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Are website a must for caterers?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I am a private chef and I have found that my website is the most important marketing tool for my company. The only issue is that people need to find my website or else it is absolutely useless!

So my questions is this::D

Does anyone knows how to rank highier on search engine beside key words?

I would appreciate any good clues!

thanks
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #2 of 15

Web ranking

There are two ways to get better web exposure on yahoo, google etc.

#1 Pay per click advertising

#2 Write a site of "Quality"

Most good search engines won't accept money for a higher placement in their basic search results. They will however take money to place your advertisement next to the real search results.

The real trick is to have good quality links on your page that go somewhere (Like another page on your site hopefully) and lead the guest to content rich "relevant" information. Also slimy tricks like adding "Young girls" to your meta tags just for more traffic are all but useless.

I am just currently dealing with my site and all the problems associated with clicks, placement etc.

Good luck to us all!
"You are only as good as who you hire."
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"You are only as good as who you hire."
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post #3 of 15
Be sure you include your website address in your signature for any forum you post on like this one.

The search sites will see this and start ranking you higher. The more sites that link to yours, the higer your ranking.

By including your website in your signature, you are creating a link to it. Most forums are ok with this. This would include any forums that you post on, even non food/cooking forums.
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the best to help you target your clients.

check it out. I have set up my website with it, and now I get great reports and I rank highier.

Most restaurant have website now, so if you know more about ranking it could add a skill to your resume.

ciao,
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #5 of 15
I've got someone developing mine now.....a couple of my competitor's sites have sample menus and prices with the amounts of people served ie:

University Reception Heavy Aps
$28 pp 125 served
4 passed aps (blah blah blah.......)
5 open sandwiches
veg tray
dip

This in lew of having alot of Chinese menu type things......
There's one that estimates 3 different weddings including rentals/staff.....approximating costs of course depending on the site selected since rentals reflect the sites.

There is one caterer that is very busy and has NO Menus on her site. I assume it's to cut down on lowballing.....which is smart too.....I've gotten events by umphing up a competitor's menu and decreasing the cost, and others have done the same to me......

Thoughts? My catering biz is based around using whatever looks good at market or designing menus to fit the event. Plus there's a whole lotta play involved.....coming up with names then creating the dish, keeps boredom done.

I've not hired a professional photographer but may see about bartering food for film (oops not anymore.....guess it's chips).
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #6 of 15
Take this with a grain of salt as I've never done a catering site....on the other hand in my past life I did internet marketing for some of the largest companies on the planet.

IMO I wouldn't put any sort of pricing on the site at all, period. There's very little it can do for you, but quite a lot it can do against you.

If you want to focus on a very specific type of clientele then by all means put together creative examples of dishes/menus that would attract that target audience, but if you do so you can forget about getting inquiries from far outside that audience (i.e. you're likely to not get calls to do fish frys if you're displaying foix gras in your menu :) ). So you have to be careful if you depend on a variety of work to pay the bills. This is by far the hardest part of marketing as most businesses, particularly small ones, want to say that they can be 'all things to all people' for fear of excluding a potential customer...but it's virtually impossible to market yourself successfully if you do so.

If you've got an impressive background then personal bio's do very well on these types of sites.

If you do both low end and high end gigs, you'd be much better off creating a 'virtual' division of your company and branding it separately with its own website, etc. Have biz cards made for each, and then you can target each market more aggressively, and more successfully, without the fear of exclusion.

In regards to the earlier question of how to rank higher, drive traffic, etc. This is as much an art as it is a science, and unfortunately for small businesses they are at a distinct disadvantage of not being able to hire and maintain the professional firms that the big boys do. It really is quite a lot of work, and requires a lot of research and learning. Outside of very focused keywords, and the tricks of the trade in regards to weighting those keywords properly throughout the site, you'll need to regularly update/add content throughout the site. The more regular your updates, the more often your site is indexed.

Lastly, don't expect immediate results. 3 months is average amount of time it will take for full indexes of your site to be created and populated to the search engines.

