How to Design a Restaurant Site with WordPress (In 3 Steps)

If you own a restaurant, you may well be planning to take your business online. Yet designing a restaurant website can be challenging, and the number of options may seem overwhelming. If you’re a tech novice and you haven’t built a website before, it’s hard to know where to start.

The good news is that creating a restaurant website doesn’t need to be difficult. In a few basic steps, you can improve your customers’ experiences by offering menus, making reservations available, and even taking orders online. All of this can increase the exposure you receive in your local area and improve your profits. 

In this article, we’ll look at the key steps involved in getting your restaurant business online. Let’s jump right in!

Why Your Restaurant Needs a Website

There are many factors that go into a successful restaurant. You’ll need excellent food, quality service, an appealing location, and more. Since the restaurant business is inherently brick-and-mortar, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a dedicated website.

However, customers increasingly expect restaurants to have an online presence. Data shows that 77% of diners visit a restaurant’s website before choosing to visit it. Deliveries have also skyrocketed, and customers overwhelmingly prefer to order food directly from a restaurant’s site rather than through third-party services like Uber Eats or DoorDash.

As with any other product, customers want to know what they’re getting beforehand. A dedicated website enables you to show off your menu, pictures of your location, prices, and more. Of course, it also makes it possible to offer takeout, delivery, and reservations online. In other words, this resource can both improve your customers’ experience and boost your conversions.

How to Design a Restaurant Site with WordPress (in 3 Steps)

If the restaurant business is where your expertise lies, you may be unsure whether creating a website is a task you can handle. Fortunately, it’s relatively quick and simple to set up a fully-functional site for your establishment, and you can easily get help if needed. Built By WordPress.com helps you to build your website. Let’s walk through the basics in just three steps.

Step 1: Choose a Platform to Build Your Website On

There are many ways to build a website. These range from simple website builders to custom-coding a site entirely from scratch (and everything in between). The former is easy but offers few choices, while the latter is time-consuming, difficult, and often expensive.

The best option is typically a Content Management System (CMS). This is a user-friendly software that helps you create online content, and offers lots of flexibility without requiring much technical know-how.

WordPress is by far the most popular CMS, and for good reason. It can enable you to create just about any type of website you can imagine. By using WordPress, you open up endless possibilities for customization.

For example, there are dozens of high-quality themes tailored exclusively toward restaurants. There are also tools you can use to add key features like reservation systems and online menus and tracking systems to your site.

Best of all, if you choose WordPress we can take the work of building your restaurant site off your plate. At Built By WordPress.com, we offer custom designs tailored to the needs of your establishment and patrons.

Step 2: Pick a Theme for Your Restaurant Website

Once you’ve set up your WordPress site, you’ll need to choose a theme. WordPress themes are central to the platform. They provide a unique look and layout for your website, add functionality, and allow you to create elaborate designs with ease.

The sheer amount of options that are available can seem overwhelming, so you’ll need to know what you’re looking for. Any theme might work, but it’s best to narrow down your search to themes designed specifically for restaurants.

While multipurpose themes offer some advantages, restaurant-orientated solutions provide easier customization and frequently come bundled with useful plugins. Functions you might find useful include reservation systems, custom page templates for menus, testimonials, and Google Maps integration.

You can get started by searching for free restaurant themes in the WordPress Theme Directory:

While you can also find premium options, there are plenty of feature-rich and customizable free themes to choose from. Plus, since they don’t cost a thing, you can install a few on your site and play around with them until you find the right fit.

Step 3: Add Key Functionality to Your Site Using Plugins

A plugin is a piece of software that extends the functionality of a WordPress website. There are over 50,000 free plugins available, plus many premium tools. Just note that if you have a WordPress.com site, you’ll need a Business plan in order to install plugins.

Here are some of the types of plugins that can come in handy on a restaurant website:

  • A menu builder. You can create your menu with a basic WordPress page, but a dedicated plugin like Restaurant Menu by MotoPress can make it really stand out. This tool offers built-in e-commerce capabilities, and allows you to showcase your menu in widget areas.
  • An ordering system. If you want to let customers order online (takeout, delivery, or both), you’ll need to add that functionality to your site. Your theme may include the tools you’ll need, but if it doesn’t, you can add this with a plugin such as RestroPress.
  • Reservations. If you want to let customers reserve tables, you can check out a plugin like Five Star Restaurant Reservation. It allows you to accept reservations and table bookings, confirm and reject reservations, send email notifications, restrict booking times, and more.

