on a smartphone screen, where most people will likely access them.
Images make your website more attractive and increase its performance in search engines. Use a high-definition camera to capture snapshots of your bar and menu items, and use them strategically on your website and in digital menus.
Marketing with Your Bar’s Website
Your website is a marketing tool. It lets your customers digitally access information about your business, and hopefully drives foot traffic. But for it to perform those functions, it has to be visible through search engines and social media.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to a set of practices that allows search engines to “read” your content, and increases the chance that your content appears during searches.
This comprehensive SEO for beginners guide from Search Engine Journal will teach you about keyword research, on-page SEO, and technical SEO to ensure your website’s success.
Social Media Strategy
The best websites make their social media links readily available and obvious, prompting users to engage with other streams of content. Ideally, your social media streams will also drive traffic to your websites with links to new and updated content.
Users might not click through, but the accessibility increases the chance that your page will get a hit, that a new customer will engage and, eventually, bring new business.
Hosting and Publishing Your Bar’s Website
Your website’s “host” is the physical computer where the info for your website is stored, and the location where your visitors access that content. While you could theoretically host your own website, it’s simpler and more reliable to use a hosting service like GoDaddy or bluehost. Certain web builders will let you buy a domain name and connect you to hosts as part of their services.
Choosing a URL
Choosing the right URL for your website can be tricky. Many .com addresses are no longer available and it can be risky to choose a newer domain, .online or .live for example. Those domains generally see less traffic. If you can’t get lamplighter.com, try adding the initials of your city or state –lamplighterSLC.com for example.
Web Builder Platforms
Web builder platforms are services that make it easy to design your website, by providing iterative instances of code and intuitive website building software. Choosing the right web builder for your website is important – choose the platform that offers a full range of services. Some companies offer full-service website solutions from design to publication, while others require more legwork.
10 Bold Bar Website Examples:
Related Bar Business Resources
Learn how a better online ordering system can help you grow your restaurant.