It’s 2016, and it’s staggering how many businesses are still reluctant to take the internet seriously… and restaurants are no different.
In a world where everyone is telling you what you “should be doing”, I can appreciate the idea that you’ll take this advice with a grain of salt too. But the truth is, you can take the whole salt shaker if you wish, there are certain things your restaurant cannot ignore, if you hope to continue to compete in the coming years. The internet isn’t going anywhere, and it’s only getting smarter, more accessible, and increasingly business oriented.
If you’re so focused on seasoning steaks, and making cocktails, let me hip you to a few things your restaurant can do today (if you’re not already), to not only help you write more covers, but create a more loyal clientele and of course, increase profits.
For the love of Pete, a decent website.
Believe me when I say this, my intention isn’t to insult anyone, however let my tone reflect my sincerity. If your website stinks, what could you possibly think it’s doing for your business? Let me tell you. Either “A”, absolutely nothing, because nobody is ever seeing it…Or “B”, stinking up your image, because it’s terribly out-dated and looks like a 12 year old built it. If you take your brand seriously, you have to understand that your website plays a large role in that brand. A poor first impression (online or offline) is the difference between a packed restaurant, and your staff twiddling their fingers. Build a strong website (don’t do it yourself, hire a web developer), and use that website to push promos, and share exciting content, photos, and MOST importantly, your menu!
I’m not going to get into the science of SEO (search engine optimization) here, because that’s a deep conversation. But let me tell you this.. Nobody (unless they already know you), is Googling your restaurant name… So, stop thinking that your website is performing well in search engines, just because you’re listed at the top for your own restaurant name… obviously you are; who would you expect to be? Pizza Hut? Local SEO is critical in the restaurant industry, as you want to make sure your restaurant is present, when people are looking for somewhere to eat. And by present, I mean Page 1 on Google. If you’re on Page 2 or worse, nobody is finding you. 43% of all searches performed online, contain a local keyword… and 90% of those searchers, take action when they find what they’re looking for… This is something you absolutely do not want to ignore.
Local Directories and Review-based websites.
Your website should be included in any and all local business directories. Sure, these websites may or may not get loads of traffic anymore, however having your website listed in directories has always proven very valuable in terms of search engine rankings. Review-based websites (Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc) are the bees-knees these days, for many diners looking for a new place to eat. Ensuring your restaurant has a favourable rating, and that you’re responding to comments, is imperative in maintaining a desirable reputation. 7 out of 10 people consult reviews online, before making a purchasing decision, and 72% of those people share the reviews they’ve read, with their peers.
Your Online Menu
This one is big… People are constantly looking for menus online. Whether you’re a quick-serve or full-service restaurant, people want to see your menu, before sitting at one of your tables. So, publish an online version of your menu on your website, and also push the menu to other directories or local websites, for them to publish it also.
The inspiration behind this quick article, comes from talking to just a few restaurateurs over the past couple days. Don’t sleep on these 4 items, start putting together a plan today… or better yet, give us a call, and we can help you do it.
Whether you’re just opening your new restaurant, or you’re a seasoned restauranteur, the importance of menu item pricing is critical to the success of your business.
When determining the pricing of a new menu item, or reassessing the pricing of your existing menu items, it’s imperative to not rely solely on one price-setting method to determine the ideal price point.
We have compiled 6 highly effective methods to help you master your menu pricing, and ensure your food costs are inline. After all, your prime cost (food costs+labour costs) ratio is the difference between being profitable, or just scraping by.
Here’s how to Master your Menu pricing:
Determining Food Costs.
The first step in pricing your menu items, is to know how much these items costs you make. This includes everything from your wholesale product costs and delivery fees, to cooking costs, wages and overhead. I know, it sounds like a daunting task to calculate so many variables, for each and every menu item, however this should be considered priority one in EVERY restaurant.
Don’t over-Stalk your Competitors
This one seems pretty obvious, but unfortunately it’s often used as the only price-setting method by many restaurant owners. It’s mind-boggling how everyone claims to be “so unique”, however they spend their time monitoring what competitors are doing, and replicating their efforts. Charging the same as a competitor for the same menu item will not make you more successful, if your costs are too high to accommodate that price. You’re better off being a dollar or two higher, and remaining profitable, than worrying about losing a customer to the restaurant down the street.