Your restaurant may have unique needs we’ve not mentioned here (for example, a way to showcase reviews and testimonials). We’d suggest first making a list of all the features you want on your establishment’s website, and then searching for plugins that offer those functionalities.

Taking Your Restaurant Site to the Next Level

Now that you’ve taken your restaurant online, you’re ready to promote your business and show off what you have to offer. Remember that for many new customers, this will be their first impression of your establishment, so it’s important to treat your restaurant website design as a shop window and stay on brand throughout.

Let’s recap the main steps required to get your restaurant website up and running:

  1. Choose a user-friendly platform like WordPress.
  2. Shop around and find the perfect restaurant theme.
  3. Use plugins to add key features and functionality to your website.

Do you have any questions about designing a restaurant website? Built By WordPress.com can help you build your website.

How to Choose Between Redesigning and Rebuilding Your Site

Over time, your website’s appearance and features can become outdated. To fix these issues, you can either redesign or rebuild your website. However, you might struggle to choose between these two options.

For example, redesigning your website can be an effective way to address small functional problems on your website or enhance its overall look. On the other hand, when undergoing a rebrand or migration, building a new website can enable you to achieve your goals more easily. 

In this post, we’ll discuss why you might consider redesigning or rebuilding your website. 

The Difference Between Redesigning and Rebuilding Your Website

If your website isn’t meeting your needs, you might consider redesigning or rebuilding it. With both of these techniques, the goal is to improve your website’s look, features, and/or functionality. However, the exact changes you make will depend on the strategy you choose.

A redesign involves updating the look and feel of your website. Often, most of the fundamentals stay the same, but you might customize your site’s appearance with a new theme or branding:

If you rebuild your website, you’ll be creating a new site from scratch. This can be an effective way to solve problems with your current Content Management System (CMS) or your website’s underlying coding.

When redesigning your website, you might update its color scheme or make it more mobile-friendly. However, rebuilding a website can also involve migrating your content to a new platform or making large-scale changes to how it looks and what it includes.

Why You Might Consider Redesigning Your Website

When you first built your website, you likely chose a theme and plugins that were popular at the time. Without occasional redesigns, your website’s appearance may become outdated. If you want to continue offering a great experience for your users, it’s best to keep up with the latest design techniques.

There are several indicators that will tell you it’s time for a website redesign:

  • Slow loading time
  • Lack of brand awareness
  • Poor Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Confusing navigation menu
  • Subpar performance or appearance on mobile devices

Ultimately, if you want your website to succeed, it’s important to maximize its design for user convenience. This can involve making pages mobile-friendly, or updating your color scheme with more memorable branding.

Pros

There are advantages and drawbacks to opting for a redesign. On the positive side, this often improves the user experience. For example, a redesign increase accessibility by placing important details in a menu or directly on your home page:

Refreshing your web design can also modernize your content by removing outdated stock photos or aggressive pop-ups. This can make your website more appealing to users, which can increase repeat visits.

Plus, a redesign usually takes less time than a complete rebuild. Instead of reinventing the wheel, you can simply implement new themes or plugins to maximize your current design.

Cons

However, redesigning your website can be jarring for your regular visitors. Since a redesign can take time, you could leave your users with malfunctioning features before the process is complete.

To alleviate this problem, you can put your site into maintenance mode. This prevents users from viewing the pages you’re editing:

Still, maintenance mode pages can stop users from finding the content they came for. So it’s possible to lose out on potential new audience members during this process.

Finally, a redesign doesn’t affect the underlying structure of your website. So if your site is suffering from large-scale problems, a simple redesign may not be sufficient.

When your website can no longer support your goals, it’s time to consider building a completely new site. For example, your website builder might become more difficult to manage as your audience grows. To get more control, you can start from scratch on a new platform.

Why You Might Consider Building a New Website

In addition, certain functional issues can be too complex to handle with a simple redesign. Here are some goals you can achieve with a website rebuild:

  • Rebrand your entire website
  • Increase organic traffic
  • Improve your conversion strategy
  • Make major functional changes

With a redesign, you also won’t have to worry about updating your old content. You can simply determine what your site needs and create customized features and content that meet those goals. 

