Websites that Work

The Gazebo venues know the importance of aligning their site with their branding.

Six top tips to make your venue web savvy

By Melanie Topham

Melanie is the ex-head graphic designer for one of the market leaders of the Sydney bar scene – Keystone Hospitality. In January 2008 she formed the design agency Tomorrow People, where she is the senior creative director. Email Melanie at


A good web site has become imperative to a venue’s success – it’s the face of your venue. From the moment they land on your home page, visitors make snap judgments about the service, quality and style of your bar, restaurant or pub. Frankly, if your site does not cut the mustard chances are they will not bother trying out your bar. On the other hand, if your site is great, it could be a way to reach more potential customers.

To make things easy for you, I’ve taken my experience as the senior creative director at Tomorrow People to give you 6 tops tips to get the best out of your site.

1. Your site is your brand

Get your branding right before you start building your website. Your site is the first impression of your brand so you need to make sure it is hitting your target market. If you are pitching your venue to a chilled out locals crowd don’t create a site that’s overly flashy and night clubby. You want to entice them to visit your venue, not scare them away.

“Frankly, if your site does not cut the mustard chances are they will not bother trying out your bar.”

2. Keep it simple

Functionality is the secret to a great site. No one has time to spend hours trawling a site for info, they want to get in and out quickly. Keep text to a minimum, short and sharp is the key. People are visual, capture their attention through images and make sure site design reflects the look and feel of your venue.

3. Capture customer details

1 in 10 people don’t click past the first page of a website, so this is why it is vital to get their attention here. Or even better, capture their information so that you can continue to communicate with them. Make it easy for them to sign up to your database, have a ‘sign up to our database’ form on your home page and give them incentive to do so. For example, create an exclusive membership, those that sign up receive special benefits/ discounts etc.

4. Convert visits to sales

Make it easy for people. Have forms on your site where people can automatically reserve a table, make an enquiry or book a function. Give them access to material readily, have up to date menu’s and functions packs on your site. Incorporate a ‘send to a friend’ button so that they can easily forward information about your venue on to others.

Sugarmill update their site regularly to ensure they keep up with their young, cutting edge target market

5. Keep it current

Update regularly, if people can see something happening on the site, they know it’s a functioning site and venue. Build your site with a content management system so that you can upload regular promotions, music listings etc. Create a social gallery where people log on to view recent photos of themselves and friends.

Also, if your business uses social media such as Facebook, Twitter, My Space or blogging to promote customer interest, be sure to link to these accounts from your website to make it easy for customers to join.

6. Search Engine Optimisation

Increase your natural search listing rank through search engine optimisation tactics. Using a savvy web developer will ensure your website is built to maximise your search engine listing.

For more information about website design contact tomorrow people

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