The Price Barrier
Every item, on every menu, has a price barrier. This is the limit in which the average customer would pay for that specific menu item. If the item exceeds that price barrier, you’ll notice very quickly, by the lack of orders. Sometimes, if you offer and cook a specialty item (surf/turf with all of the extras), you may be able to get away with a slighter higher price, however most of your customers will generally stay below a particular price barrier.
Pricing Placement on the Menu
Believe it or not, we’ve implemented this simple technique with restaurant clients, and have had previously mediocre selling menu items, drastically improve. While often times, a menu is designed in a manner which pricing is in a “column based”, easy to read format, there are times when this simply isn’t as effective. If you have specialty menu items, with mouth watering descriptions, placing your pricing below the description will often encourage the customer to read the description before seeing the price for the dish. This is a very effective technique, as it’s very difficult to say “no” to your tastebuds.
Know your Audience
This one serves two purposes. Not only does it help you determine pricing, but also helps you determine menu item selection. We’ll keep this one as simple as possible. Know your audience. If you notice that the majority of your clientele is ordering a budget pint of draught, perhaps the “steak and lobster” choice on the menu, should be swapped out for another burger option.
Higher Prices, Higher Expectations
When calculating menu item pricing, keep in mind that the higher the price, the higher the expectation. Upscale restaurants almost always cost more than the average restaurant, for similar menu items. This means your customers will expect a fancier experience… Are you able to offer this increased experience, to offset the increased pricing? This is a very tricky circumstance to find yourself in, as it’s human nature to question the value of higher prices. When scrutiny arrives, chances are you’re losing a potential repeat customer.
Using a combination of a few (or all) of the above techniques, will help you master the art of menu pricing in your restaurant. It will also help you quickly determine the process of future menu enhancements. The key is to always know how each and every menu item is performing… and that all comes down to numbers.
Contact us today, and learn about our “Money Math” services, for restaurants just like yours. We show you creative ways to simplify the complicated numbers inside your business, to make much easier sense of them… day in and day out. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Yuck, writing Part 2 of this series, isn’t going to give me the same nostalgic feeling I felt, while writing Part 1: Fearlessly Naive at 20 Years Old. You see, that chapter has always been my favourite, because I remember the exciting, yet certainly naive optimism, those early days brought me.
Although Chapter 2 may sound a little gloomy, the truth is, it tested my resolve; and that resolve is what has long since helped me learn confidence and grit.
Starting a business is exciting, full of big dreams, and all of the things you’re going to accomplish… And mine was no different. In my eyes, the finish line, the end-game, was a clear one; I was going to take over the world (and I still am).
But until then, I would have to get to work. As a young, 20 year old techie, I would be faced with an abundance of hurdles that I wasn’t prepared for. To be honest, even if I would’ve been “prepared”, I’m not sure the outcome would have been any different.
I had to emerge myself in the world of entrepreneurship, sit in meetings with some of the area’s most influential business-people, and try to convince them to use my services. Sounds easy enough, right? Dead wrong. Going into meetings as an early-twenty-something is an extremely intimidating and daunting task, even when you look cooler than a polar bear’s toe nails, in a freshly pressed suit. Often times, I found myself sitting across the table from someone struggling to take a “kid” seriously, and having them say “thanks, but no thanks”. I assure you, regardless of who you are, it doesn’t take long, before those rejections have you beginning to doubt yourself.
In the early 2000’s, many business owners were still very bearish on the idea of the “internet for business”, not to mention, what a young 20-something could possibly be able to do for them. Sure, in Silicon Valley, I was the prime age, but in Windsor, Ontario, I was an “inexperienced gamble”. Trying to lock down new clients wasn’t easy, to say the least.