Pros

Similar to a redesign, a rebuild can improve the accessibility of your website. For instance, creating a new website can completely change its structure, allowing visitors to easily navigate your content. 

Using a different platform to build your site can make it easier to attract more organic visitors. A more powerful and flexible CMS like WordPress can help you better engage visitors and improve your search engine rankings.

Cons

Although there are advantages to rebuilding your website, you may also face some challenges. Since you have already spent time and energy on one website, you might be hesitant to completely abandon it and start fresh.

What’s more, it takes time to build a website from the ground up. A platform like WordPress will have tools to help you out, but it still takes time and effort to learn new technology. Plus, you’ll need to set up redirects if you want to make sure visitors find your new site.

How to Choose Between Redesigning and Rebuilding Your Website

A redesign can be effective when you’re implementing smaller functional tweaks, such as editing the site’s color scheme or adding a navigation menu:

However, if you want to completely rebrand your site with a new identity, you’ll want to consider a rebuild instead. By starting your design from scratch, you can make sure that every piece of content matches your brand:

Since every website is different, you’ll need to evaluate yours and note what already works. If you only need minor visual or functional changes, you can probably opt for a redesign. With this option, you can keep your site’s fundamentals the same. 

Alternatively, you may find that there are too many problems for a redesign to address. This is when you can choose a new build instead, and launch version two of your website with clear goals in mind.

Making the Right Choice for Your Website

When it’s time to improve your website, you may struggle to choose between a redesign and a rebuild. Both options can improve unoptimized elements on your website, but it’s important to choose the right option for your needs.

It’s best to start by considering whether you can redesign your current website, either by improving its look or adding user-friendly features. Rebuilding your site is a much more extensive process, but may be a better option if your existing site simply isn’t meeting your needs (or those of your visitors).

Do you have any questions about redesigning or rebuilding your website? Ask us in the comments section below!

A Complete Guide to Redesigning Your Website

The thought of overhauling your entire site can seem daunting. Maybe you’re a solo entrepreneur, or your site needs a serious refresh. Ignoring the problem may seem easier than confronting it. Unfortunately, an outdated, underperforming website won’t drive conversions and may even damage your reputation.

Trends change over time, and web design is no different. If your site is starting to look behind the times, it may be time for a redesign. Fortunately, the process doesn’t have to be challenging. 

In this post, we’ll explore the various factors to consider when approaching a website redesign. We’ll then share advice for a friction-free revamp. Let’s get started! 

An Introduction to Website Redesign (and Why Your Site May Benefit From a Makeover)

A redesign is where you make significant modifications to your website. Unlike a site refresh, a redesign typically involves far-reaching changes. These may include everything from updating your content to changing your website’s structure, or a complete visual overhaul like a new color scheme.

With a redesign, you’ll typically change both your site’s visual appearance and its underlying code. For example, you might roll out new branding while also restructuring your site’s navigation.

An effective redesign can improve the quality of the visitor experience. This can boost your conversion rates and your revenue. 

Since visitors have a positive experience with your site, they’re more likely to remain on your website longer. This increased time on page can improve key metrics used by search engines to rank your content, including your bounce rate and average session duration. In this way, an effective website redesign can improve your position in the search results.

Since a redesign impacts your site’s code, it may also affect its speed and performance. For this reason, you may also want to consider a redesign if your website is currently underperforming. 

If you’re unsure about your site speed, you can put it to the test using a tool such as GTmetrix:

How to Approach Your Website Redesign

Furthermore, you might consider redesigning your site if the User Interface (UI) appears outdated, stale, or no longer reflects your company branding.

If a monitoring tool such as Google Analytics reveals unusually high bounce rates, this is another indication that your site’s design isn’t making the best first impression:

We also recommend a site redesign if your web design, development, or maintenance tools are no longer the best fit for your project. Your website’s needs can evolve, which may make your original systems obsolete. 

If you need help evaluating your site or want to talk about a redesign, our team is happy to help! Simply let us know a bit about your project, and we’ll be in touch. 

