Quick Review – Catering By Design

Website Review – Catering by Design

I made an offer to my friends at the International Caterers Association to give some quick tips for website design tweaks. I need to preface this by saying I don’t have all the answers. I would LOVE for you to comment below with your suggestions for this page.

The reason I’m doing this is because these are some of the BEST catering companies in the world! They deserve to have websites that convey that message to those who come across their sites. There will probably be a lot of repetition in these quick reviews because I’m going to focus on sales-based design techniques as opposed to ascetics (which are more of a matter of opinion). I want to start with one of my all-time favorite companies, Catering by Design from Colorado.

Here’s the best case way to see their site (aspect changed and on a laptop)

ica-international-caterers-association

 

From this view, it’s got a lot going right. It’s visually appealing, clean, and looks very modern. There’s even some social media elements to it. I would say almost everything they need is right here but not in the right order or given the space some of it deserves.

Without adjusting anything with my browser (Firefox), this is how I see the page:

ica international caterers association ises

 

Seeing the site this way leaves some of the most important sections of the website to the below the fold (newspaper and website term meaning the user has to scroll to see). The goal of a catering website should be to activate a user to contact your company. This is not an e-commerce site. First time catering clients needs to meet with a company or (at the very least) call/e-mail the caterer before they need to make a buying decision.

The “Contact Us” section should be very obvious and at the top of the page (in the main navigation bar). Same goes for the phone number. There are various things that could turn on a potential client. The right sentence or picture could excite them enough to want to call you. Website researchers are fickle, however. You want it to be VERY convenient for them to get in touch with you at any opportunity that might convert them. This means your phone number and Contact Us page should be at the top of each page.

Besides the Contact Page being hidden, the other biggest miss is a lack of anchor copy on the front page. Search Engines need copy to latch on to so that your site can be found. There needs to be a description of what you do and where you do it somewhere on the front page of your site. As beautiful as these pictures are (and they are!) search engines don’t really see them. If you want someone who is actively looking for a (i.e. ready to give money to) “Denver Caterer”, there needs to be something on your site that helps them find you.

From a design perspective, the slider images could move on their own to entice people with different images and they could be 75% smaller and would be just as effective while moving more relevant data above the fold. I also think that each of the different divisions run by Catering by Design could get their own images under the slider to increase the effectiveness of each of those areas.

The inclusion of an easy to find (and not grey size 8 font on a white background at the bottom of the page) would make the site much more functional to the needs of a mobile user too. Here’s the site in mobile (iPhone 5 through Safari):

website-review-marketing

There are a few other tweaks I would make to the sitemap of this page but the ones I mentioned are a few easy tweaks that would impact Catering by Design’s bottom line.

I did a REALLY crude mock up of where I would move everything. I hope there are a few tips that everyone can walk away with here. Great companies often don’t get a chance to shine because of their website designs. It would be a shame if their web experiences didn’t match the experiences they would have at a world-class (literally) Catering by Design Event.

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