The core of this chapter, has always been a little foggy to me, so I really don’t have any insightful wisdom to share, on how I pushed through… At the age of 21, you wouldn’t find me out with friends on Friday/Saturday nights. You would find me in front of a computer, with Tropicana orange juice, until all hours of the night. This was my life, until the age of 25 or so. I spent countless hours buried in learning, and evolving, so that I would have the answers the “naysayers” would come at me with in future meetings. I would show them that they would be hard-pressed to find a better choice, than the 22 year old, baby-faced kid in front of them. Every weekend spent in the “lab”, as I called it, started to not only help me evolve intellectually, but also in gaining confidence… with a side of acid reflux. The euphoric highs, and soul-crushing lows I experienced in those long nights, are things I will take with me forever. Difficult to explain, yet impossible to forget.
So many things changed, in those first 5 years. I learned valuable lessons about business. I learned that nobody is going to give you anything. If you want it, you’ll have to be hungry, steadfast, and able to pivot, just to survive. I’ve long since been able to embrace the fact that my career as an entrepreneur will consist of a million small failures/setbacks, with a bunch of small successes mixed in, until the opportunity to truly pounce presents itself. And then… look out.
In the technology industry, everything moves so quickly, so you have to try your best to keep up. We all hear stories about “overnight successes” in this industry, but if you really learn their stories, you’ll learn that virtually all of them had to “fail” repeatedly, in order to succeed… Rejection. Self-Doubt. Repeat.
Whether you’re 5 years in, or going on 14, you’ll learn that nobody will ever be as sure about your path, as you are. People will question your decisions, and doubt your abilities. People will give up on you, and you’ll learn who your biggest cheerleaders really are (outside of yourself). As sad as that sounds, it’s the job I signed up for, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Now, almost 14 years in, things still continue to change every day, but one goal has remained as clear and unclouded, as the day it all began. The cover of Forbes.
Some days, it feels like it was yesterday, and others, my increasingly greying hair reminds me that the journey has definitely landed its share of punches.
I’m often asked, how/why I decided to start my own business, and although it may not necessarily be a page-turning story, it’s a story that’s all mine.
Aside from my business, I’ve had one job in my life (ages 16-20), at a local ticket broker company. Although it was a part-time job, it offered me some of the most valuable insights I’ve ever learned, and was the birth place of my entrepreneurial spirit.
I worked with a couple guys, who through an abundance of patience on their part, taught me some things I’ll take with me forever. The manager showed me the ropes, and kept me accountable, while the owner answered my unrelenting questions about small business. You see, I was never a scholar, never a kid who excelled in school, and certainly never the “smartest” amongst my group of friends. But this was different. I had an interest in learning everything I could about how the business worked, without even being consciously aware of why I was so intrigued. This is why I owe so much of the past 14 years, to my first and only boss. Perhaps he seen the entrepreneurial spirit in me, or maybe he just wanted to get me off his back. I’ll never really know, but the truth is, I don’t need to.
The day that I finally came to realize that I was born to be an entrepreneur, is a day I will never forget. I remember sitting at my desk, hustling tickets like we did every day, when I looked over at my boss, writing cheques. I remember thinking to myself, “Now that’s what I want to do. I want to be the guy who cuts cheques”. Maybe it was my young age and inexperience, but I seen something powerful that day. A seemingly composed entrepreneur, taking-care-of-business. It wouldn’t be until a few years later that I would realize that entrepreneurship isn’t always the high flying, marshmallow cloud world that we so often hear about.
I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to be the Captain of whatever that ship might be. And one day, without even realizing it, the opportunity presented itself.
Next to our office, was a travel agent, who we sold the occasional sports or theatre tickets to. She came to me one day, and asked if I knew anyone who could build her a website, to which I informed her that I could. She requested that I send her a quote, outlining the costs associated with the build. Somewhat clueless, I opened up Microsoft Word, put together a project outline with a price, and sent it over. A couple days later, I had a signed quote and a deposit cheque. Words cannot express what that felt like.
A few short days after that, November 20th, 2002 to be exact, I officially registered my first company, without the slightest clue of what the next 14 years would bring.
My concept was simple. I wanted to create something unique, something I could be proud of. Maybe even one day, I could become a mentor, just like the mentor I had. Like I said earlier, I may not have been the whiz-kid in school, but I like to think that I was able to see the tremendous value that entrepreneurship had to offer, as a fearlessly naive 20 year old kid.
