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Sports bars provide a place for your community to gather, play, and celebrate life’s victories. With a website, you can have a straightforward platform that lets your community know what your sports bar has to offer.
A sports bar website is not only an excellent way to keep regulars updated, but it’s also a strategy to attract new customers who are hungry for hearty fare and good company. A well-built restaurant website will strengthen your marketing approach, helping to fill your bar to the brim with hungry fans for all your big game watch parties.
Building a website might look like a lot of work, but don’t worry - this guide will help you create a sports bar website that entices visitors and keeps regulars coming back for more rounds.
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 Sports Bar’s Website
Your website is the center of information, for new customers and regulars alike. It provides information, lets customers create online orders, and, ultimately, convinces new customers to give your place a try. To make sure your website achieves all of this, you need to establish clear goals for your site.
Why you should Build a Sports Bar Website
The digital universe offers powerful marketing tools but leveraging them may seem overwhelming. You may be an expert bartender or a savvy businessperson, but designing, hosting, and maintaining a website? That could feel far beyond your skillset.
Not exactly. It’s now easier than ever to invest in a website that becomes an asset to your sports bar without being a burden on your time or energy. Let’s take the guesswork and frustration out of the process with a clear website plan. Fortunately, you found this guide to help you build a website that will progress your sports bar’s success!
Restaurant Website Goals Checklist
The main goal of your website is to drive traffic to your business. To start your design process on the right foot, you need to evaluate your website’s profit potential by answering the following questions.
- What do you want your sports bar’s website to do?
- What is the design of your sports bar’s website?
- How will your website fit into your marketing strategy?
- Where will you host your sports bar’s website?
- When should you launch your sports ar’s website?
- Who is going to maintain your sports bar’s website?
Sports Bar Website Content Strategy
“Content” refers to all the textual and visual information that lives on your sports bar’s website. This can be images of your bar, contact information, or menus. Essentially, your overall content strategy is the plan you devise to get all of this information onto your website in a way that resonates with new and regular customers.
As you start to imagine your website, consider what information you want it to deliver. Basic information like hours, menus, and specials are a must. However, it’s up to you how this kind of information is displayed on your website. This will be part of your content strategy.
Pages and Content
There are a few standard pages for sports 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)
- Carry-out and/or catering order forms
- Special or seasonal information
- An online store
- A blog
Deciding where to put all of this content and how your customers access it is a crucial part of content strategy. Sometimes, bars will choose to place all of their core information on the homepage, so that visitors find it instantly. This content strategy is very effective, but where you place website info still depends on your business and what you offer. This is where the basics of User Experience (UX design) will come in handy - something we will discuss in more detail shortly.
Voice and Messaging
A key part of every content strategy is maintaining a consistent voice and messaging across all of a business’ communications. As you build a content strategy for your website, think about how content works with your vision, design, and “voice” of your sports bar. The goal is to have uniform messaging throughout your website’s content so that it’s clear and memorable for those who visit your website or your social media pages.
Content Strategy Research
As your business expands (or if you’re rebuilding a website for an already well-established bar,) you might consider investing 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.
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Designing your Sports Bar’s Website
UX Research and Functionality
Human-centered design is the current model for UX (or User Experience). So, what is UX anyway? It’s essentially a design approach that focuses on creating an accessible and approachable site for anyone who visits it. Solid UX design can ensure the greatest possible number of people have access to your content.
Now, you don’t have to necessarily hire a UX designer to achieve this (although that is an option!) Just think practically as you design your website. The idea is to develop a site that is intuitive to navigate for all users, including those with disabilities.
Here’s a UX pro-tip: If you use an online ordering system, integrate a link on each page of your website for ordering. That way, your customer can initiate their ordering process no matter where they are on your site.
Color Scheme and Typography
When designing your site, you want its colors and fonts to align with your sports bar’s branding. The visual effect of coordinating colors will make your sports bar more memorable to customers. Fortunately, you can find digital colors online that are a close match to your sports bar’s colors.
Colors and fonts also affect your website’s readability. Be sure to choose high-contrast fonts that are easy to read on your website’s backgrounds so that key information is easy to read.
The size of website text is another critical design element. Typically, sans serif fonts (those without the “flags” on the ends of letters) are clearer to read digitally. This is especially important for the mobile design of your website. Nowadays, most people view web pages on their smartphones. So, be sure that the text on your digital menus is large enough to read on any phone screen.
Customers love visuals. High-resolution images can make your website stand out and increase its performance in search engines. It’s best to use original photos to give customers a genuine feel for your sports bar.
The placement of images is another critical aspect. Your images should be arranged in a way that snags a site visitor’s attention. For example, if you have a high-quality photo of your bar filled with customers for a big game, that may be the perfect photo for your homepage. Immediately seeing a popular sports bar may excite customers to want to join in all the fun.
Marketing with your Sports Bar’s Website
You cannot forget that your website is a marketing tool. It is a channel for your customers to digitally access information about your bar, with the intent of increasing business for your bar. For your website to successfully do this, it has to be visible on search engines and social media.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a set of practices that allows search engines to “read” and index your content. By following the best SEO practices, you can improve the chance that your content appears in relevant search results.
Understanding SEO can take time. Thankfully, this comprehensive SEO for beginners guide from Search Engine Journal has everything you need to build your website with a strong SEO backbone. It will teach you about keyword research, on-page SEO, and technical SEO, all things that can ensure your website’s search ranking success.
Social Media Strategy
Your website and social media platforms are best friends. They drive traffic to each other, with the ultimate goal of turning potential customers into loyal customers for your business.
With that said, the best websites make their social media links readily available and obvious, prompting users to engage with other interesting streams of content. On the other hand, your social media streams will also drive traffic to your websites by posting links to new and updated website content.
Of course, social media users might not click through immediately to your site. But, having so many opportunities to find your website will increase the chance that your page will get a hit, that a new customer will engage, and, eventually, bring new business through your doors.
Hosting and Publishing your Sports Bar’s Website
Your website’s “host” is the physical computer where the info for your website is stored. While you could theoretically host your website, it’s simpler and more reliable to use a hosting service like GoDaddy or Bluehost. Certain web builders will also let you buy a domain name and connect you to hosts as part of their services.
Choosing a Domain
Choosing the right domain 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 your sports bar name isn’t available, try adding the initials of your city or state to your name. For example, if your bar’s name is Fans Room and it’s located in California, look to see if FansRoomCA.com is available.
Web Builder Platforms
Web builder platforms are services that make it easy to design your website, by providing intuitive website building software. Choosing the right web builder for your website is critical. Some web builder companies offer full-service website solutions from design to publication, while others require more legwork.
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10 Homerun Sports Bar Websites
Need a little design inspiration for your website? These sports bar websites can help get your creativity going and your site up and running.
- High Velocity
- Prime Time Sports Bar & Grille
- Sports & Social
- Third Place
- The Bleacher Bar
- Founding Fathers Sports Bar & Grill
- Tom’s Watch Bar
- Mother Hubbard’s Sports Pub
- Punch Bowl Social
With this guide, designing your sports bar website will be less daunting than losing a playoff game. By following each and every step, you can create a website that will open up your bar to more patrons who may become your next biggest fans.
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