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Restaurant Website Fail: Do’s and Dont’s for Restaurant Websites

Are you looking for a great location to open a new restaurant in Warrenton, Virginia? If so, think twice before opening your new restaurant at 251 W. Lee Highway, Suite 167 in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center.

Over the past five years, since 2007, three restaurants have opened and closed in this location, and a new bar & grill opened there in October 2012. I’m not sure why JP’s Grill and Bar, the Cornerstone Cafe & Bistro, and Fratelli’s Italian Restaurant didn’t last more than a year or so each. But I do have a webmaster’s perspective on what’s not working for the current restaurant and what the restaurant owner needs to do ASAP to help ensure its success.

Red Zone Bar & Grill Warrenton Virginia

I’ve visited the Red Zone for lunch four times over the past month and I like it. The menu is varied, the food is well prepared, the portions are ample and reasonably priced. I like having a new restaurant option in our small town and I would really like to see the Red Zone succeed where its predecessors failed. But as an experienced webmaster, I gotta say this restaurant needs to get its online marketing act together, the faster, the better.

Problem #1: The Red Zone Bar & Grill Doesn’t Show Up in Local Search Results

The first time I thought about going to The Red Zone for lunch, I did what most people do these days: I searched for their website on my mobile phone, and couldn’t find any listing for it at all. This is what I did find:
Restaurant search results for Warrenton Virginia

I really wanted to check out The Red Zone’s menu before going in, but since that wasn’t possible and I was nearby anyway, I went ahead and visited The Red Zone for lunch. The Red Zone’s business card told me that the website address was RedZoneVa.com.

Problem #2: The Red Zone Website Has Not Been Optimized for Local Search

As a web designer, I was curious to know why their website wasn’t showing up in search results, so I checked out the website’s source code when I got home. This is what I found:

Poorly Constructed Title Tag

Red Zone Bar & Grill Warrenton VAThe restaurant’s title tag contains no reference to the restaurant’s location, so search engines have no way of knowing that The Red Zone is in Warrenton. As far as I can tell, The Red Zone also has not created or claimed a business profile listing in Google Plus .. another essential first step to make sure your restaurant shows up in search results.

Irrelevant Description Tag
Red Zone Bar and Grill Warrenton VAAnother issue this website has is that the description meta tags are not at all relevant to this business. As you can see in the screenshot on the left, the description meta tags are all about the website template used to create The Red Zone’s website. A big mistake! The description meta tags should mention where The Red Zone Bar & Grill is located and contain a brief message enticing people to visit the restaurant.

Irrelevant Keywords

Red Zone Bar & Grill Warrenton VAWhile keyword meta tags are generally considered of little or no value in website optimization these days, the fact that The Red Zone’s keywords are all about the website template and not about the bar & grill itself is hurting, not helping, this restaurant’s web presence and search results.

Problem #3: The Red Zone Website is Blank When Viewed on a Mobile Phone

Few people will go to the trouble of keying in a restaurant website address into their phone to find and view it, but I did and this is what I found:
Red Zone Bar & Grill Warrenton VA Website viewed on mobile phoneNot good at all! The website is a blank dark screen when viewed on a smartphone, because the website was built using flash … and flash websites do not display properly on smartphones and mobile phones.

Is a Facebook Page Enough for a Restaurant?

The Red Zone Bar & Grill’s management did point out that they have a Facebook page for their restaurant, but a Facebook page alone is not enough for a restaurant / bar and grill that is serious about staying in business. A Facebook page and a social media presence are essential marketing components for any local business these days … but a Facebook page is no substitute for your own website that you own and control.

Need a Restaurant Website? Call Herbst Marketing Today

If you need a restaurant website that works 24/7 to bring more diners in more often, call Herbst Marketing today: (540) 729-4076. We will build you a website that gets found on desktop PCs and mobile devices, and serves up the information your prospects and customers want fast to bring ’em in your doors!

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