“But, do we really need a website? Will that get more people to come to our events?”

These are the questions I get from bar or venue owners when I talk to them about web development strategies. And, my answer is not always yes.

 

In fact, if we are talking about a venue that isn’t offering a specialized value proposition to a market that isn't well-defined and high-value, then my answer is invariably no. If we are talking about a venue that wants to create a website with the same tired Squarespace template as their competitor, that their users would have no reason or desire, and may actually be disappointed or inconvenienced, to visit, my answer is a definitive no.

These are my methods for creating a website for a bar or venue that is actually worth using.

1. Build Exclusivity

If the goal of your venue is to deliver a generic or predictable experience to your customers, you’re better off making your venue as easily available to as many people as possible. But, if you want to deliver a unique, special, and memorable experience, it’s best to make that experience exclusive. A website is a great way to this.

 

Your site will by definition be less discoverable than facebook, but users who do take the extra second to click through to your site from social media, are the customers who are truly interested and excited by your venue. So, by posting only some events to social media and posting events with a specific value offering only to your site, you’re making those events and your venue an exclusive and valuable destination for customers.

Building exclusivity will be a recurring theme in many of these features, as it can increase the perception of value in the eyes of your customers and improve brand loyalty.

2. Create A VIP Mailing List

Build a contact form into your website that offers exclusive VIP access to future events. Don’t treat it like a newsletter. Treat this as a way for your customers to feel valued and access value.

You can also create deals and lower, promotional prices that are available only to your VIP customers ie. the subscribers to your list.

3. Embedded Music & Video

Video is perhaps the most interactive way to engage customers for a venue. Pictures and text just can’t convey the same visceral glimpse into what your venue is offering that video can. Particularly if that video is not simply isolated in a small youtube video box, but instead built dynamically into the homepage of your site, creating an immersive experience for potential customers. 

If musical performance is a part of your venue, it’s important that users can experience a taste of the style and quality of your future performers so they can confirm they’re interested in attending events.

4. Map & Calendar Integration

Having an integrated Google Map embedded on your site will allow potential customers see the location of your venue in an accurate, visual way that typing out directions can’t accomplish.

Likewise, integrating a calendar that is automatically updated based on events and hours, allows users to visualize your venue’s schedule.

There’s nothing worse than having to read through a long list of events to find out what’s happening on a particular day. These UX tools serve to make your site a platform that is worthwhile for users to visit, rather than just a triviality.

 

5. Search

Having a customized search bar integrated into your site will make it easy to find particular pages or events by simply typing it in letting the search app scour your site for relevant keywords.

 

Advanced search that incorporates search parameters is also a valid edition depending on the size of the site.​

6. Online Surveys, Invitations, Chat & Call​

Taking surveys and sending invitations through your website is a great way to increase user engagement.

 

In addition, implementing a chat app that allows users to communicate with customer service in real time is highly appreciated by potential customers.

 

A call button, that allows the user to call the venue through the site with a simple click, can also add to the UX.​

7. Ecommerce Integration

Integrating an ecommerce page into your site can allow you to easily sell branded merchandise to your customers, in a seamless, easy way, that won’t force you to pay large fees to third parties by selling it elsewhere.

 

Merch is not only a way to increase revenue, but can also be part of a marketing strategy that encourages word-of-mouth buzz.

8. Blog

A blog can be a terrific way to drive traffic and increase engagement with your site, as well as promote your venue through content marketing. Each piece of content gives users another reason to visit your site by offering valuable information.

 

It can also be useful for increasing discoverability of a venue if implemented with an effective search engine optimization strategy.​

9. Affiliates & Cross-Promotion

An affiliates page that promotes other venues or businesses that aren’t in competition with yours is another great way to increase discoverability and exposure.

In this way, you can develop a network of websites, each filling different needs of the same market.

Both sites provide more value to potential customers and optimize their Google pagerank as a result. Just make sure your affiliates aren’t in direct competition for your niche.

 

10. Customized & Event-Specific Landing Pages​

For premium events, it can be helpful for you or your webmaster to design a customized landing page that features all the information about the upcoming in an integrated, centralized way.

 

A landing page can make an impression in promoting an upcoming event by featuring a striking design, music & videos of the performers, visible event details, and reference to past events if it’s part of a recurring series of performances, all in one place.​

11. Mobile Optimization

Finally, none of these features will accomplish what you want them to unless they provide the same experience on mobile.

 

As users increasingly browse the web with their phone, you must make sure that when they do so, they can use your site efficiently.​

Think twice before building a site for your bar or venue just for the hell of it. A bad site can be counterproductive, but a quality website can do wonders to provide potential customers a more integrated web experience and work towards building a powerful brand and platform for your venue.​

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How To Create A Website For A Bar or venue 

“But, do we really need a website? Will that get more people to come to our events?”

These are the questions I get from bar or venue owners when I talk to them about web development strategies.

And, my answer is not always yes.

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