The most profitable and successful restaurants, are those who not only monitor their spending, but are also familiar with where their costs should be, in order to be profitable.
If you’re serious about making more money, you’ve got to know how your most volatile costs are running, in an efficient manner. Having an effective measurement process in place, will help ensure you’re operating in the black, and able to recognize and correct unexpected overspending issues when they arise.
If you don’t currently have an effective measurement process in place, it’s highly recommended you start. If you’re not sure where to begin, here’s a couple quick insights to get the ball rolling.
It’s no secret that owning a restaurant comes with a wide range of monthly expenses, however profit is usually gained/lost from the performance of two critical numbers:
When combined, Labour and Cost of Goods Sold (food and beverage) are commonly referred to as your “Prime Cost”, and make up the largest percentage of spending in any restaurant. For this reason, it is imperative that your spending is in line, to avoid letting profits walk out the door.
“Prime Cost” usually runs approx. 60-65% of total sales in a full service restaurant, and 55-60% in quick service restaurant.
Ideally, you want to measure your “Prime Cost” as frequently as possible. If you haven’t been measuring your “Prime Cost” up until now, we suggest you start with weekly monitoring, so you can quickly identify problem areas, and begin to make the necessary adjustments.
The most profitable restaurants, with an effective measurement process in place, know their food and beverage costs at the end of each week. They can also tell you how many days worth of inventory is sitting on the shelf, as of closing time last night. If there’s a problem, they’re able to quickly identify it and respond accordingly. Weekly food cost reporting improves your “kitchen culture”, due to the awareness and sense of accountability it creates.
Another tremendous benefit of weekly food/beverage reporting is that it also makes people very cognizant of their inventory levels, and provides restaurant owners the ability to lower their food/beverage cost by 2 to 4 percent of sales, in just a few weeks. Think of the money that puts back in your pocket, by simply implementing an easy and effective measurement process.
Restaurants are tremendous cash flow generators, and that alone can often times be very seducing to owners, as this cash flow is mistakenly perceived as profits. Money in the bank, does not equate to being profitable, and without a solid measurement plan in place, cash flow spending can lead to an unanticipated crisis.
This is why monitoring your “Prime Cost” is so important, as it offers a level of control. Many of your fixed expenses are beyond your control (such as renegotiating your lease), so ensuring your key expenses are in line, will offer the potential for continued growth and profitability.
The truth is, if you’re not monitoring/measuring your “Prime Cost”, it is highly likely that you’re overspending, which means less profits. Think of it this way, if your restaurant generates $1 million in revenue each year, but you’re overspending by even 2-3%, that’s $20,000-$30,000 of lost profits, year in and year out.
If you’re interested in implementing an effective, yet simple measurement process, but don’t know where to get started, contact us today… and let’s start putting that money back in your pocket tomorrow!
Ahhh, the restaurant/bar business. Sounds like a fun gig, doesn’t it? For many, it can be. For others, it can be an uphill battle. Today, we’ll talk about common “owner” types.
If you’re a restaurant/bar owner, chances are you can equate yourself to being one of the following types:
Face-of-the-business: This type of owner can always be found on-site, casually wearing multiple hats, socializing with guests, and enjoying the perks of ownership.
Behind-the-scenes: Generally hands-off of the day to day, and often times isn’t recognized by guests, as the owner of the establishment.
The-mix: Enjoys being present, but also possesses qualities of being calculated and in-tune with the business side.
Now, there’s no right/wrong type of owner, absolutely not. In fact, each of them present their own strengths, that offer tremendous opportunities for growth and success. With that being said, the opposite is quite true as well. Each type of owner will also possess traits/habits that may present obstacles in the success of the business.
Regardless of which type of owner you are, one thing is non-negotiable… Knowing your numbers!
Having a grip on your costs, including: labour, food/drink costs, and other operating expenses is critical in the success of any business, especially a restaurant/bar. Overspending in just one or two key areas can be the difference between profit and loss.
Don’t fret, you don’t have to be a math-genius to know your numbers. Most people get caught up in the complicated math, because they simply don’t know how to simplify the questions. With an efficient program in place, all of the answers you need can generally be found using math you can do in your head… It’s true. The key is drilling down to the most important metrics.
