I was reading a post by Nick Stamoulis on Business2Community about making your website a brandable entity. In the process of leaving a comment I was reminded of an old website analogy…

Your website is like a restaurant. Google is the busy corner location on which every restaurant wants to open. Your goal is to get your restaurant on that busy corner. Keywords, social shares, backlinks (links back to your site from trusted outside sources), etc are all roads leading to that busy corner.

Here’s the problem with this analogy. It still matters what your food tastes like, how attentive your staff is and whether or not the place is a dump. Let’s take this analogy a  bit further…

1 – The Food – The Site Content

Content is king. Your content is your food. It’s why people come. If your content is just keyword rich junk they may leave full but probably not very satisfied, and not very willing to recommend your food to someone else.

If your content is tasty, just the right amount, and unique, you are more likely to make that valuable positive impression. Not only are the food critics (Google, bloggers, etc) going to enjoy it and write favorably about it, but the patrons will talk about your food to all their friends, co-workers, and family.

Make the food the most important piece of the experience. But, the food isn’t everything.

2 – Your Staff – User Experience

Just like a dining experience, a website offers a user experience. And much like a restaurant having a quality staff to ensure a quality dining experience, your website should have its own “staff” to help with the user experience.

Your staff includes:

  • the host (the landing pages)
  • the servers (the navigation)
  • and the server’s suggestions (calls to action)

You know those great restaurants where the staff is so amazing, you hardly notice them. In other words, they do their job so well that you focus mainly on the quality food and not much else.

Your website should do exactly the same thing…

  1. Hosts – just like a good host, your landing pages should welcome the user and make their entry into your site a seamless, hassle free experience.
  2. Servers – your navigation needs to be clear and easy. You want the user to easily find what they want without too much uncertainty or confusion.
  3. Server’s Suggestions – these calls to action help drive the users where you want them to go. Just like a suggestion from the server, these are the special items deserve extra attention. The choice is a no-brainer.

3 – Ambiance – Site Design

Yes, looks still matter. If you go to a restaurant that’s dirty, dark and smells bad, are you going to stay and eat? Probably not. Sure, there are exceptions but they are rare and the food better be the best food ever to overcome the dump factor.

Just like a restaurant, your website needs to be visually appealing with appropriate decor and a unique feel. The pages should be clean and free of clutter. The action pages should be easy to manage. If the user is comfortable then the time they spend there will be much more enjoyable.

This can go a bit further. Hip trendy restaurants have unique decor, cool art and maybe the staff has a slightly different approach that enhances the patrons experience. A website should be unique. You want to be memorable and for all the right reasons.

In other words, simply having an abundance of decent food isn’t going to help a mediocre  restaurant. By the same token having an abundance of decent content isn’t going to help  a website. You have to consider the entire experience.

Just like Goldilocks it has to be just right. The check has to come when you are ready to leave. The food has to be at the right temp. The server has to show up when your glass is empty. Any other ways you would compare a website to a restaurant? Let me know in the comments below…

Jon-Mikel Bailey – Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

5 Responses to “3 Ways a Website is Like a Restaurant
  • It’s amazing how regardless of the enterprise, success always seems to come back to the basics. It’s easy to get caught up in the flair but it really does come down to how good your food is, how effective your team is, and how it makes your customers feel. It’s universal. Great analogy!

    • Thanks, glad you got something from that. It really does always come back to the basics but for whatever reason we find a way to over complicate the latest tools, etc. Focus on good business and customer service and you will see results!

  • Great job expanding on the analogy Jon–these type of posts are my favorite.

  • A good simple non tech explanation of SEO

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