Websites and a social media presence are extremely important for restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries, and other small businesses. Digital ghosting, lacking an online identity, makes you invisible to customers. Word of mouth has turned digital, and unless you’re in a location with extremely high foot traffic, you need to have an online presence.
Social media is free and easy to maintain, making it a no-brainer. Websites can be a little trickier. Unless you have a friend who can code or work magic with WordPress, building a complex website can be very expensive. Thankfully, most restaurants, bars, and cafes only need a basic website to start out. You can redo your website or hire someone to work on the SEO (search engine optimization) down the road.
Basic info your website needs to start out:
- Phone number
- Easy to read menu
- Great pictures of menu items
Free Website Tools:
Wix is a great tool for businesses on a budget and those without website building knowledge. It’s a drag and drop website builder, meaning you “drag” website elements like text, photos, videos, etc and “drop” them on the page wherever you like. You can then easily edit and customize. If you work with WordPress or a different site that isn’t drag and drop, you will have to use code to make changes. Wix is meant for those without any previous knowledge of website building. You can pick a pre-designed template, customized for various businesses ranging from fancy restaurants to cupcake shops. The website you create will be automatically optimize for mobile, meaning it will be easily viewable from a smartphone.
- Customizable Templates
- Menu template
- Facebook and Foursquare menu integration
- Mobile optimized
- Online ordering (receive updates via email or phone call)
- Online reservations
- Can have an online store with the paid subscription
If you want a free site using Wix, you’re URL will username.wixsite.com/sitename/page-url instead of a custom domain (website name) like OrlandoOysters.com. In order to have custom domain, you will need to purchase the name you want and set up a hosting plan. Free sites also show Wix ads.
Paid Wix subscriptions rang from 5$ per month for a basic subscription to 25$ a month for VIP. They often run discounts if you pay for a full year upfront. You still will need to purchase your domain. You can purchase your domain at GoDaddy.com or domains.Google.com. Domains typically cost .99 cents for the first year and then 10 to 15$ per year after that.
Weebly is Wix’s most direct competitor. It is also a free drag and drop website builder. The two platforms are very similar. Wix has the upper hand when it templates; it offers more free templates and they tend to be a little nicer. Weebly’s paid services range from 8$ to 25$, making it competitive in price. It offers the same free services as Wix, with a Weebly domain and advertisements.
- Template code can be altered
- Market place for “premium” templates that typically cost around 50$
- Currently if you pay the year upfront, you get a free custom domain for the year
Your restaurant needs a website so potential customers can find you online and look at your menu. Down the road, you can work on your website on your own, or with a company to make it rank higher in Google searches. A restaurant website should have basic info for customers and feature great pictures to encourage them to visit. You can make a free website to start using Wix or Weebly in less than an hour!