Want an example? Try this… Who is generally more valuable to your business, dollar-for-dollar… the bartender or the cook? Keep in mind, we’re talking dollar-for-dollar, not personality, not talent, just money. Think about it for a minute, and I’ll provide some insight at the bottom of this article.
Now, let’s get back to the owner types. If you’re the face of your business, and you’re often in the establishment, eating/drinking/socializing, you bring some real value to the business… However, you’re also a liability to it.
On one hand, you’re there to experience the day-to-day, and able to assist in problem solving on demand. On the other hand, you’re eating/drinking (generally on the company’s dime), and utilizing the restaurant/bar’s resources, without providing any value to the “bottom-line”. You’re an expense. Learning how to capitalize on this opportunity is where things get exciting. I’ll never tell you to no longer be the face of the business, definitely not. It’s what you do, and you like the social aspect. However, if you’re able to be present, but also mindful of the sales/profits in real-time each day, you’re going to enjoy your time socializing 100-times more… that I can promise you.
It’s important to know which numbers are most important to your business, and which ones need to be kept a close eye on, to ensure you remain profitable. Don’t let terms like operating costs, fixed expenses, variable expenses, and prime costs confuse you. It doesn’t have to be that complicated. With a set of just a few numbers that you keep an eye on, we’re able to not only help you transform your business, but also help you sleep easier at night.
Our services don’t tell you what decisions you should be making, that’s your business. We simply provide you with the tools/answers in an innovative, relatable manner, so that you can make your decisions with more data behind them. If it’s focusing your efforts on trimming overspending in certain areas, so that you can eat/drink without worry, that’s perfect. We’re here to show you where you can do the trimming. Simple.
Like the old saying goes “You can’t get where you want to be, if you don’t know where you are”. Before you can grow your business, you need to find out where you currently excel, and where you currently lack. So, if you’re the face-of-the-business type, you’re our favorite type of owner. You have the day-to-day answers, while we provide you with the math/technical ones. When those two things come together, it creates something pretty awesome.
If you’re one of the other owner types, you’re generally going to have a little bit better handle on the “numbers” side of the business, than the face-of-the business type. However if you’re answering the wrong questions, or fumbling over the wrong math, you could find yourself in some pretty deep water. Take the time to learn which numbers are actually most important to your restaurant/bar, or hire us and let us help you.
Let us finish with this…. We work worth many different industries, and the reality is, talking numbers is intimidating to many business owners. Often times, it’s about ego. Nobody wants to hear what they could be doing better, or that they’re less than perfect in some way. But the truth is, in almost 14 years, I’ve yet to meet anyone who was perfect, and you’re certainly not doing anything “wrong” that we haven’t seen countless times before. We’re not drill sergeants looking to force change on you, we simply provide you with the tools/answers to help you better understand your business. So, if you’re looking for that competitive advantage, reach out to us, and let’s make something happen!
Finally, back to the question from above… Who is generally more valuable to your business, dollar-for-dollar… the bartender or the cook? If you said “bartender”, you’re right. Here’s why.
We’ll just make up some numbers, for the fun of it, and strip it down to the most basic form. For you nerdy types, don’t try and debunk the following with technical semantics about variables, etc. This is the lean and mean example.
Dinner entree: $25
Time to prepare: 18 minutes
Revenue per customer/minute: $1.39
Time to prepare: 45 seconds (average).
Revenue per customer/minute: $6.33
Dollar for dollar, a bartender is able to drive significantly more revenue than a cook, in a given period of time. Believe it or not, this is a metric that has extremely powerful insights, when factored in to the daily operations, revenues and profits of a restaurant/bar.
So, if you’re looking to learn more about the “numbers” side of your restaurant/bar business, contact us today… You will be glad you did!
Last week, Primary Target Media officially launched our Salon & Spa Suite; an innovative new marketing service for the Salon & Spa industry.
After working with Salon & Spa companies for over a decade, we finally took the time to turn the knowledge and methods we’ve used, and implement them into a powerful new platform.