The good news is that you happen to be in an ideal business for direct marketing. Don't worry so much about keyword ranking, and instead focus on pay-per-click as mentioned by someone earlier. If you live in St. Louis and someone searches for "Saint Louis Catering" you can be absolutely assured that getting that persons attention via a paid ad is worth the amount of money it will cost (anywhere from .02 to .25 per click average depending on competition for the keywords you want to buy and the ad rank you want). You know they are local to you, you know they want a catering firm. This is a huge boost over most types of businesses which have to market at a far more general level, and the number of competitors you'll have online is far less.

Lastly, provide an incentive in your ad. Whether it be a 'percentage off', 'free consultation', or whatever. Intelligent incentives work and you make up the profit on the backend. Once they've clicked through it's important that the site be professional, if you can't afford a professionally developed one there is a trick that usually works. Go to a large web template site (templatemonster.com for example) , find a 'Full Site' template you like, then write out the content that you'd want on each page of that template, get digital copies of your logo together and any photography that you might want on a page. Then call a small web development company, tell them that you have already selected a template, and you've already written the copy for each page. *DON'T* start asking "can it also do this", "what about this", etc., etc. Tell them that you will work around their schedule and that you just need it put together and published to an inexpensive web host that they would recommend. They should be able to accomplish that in 2-3 hours of billable time (50-150 dollars per hour depending on firm and location) and most firms will gladly take any work that they can use as filler work in between their other jobs.

Cheers
post #7 of 15
Your menus look wonderful! My only comment is that the fall catering menu was very hard to read superimposed over the lovely autumn scene. Maybe it's my browser or maybe it's just me, but I almost gave up.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 

thanks

I won't do that again! I just liked the color:)
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
You don't have to have prices. I do very well without. I find that it cut down on deal seekers. 98% of the inquiry I get are serious and most of time don't ask about prices. They are looking more about a service and/or a personnality than deal. But that's my area!

Even my menu is obsolite... because I rarely do anything on it! I custom menu for each clients... it's mostly to sparks some ideas... and show them that I don't do sandwiches and cold cut trays:smoking:

I now have PAYPAL for people to give me quick deposits to reserve any dates... I love it, even if it cost me a few bukcs, it speed things up a lot and allow me to book other clients and have less clients waiting in line!!

ciao for now,
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #10 of 15
thats a good idea! customize menu for every customer.
post #11 of 15
just finishing the editing of my new site.......would love comments, boy this is a timely thread. Cool, the edit worked.
http://www.chanterellecatering.net
TIA
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #12 of 15
oh yeah, the child on the Home page is my 19 year old (when he was 11) with the bumper crop of chanterelles we found around our home (inside a large metro area)!!!
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #13 of 15
I admire you for getting opinions.

I had a flier done by a friend to put up at the stores where I wholesale my stuff. I glanced at it and said it was good to go. A week later, one of the store owners told me I might want to check out my flier. He had such a smirk on his face, I knew something was spelled dreadfully wrong.

It said The Portable Panty.

My business is called THe Portable Pantry.

:eek: :eek:

I told him that my panties were portable. He got a huge kick out of the whole thing. I'm a better proofreader now.....
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

shroomgirl

shroomgirl, I did have a look at your site.

I like the color scheme, the easy to navigate button, and overall very a very nice webiste.

I DON'T like that you don't have a testamonial page. I ask ALL my clients give me quotes and pictures from the event that I post on that page. Most of the visitors I get on my website go read the quotes. It powerful to read about how much fun others have had...

I DON'T like that you don't have Meta Tag: with Description and Keywords. A website that people can't find on SEARCH ENGINE is not helping you make a living. FIX that and money will come.

You can all test how efficient your website is with this link:
http://www.instantposition.com/seotestresults.php

Also, you should all check out Google Analytics... it's free and a great tool to rank highier on all search engine.


good luck
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
Martin Laprise
Author of "My daughter wants to Be a Chef!"
www.thechefinstead.ca

“A cook who invest a few bucks every week is a smart cook"
Reply
post #15 of 15
testimonials are on my to do list......catering(Wash U, Reg high profile client), directing stage work(the group that hires me and some of the name chefs), consulting with schools (both universities and grade schools), teaching (high profile students).....

site was just made last Thurs, put together by a friend that just enjoys working with the web. Putting links to and from the venues is a must......

Thanks for the feedback.
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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