There are ten mistakes most chefs make on their websites. I see these over and over. Here is my list of the ten mistakes to avoid when creating a chef website.
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10 Mistakes to Avoid when creating your personal chef website
The biggest one is the landing page. When creating websites, I see chefs often putting information about themselves on the landing page. Think about the potential client looking online for personal chef services in your area. When they click on your website, do you know what they’re thinking? “What can you do for me?” They’re truly not interested in learning the chef’s background. The chef’s background should be there, but on a different page than the landing page. The landing page really needs to be all about the potential client and what you can do for them.
Use more photos than words
The second mistake is being super wordy on the website so it reads like a novel. You want to have one to three lines describing your services, a little blurb about your background, etc. There should be more food photos on your website than words.
I was definitely a victim of this myself and spent creating what I thought was a great website. I sent it over to my friend and asked, “tell me your honest feedback – what do you think?” Her only response was “too wordy.” She was so right. I think I was trying to answer all the questions a potential client might have, when I truly could answer them in a consultation. All I needed to have on my website was basic information about my services, who I am, sample menus and food photos. No one is really hanging out on my website.
The third mistake I see is the chef photo. You want the photo to look like you when showing up for a consultation. The potential client should be able to recognize you. Having a photo from ten years ago really isn’t going to work. It doesn’t have to be a professional photo. A current photo taken with your cell phone is just fine.
Choose food photos that showcase the best of your work
The fourth mistake is the quality of food photos on the website. By quality, I don’t mean the quality of the food, I mean the quality of the photo. It’s the lighting that makes all the difference. Cell phone cameras have come a long way. The reason why some food photos don’t look so good is that they were taken years ago. It’s time to go to your cook sessions and take some new photos, then begin slowly uploading and changing those photos to something that really showcases what you can do for your clients.
Focus on your niche
The number five mistake I see is not focusing on your niche. You might list your services on your website, but you don’t need to list every single service you ever did or that you plan on doing. You probably have one main service that makes most of your income or that you super enjoy doing, so talk about that. Spend a whole page talking about it, then on the side, “also, I offer these services.” You don’t want to list extensively about all the services that you do, because again, you’re getting into too wordy territory.
Clearly list your city and state
It seems obvious, but the number six mistake is not listing service location on your website. You know you’ve looked around some other chef websites, so don’t act like you haven’t. Have you ever been looking around on a chef’s website and wondered, “where are they?” It’s not clear. You have to hunt all over the website to try and figure out what location they’re serving.
Even though it may be obvious, you want to list your state as well. Do you know how many Springfields there are in the United States? You want to be really particular about what location you’re serving.
Contact Form or List Your Email?
I suppose this one is subjective, but the number seven mistake I see, and again this is subjective, is putting a contact form on your website instead of listing your email. Why do you feel the need to put a contact form on there? You’re making someone work to contact you. They have to click on the name field, fill out their name, click down on the email field, fill out their email, click down to the message field, then finally fill out their message.
If you omit the contact form and instead provide a contact email, the client will provide more information than you’re expecting. When they use their email to directly contact you and you reply back, you’re also less likely to land in their spam folder.
When was the last time you posted on your social media?
The number eight mistake I see is listing a social platform like Facebook or Instagram, then when a potential client clicks on the link, they arrive on a page that hasn’t had a post in six months. If you’re listing social media platforms as other avenues for potential clients to check out your work, you want to be sure it’s updated or it appears that you went out of business.
Add this to your quarterly to-do checklist
Speaking of updating regularly, number nine is that you need to add into your work calendar to check your website at least quarterly and make sure everything is up-to-date. You might be surprised, “oh yeah, I don’t offer that service anymore,” though you forgot to take the service off your website.
When you haven’t seen your website in a while, it’s also nice to come back and see it with fresh eyes, “wow, you know what, this photo over here is not showing off my best work.” It’s cool to step back and take a fresh look back every quarter.
Put some personality into it
My tenth offering is to make your website interesting. Your website should be a reflection of who you are. It should show off your personality. I’m not going to drop hints about what you should do because you know what you need to do to make it more like you.
Making a website is fun! Put some fun into it and add your personality.
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Virginia Stockwell has been in the professional catering and personal chef business since 2005. She offers mentoring advice at VirginiaStockwell.com and her YouTube channel “How to Become a Personal Chef”.