The Salon & Spa Suite focuses on what we call “Money Math”. The core of the platform focuses on helping Salon & Spa owners truly dig deep into the numbers of their business, and learn what they mean, and how they affect the day-to-day life of the Salon & Spa.
Using visualizations rather than complicated math formulas and spreadsheets, Salon & Spa owners receive a valuable, real-time pulse of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as custom outlined strategies to help grow.
Over the next few months, we look forward to introducing the new service to our clients here at home, as well as some of the Caribbean’s most luxurious Resort Spas.
We’ve all visited websites, who offer an email signup form. Often times, that form simply asks for “Name” and “Email Address”, basically saying that they’re going to hit everyone with the same emailÂ marketing newsletter, with the same generic content, and hope we bite.
Take a step back, and look at this from a marketing standpoint… It’s absolutely absurd.Â By only knowing a person’s name and email address, they’re a stranger, and you can’t effectively market to them.
Yet, so many business owners and their marketing personnel still wonder why their email newsletters get such poor results.
Adding one or more additional fields to your email signup forms, to collect relevant and valuable information, can shoot your email marketing results through the roof. Don’t believe me? The proof is in the pudding.
According to a 2013 Email Marketing Study by Experian:
Personalized email campaigns offer 6X higher transaction rates, than those campaigns without personalization.
Personalized email campaigns offer 29% higher unique open rates, and 41% higher unique click rates…. Staggering!
Personalized subject lines show 26% higher unique open rates.
These are tremendous increases, in the most widely used “success measuring” factors in email marketing, yet 70% of brands fail to properly personalize their email campaigns.
So why is this?
The answer is simple.Â Many small businesses decided to venture into email marketing because someone told them they should be using it, or they heard a commercial on the radio. The fact of the matter is, there is so much more to email marketing than simply writing some content that you believe is valuable, and blasting it out to your contacts.
There’s a science to it. Collecting the right data upon signup, determining the best day/time to send, A/B content testing and many other factors come into play, when trying to make the most out of email marketing.
So what should you be including in your email signup form?
This will obviously be unique to virtually everyone, however finding the answer is pretty straight forward. What pieces of information will help you target/segment your customers? This could be as simple as creating a drop down selection, asking “What is your favorite product from our company?”.
This allows you to segment your list, and deliver a timely email campaign, when a specific product goes on sale, or the introduction of a similar product you feel they may interested in, becomes available.
For example: John visits your Burger Joint website, and he signs up for your email newsletter, which asks only for his Name/Email Address.
A week later,Â John receives a newsletter from you, introducing a new 1/2 lb, bacon double cheeseburger.
Guess what… John is a vegetarian.
Alternatively, you offer a signup form that allows John to select his favourite item on your menu, or something that sounds tasty… He selects the Veggie burger.
A week later, he receives the veggie-version of your email campaign.
There are so many other elements that could go into this logic, however I will save those strategic enhancements for my clients 😉
If you have any questions about email marketing, or the 13 years experience we have in it, please don’t hesitate to contact us today… that’s what we’re here for!
Flash, a commonly used application for creating and displaying animation effects on websites since the late 90’s, has always lacked “search engine friendliness”. Still, some website owners and designers have continued to ignore this flaw, even up until and including today.
With Google’s most recent “Mobile Friendliness” update, it’s quickly become apparent that the continued use of Flash in your website, will undeniably impact your search engine rankings, if they haven’t already. Google’s update officially went into affect on April 21, 2015, and a month later has already impacted some of the most popular websites online.
Of course, there are many reasons your webpages may register as non-mobile-friendly, but Flash is sure to cause a great deal of headache to your rankings if not remedied.
Back in 2013, Google mentioned in it’s Webmaster Central blog, that many websites are utilizing Flash to embed videos for playback on their website. This approach proved to be effective for desktop versions of websites, however with Flash required to play these videos, they will not play on many mobile devices.
With most websites generating anywhere from 40-65% of their traffic from search engines, it’s imperative that your website continues to evolve with the ever-changing guidelines. Otherwise, you’ll see a significant drop in both search engine rankings, as well as traffic.
Animations and video playback play a large role in many websites, and although Flash is strongly discouraged, HTML5/CSS is an excellent, search engine friendly alternative.
