We hear the old adage location, location, location all the time. It seems like these days it is starting to matter a little less (a little!). Websites are a location too.
Businesses are being discovered every day on the fringes of the downtown eastside where most would consider a bad location. Or take Bistro Wagon Rouge for example. They are at the bottom of Victoria Drive and Powell, an area near the shipping yards that isn’t particularly full of pep. Yet when we went not too long ago they were packed at 9 in the evening.
Population is growing in Metro Vancouver and we are getting closer together and rent is going up. If businesses are going to succeed sometimes concessions like location may need to be made. It’s often when we are under restriction and pressure that we become most creative.
The food truck industry is booming because of it. They’ve learned that brick and mortar isn’t necessary for them and location does not have to be fixed. They are able to go where their customers are.
Websites and an online presence are doing the same thing food trucks are. The internet takes you to where your customers are. It is steadily growing to be the most effective way to reach them.
You’ve read the title of this article and we’re getting knee deep into the issues of running a business. We specialize in Vancouver logo design. How do these things connect? We hate to see businesses losing out on opportunities wherever and whatever they are.
There are 3.17 billion people on the internet of the 7.3 billion people on the planet as of July 2015 statistics. That is nearly 50% worldwide. Perhaps not so surprisingly, Canada is one of the top most connected countries on Earth. We are second just behind the UK.
87% of Canadians have household internet. Breaking that down even further, British Columbia leads the charge at 86% for all of Canada, tied only with Alberta. This means in BC we are among the most internet connected people globally.
Let’s let that sink in. This is according to 2014 statistics. Since then we’ve continued to grow in our connectivity. We aren’t even touching on mobile internet.
Big whoop, Kyle. We get it, the Internet is a pretty big deal.
I know. The stats prove our gut instincts. But admittedly after connecting the dots, I was startled to realize that BC is among the most connected.
Consider 61% of diners in 2014 reported visiting a restaurant's website before making the decision to visit. Also consider that 75% say their decision to go or not go was based on information they found on a restaurant’s website.
Statistics are from the National Restaurant Association's 2014 Restaurant Industry Forecast Report. You can access the 2015 report here: Restaurant Industry Forecast
Knowing this, a website should be a no-brainer for a Vancouver based business. Even if you have been running your business for 20 years you can improve your visibility. There is always room to grow and expand. On an increasingly connected planet, it will at least help raise you above the noise.
Leaving your web presence to the likes of Yelp and Zomato is one of the biggest gambles you can take online. Don’t depend on sites like this to provide information to inquiring patrons. While we wholly believe in the power of reviews and establishing conversations in these spaces, they are not your website. If ever they go belly up or change their terms, you could be putting your business at risk.
A website allows you to convey your brand message more completely. It gives you control. It sets the tone and atmosphere that customers can expect once they arrive at your location. It’s an appetizer. Actually, it’s a bit more like a free sample.
Dining out is an experience. Through your website you are able to capture it in a bottle. Show them what they can expect when they arrive. This goes for any business.
It is just like when you plan a vacation. You look at the pictures, check out the travel books, and ask around. You want know what you can expect. You make your decision based on the information you find. Tourism bureaus across the planet provide websites for this precise reason. They try to give you a taste of what your vacation can be.
With your website, set the mood, provide the menu, and list your location and contact info. Depending on your needs, a restaurant website doesn’t need to be much more than this. The menu is the content they are after. It creates the platform for you to tell the experience of your business. By posting it on your own website you don’t need to worry that it will be ill-represented in a blurry low-light mobile photo on a review site.
I’ve got one more stat to throw at you: 70% of smartphone users report looking at a restaurant's menu from their phone.
A beautiful desktop website alone simply will not cut it anymore. Your website will have to be mobile friendly.
That might seem like a tall order if you have no web experience. A professional web designer, and we have a few we can recommend, can tackle these challenges and provide the best solution for your business. 100% this would be in your best interest to invest in a good responsive website that will truly capture the essence of your brand.
If your budget is thin a WordPress theme might be the way to go for a temporary fix. One thing to consider carefully, just with any design, is a website is a double edged sword. In general we would say something is better than nothing, but if that something negates your brand promise in any way, it is detrimental.
It’s a bit like a racist drunk touting your famed grilled cheese. The message may be right but the voice is entirely wrong. Take care in your decision of choosing a designer or template.
There are plenty of free WordPress themes scattered across the web. Among them I found this decent collection on colorlib.
Your customers will look for you online. The biggest service you can do for you business is be there to be found.