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Checklist: Features of a Great Website In The Food & Drink Industry

25th April 2018

What makes a great food and drink website? If your business is in this industry, it’s a great question to ask yourself.

Just having a website or landing page of information simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Standing out from your competitors, creating great experiences online so people keep coming back and recommend you to others, converting your traffic into purchases… are no small feat.

So, we’ve brought together a checklist (to make it easy and simple) highlighting the most important features of a great food website, from the more obvious ones to the less so. We have focused on food and drink websites specifically in celebration of the Christchurch Food Festival next month. However, this checklist can be applicable and relevant to other industries.

Creating great first impressions the moment someone lands on your site is what we all hope to achieve, this infographic explains more: The Power Of First Impressions Online.

✓  Mobile-Optimised Website

Consumers often look at food & drink websites to look for a nearby shop, or where best to buy a certain product when watching TV or at the office on a lunch break etc. Having a mobile responsive design is a must; when did you last look at your website on your smartphone to see how it looks? Step in the shoes of your customers when you do this, ask yourself how highly you would rate your website in terms of visual look, the simplicity of use and ease of steps to purchase.

Statistics from Statista show that the share of mobile phone traffic in 2017 was 50.3% and so far in 2018 mobile traffic share is 52.2%. It is likely that a significant proportion of your visitors are from mobile devices, you can check exactly how much by logging into your Google Analytics.

  • More than 7 in 10 (73%) say content “must display well on the device” (Adobe)
  • 57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site. (Socpub)

Related article: Why Is It Important That Your Website Is Mobile-friendly?

✓  Visually Appealing 

Using great quality images of your product online is an effective and important feature for your website. It sounds obvious however we still see examples of sites each week that don’t get this point right. Not only do great images help you display best your products and tempt your visitors to purchase, it is also useful for visitors who aren’t familiar with your brand to start to build a picture of your products. After all, the best way to tell your customers how delicious your food is is by showing them.

Poor quality images or videos will give off the impression that your product is also of poor quality. It can influence your brand coming across as unprofessional, cheap, and research suggests that people can go as far as to think the company doesn’t really care if the site doesn’t look great and showcase the products in a really appealing way.

A study by Adobe shows that if images won’t load, 46% of people will switch devices, 39% will stop engaging.

An example of a food & drink website showing the food in visually appealing photographs.

Related article: 5 Reasons To Invest In a New Website

✓  Content Quality & Relevance

Your content should speak directly to your target market, the moment people land on your website. A great way to test this on your site is to adopt the character of one of your key customer personas, decide on a key outcome you hope to achieve or a specific pain or question you have. Visit your site and see: how easy is it to find your answer? Is the content long and complex? What is the tone, does the content on the site speak directly to your problem or question? It is best to do this exercise several times with various customer personas and actions in mind.

According to an Adobe study, some of the reasons consumers decide to switch devices or stop engaging with content altogether include:

  • Content is too long; 30% switch devices, 38% stop engaging
  • Content is unattractive in its layout or imagery; 35% switch devices, 38% stop engaging
Picture showing devices and content
Source: Adobe

✓  Embedded Instagram Feed

The use of social platforms is an obvious one. Instagram is a great one for the food and drink industry as its visual element makes it great for the platform. It is always best to ask yourself the question: Is this where my target audience spends their time online? Over 208 million Instagram posts have been hashtagged “food” since 2010 (Financial Times).

Showcasing your business’s tasty Instagram feed on the website makes your business look active, helps build credibility, builds awareness and more.

Website showing the Instagram Feed at the bottom of their website

✓  Video

A video is easier to digest than it is to read a text and is far more engaging. People generally appreciate the effort a company has made to create a video and the statistics say it all.

According to Wyzowl:

  • 79% of consumers would rather watch a video to learn about a product, than reading text on a page
  • 84% of consumers have been convinced to make a purchase after watching a brand’s video
  • 91% of consumers have watched an explainer video to learn about a product or service

Moreover, video has become cheaper to produce with the advance in technology and use of social media platforms such Instagram show you have no excuse to not create even short-form free videos.

✓  CTAs

CTAs (calls-to-action) are buttons placed across your website to guide and encourage your visitors to perform the desired action. For example: ‘Find Us, ‘Download This Recipe’, ‘Contact Us’, ‘Read more’, ‘Continue’ or ‘Buy now’.

What makes a good CTA? First off it needs to stand out on the page, it is best to experiment with size, the image, even colour to find out what brings the most conversions. You can A/B test this.

A lot of thought needs to go into strategically placing them and not overdoing it. They are a key element of converting visitors towards your website goals, so take the time to think it through.

An example of a website that shows two clear CTAs against a food image.

✓  Live Chat

Adding live chat to your website is a useful feature for visitors wanting to ask queries and get answers fast. By providing this option to your online visitors you can provide great customer service the moment they reach you, many people like efficiency and speed, live chat enables you to provide this. You can set live chat for only peak times of the day, so you do not have to be responding 24/7.

Moreover, having a live chat will help you to better understand customer pains or how effective your website is being. If multiple visitors are asking the same/similar questions it gives you an indication to make it clearer for future visitors and improve aspects of the website.

✓  SEO Optimisation (Search Engine Optimisation)

Great SEO is an essential feature to ensure your food & drink website gets the attention it deserves. SEO is a marketing discipline to ensure that your website and its content appears in search engine results for keywords related to your business, increasing quantity and quality of traffic to your site. You can find out more here.

SEO should not be taken lightly, as it can make all the difference as to whether your website ranks well on Google or any other search engine for that matter. If your customers have a hard time finding you on a search engine, then you need to up your SEO game. Even if you are ranking for key terms, great, but what else could your target market be looking at which relates to your business? Are you ranking there too?

Related article: 10 Eye-Opening Statistics to Show The Importance of SEO For Businesses

✓  Make it clear: What is your USP? (Unique Selling Point)

What sets you apart from your competitors? Whether it’s a specific ingredient, your competitive price, the way you source the product, your fun packaging, you need it to be clear and obvious the moment someone visits your site, spell it out. Something different is usually something memorable, so it could be the contributing factor of why your customers chose you.

Not all USPs have to be extravagant or edgy. If you’re not sure what your USP is, start by asking your existing customers why they come to you and keep coming back. Make sure your visitors know why they should buy from you.

An example of this is The Wall SE1, which provides food and drinks whilst tying in with the Vans’ skating ethos. They use their USP, Eat. Skate. Drink. extensively throughout their website enabling users to understand who they are and what they do.

The Wall SE1 Cafe Website showing the USP of their brand, Eat. Skate. Drink.

✓  Your Story

Having a back-story is a very valuable feature for your website, particularly for the food industry. Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of where their food & drink comes from, and your business’s practices and processes along the way will help them determine how ethical your brand is. People also like to hear the business’s why what makes the business and its team do what they do.

By providing consumers with transparency, it gives you the chance to build a trustworthy, honest relationship between your brand and the customer. It is showing that human element and a side to the business that people often appreciate and remember.

Related article: 11 Essential Ingredients For a Food & Drink Business’s Presence Online 

Want to tick off your checklist for a great food website?

We hope this article has given you insight as to what features are important for your website.

If you are interested in working with our team of digital experts to help build a great food & drink website which brings you business, contact us via the form below (“We’d love to hear from you”).

Alternatively, read more about how we can help you in your digital journey by providing you with a digital audit: Steps To Kick-start Your Business’s Digital Journey Today.

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