At Primary Target Media, we all but eliminated Flash from our arsenal, back in 2012.
If your website is more than 2 or 3 years old, it could most certainly use an update, as there are more than likely multiple things causing your search engine rankings to suffer. Have your web developer perform an audit of your website, or take our SEO analysis, absolutely free. It will show you where your website is failing to meet search engine friendliness guidelines.
A “Do-it-Yourself” or DIY website building tool often sounds like a great idea for many small businesses… unless of course, you ask someone who has used one. The concept itself sounds very appealing, as it promises you the saved expense of having a professional web design company build your website. This is usually where the appeal ends.
Often times, upon embarking on your DIY website project, you find that the application can be daunting and time consuming… However you push through with the expectation of the internet applauding your arrival, with mounds of website traffic and increased business, once it has been completed.
Now, for the harsh reality. The truth is, DIY website tools often come with a few fatal flaws… The first flaw being, allowing anyone to build their own website. You see, there’s so much more to a website, than slapping together some text and graphics. A successful website consists of a fine mix of tactical and technical skills, practiced and perfected over time. These skills cannot be replicated inside a DIY website tool.
Here are the Top 5 Reasons Why Your DIY Website is Failing You.
5. Two versions of your site, without even knowing it.
Did you know, by default “www.yourdomain.com” and “yourdomain.com” (without the www.) are considered two different entities? Entering either of them in your website browser, will display your website, however search engines read them as two separate websites, making them appear as two websites containing the same content… and that’s a big no-no when it comes to search engines and how they rank your website. There is a solution, and it’s called “URL Canonicalization”.Â This simply redirects the non-www version, to the www version, so that search engines see just one version.We’ve yet to come across any DIY website tool that offers a canonicalization option built in.
4. Open Graph: Use it, and customize how your website is shared on social media.
Have you ever noticed, when you share your website on social media, the photo used (if any) isn’t always the best picture, and the title and description they automatically create, could use some work? Using Open Graph Meta Data in your website’s pages allows you to customize the image/title/description for each and every page on your website. Using Open Graph data in your website’s pages helps drastically increase engagement when sharing links on social media… an absolute must in today’s social media era. Most of the DIY tools that we’ve come across do not offer this type of customization.
3. Poor URL Structure can be devastating
Although the initiative is admirable, taking your website development project into your own hands can cost you a lot more than paying a web design expert. When you’re trying to craft your masterpiece, things like URL structure are probably nowhere on your radar.Â Most DIY website tools use poor URL structure, when creating the pages for your new website. For example, “www.yourdomain.com/pageid=1234” is an example of poor URL structure. Instead, your URL’s should be something like “www.yourdomain.com/page-title.html”.Â Many DIY tools do not offer the ability to change the URL structure to something more search engine friendly, begging the question… If they can overlook something as simple, yet as important as this, what else are they missing?
2. Fancy “Editors” only mean your code is painfully bloated.
I’m sure everyone can envision the computer nerd, who writes “code” that appears to make no sense at all… Well, when a DIY tool provides you with the ability to create a website, by dragging and dropping elements onto a canvas,Â the code is manipulated and altered, to make those features possible. All of this unnecessary code “bloats” your website, rendering it harder for search engines to crawl and index your website accordingly. This translates into weaker search engine rankings, and slower page load times. Clean, minimal code is the first step in a successful website that performs well in search engines.
1. Optimizing, Measuring, Marketing
The biggest reason why your DIY website is failing you, is simple. You’re not a web developer and online marketing professional. It’s not a hobby, and your 16-year old niece’s computer class didn’t turn her into an expert in 3 months. The reality is, your website is a marketing investment, and a hub in which the rest of your advertising runs through. It’s an online resource and salesperson that works 24/7, providing insights and a sales pitch to its visitors. A real web development and marketing expert will put your website on the path to success, and when done correctly, will generate revenue that makes the initial investment look like a drop in the bucket.
So if you’re serious about your business, start taking your website seriously too. That cheesy, cookie-cutter website that you’re ever so proud of, doesn’t impress your audience much. Just think about it.