Why You May Want to Redesign Your Site With WordPress.com

Powering over 42 percent of the web, WordPress is a hugely popular Content Management System (CMS). If you’re planning a redesign, you may want to consider migrating to WordPress.com as part of your website overhaul.

WordPress.com gives you the flexibility to modify your site’s functionality. It also includes a user-friendly dashboard and dedicated support if you run into any issues. 

You can easily extend WordPress core using plugins. With thousands of add-ons available, you have lots of options: 

How to Approach Your Website Redesign

You can also change your site’s look and feel at any point by installing a theme. You’ll find hundreds of choices for all kinds of websites:

How to Approach Your Website Redesign

Furthermore, an effective redesign can make your site easier to find in the search results. As a fast, search engine-friendly platform, WordPress.com can amplify these benefits. 

Some plugins, such as Yoast SEO, can even explicitly improve your position in the search engine result pages. Most users never scroll past the first page of Google’s search results. Therefore, you’ll likely want to do everything in your power to climb those rankings. 

You can use Yoast SEO to specify the keyword you want to rank for. The plugin will then evaluate your content and provide actionable suggestions on how to target this word or phrase: 

How to Approach Your Website Redesign

To ensure your site provides the best possible user experience, you may also want to install performance-focused WordPress plugins. 

Jetpack Boost promises to help improve your search engine performance with a single click. In particular, the plugin promises to increase your Core Web Vitals score. This is a new set of performance criteria used by Google to rank sites in its search results. By improving your Core Web Vitals score using tools such as Jetpack Boost, you can boost your rankings and traffic. 

How to Prepare for a Website Redesign

When preparing for a site overhaul, we recommend taking stock of your current design. You can then identify any problem areas. These may be anything from a shopping cart that’s frequently abandoned to a slow-loading video gallery.

When analyzing your site, it may help to study its traffic and behavioral patterns using a tool such as Google Analytics. This platform can help you pinpoint any underperforming pages. 

For example, if a page is experiencing a higher-than-average bounce rate, you may want to take a closer look at it.

You don’t necessarily have to change every part of your website. There may be some elements that already deliver the desired results. It’s essential to identify these features so that you can ensure they survive the website redesign process. 

Once you’ve identified your problem pages, it may help to use a visual reporting tool such as Aurora Heatmap, which can provide a deeper insight into the issues within that individual webpage.

During this phase, it’s important to identify your goals. This process enables you to focus on achieving specific results with your redesign. For example, if you want to improve your email conversions, you may want to focus on redesigning your site’s signup forms.

When revamping your website, it’s also wise to keep your target audience firmly in mind. Before you start planning your redesign, consider creating a buyer persona — a fictional character who represents your ideal customer. 

After performing this research, you can consolidate all of the information into a wish list. This can be an invaluable resource if you choose to partner with a third party, such as a designer or developer. 

How to Redesign Your WordPress Website

If redesigning your website feels like a huge task, you may benefit from some specialist help. That might involve partnering with a designer who can create an entirely new look for your website, or working with a developer who can implement the proposed changes. 

Working with multiple third parties will inevitably add more costs and complexities to your website redesign. For this reason, we recommend finding a partner who can manage the entire project, from creating the initial design to updating your website.

At Built By WordPress.com, our expert team can turn your ideas into a design for a world-class and mobile-friendly site suited to your needs. We can then bring this vision to life while also optimizing your content for SEO and performance:

How to Approach Your Website Redesign

If you’re looking to migrate to the WordPress.com platform, our team can even transfer all your content for you. Regardless of your current platform, we can guarantee a friction-free transition to the WordPress CMS, with minimal impact on SEO and no interruptions to your existing users. 

To find out how our team of WordPress specialists can help you, simply tell us more about your site by filling out this short form. We’ll then evaluate your needs and contact you with personalized recommendations and website redesign costs. 

Redesign Your Website Today

It’s always better to confront a problem head-on rather than ignoring it and hoping that it goes away. An outdated, sluggish, or underperforming website is no exception. 

If your site desperately needs a redesign, Built By WordPress.com can bring it into line with the latest trends. Once your website is back at the cutting edge, you should see an increase in your search engine rankings, conversions, site speed, and everything in between. 

Got questions about how to ace your next website redesign? Our team of design and development experts is on-hand to offer their expert advice!