Vancouver’s Coffee Culture
If you own a coffee shop these days, you need to make sure that people can find you online easily. In a small town, you may get by with being one of the few coffee shops. However, in a city like Vancouver, where I live, it takes a bit more to be discovered. According to this Vancouver Barista page, there are over 175 coffee shops in this city that they have reviewed (and probably many more that they have not). This brings up three questions.
- If someone wants to learn more out about your coffee shop, can they visit your website?
- If they can visit your website, will it be clean and informative enough for them to get the information they want?
- And lastly, if people search for a coffee shops, will your website show up high enough in the search results?
It’s clear that people love their coffee shops. I myself am a fan. You can often find me sitting in one of the many coffee shops in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood of Vancouver. That being said, when I’m looking for a coffee shop in any other neighbourhood, the first thing I do is pull out my phone and search for coffee shops around me. And to be honest, the coffee shops that show up on the first few results of the page is where I end up.
So, let’s take a look at the three questions I asked above. You’ll want to make sure your cafe is covered when someone searches for coffee shops around them.
If someone wants to learn more out about your coffee shop, can they visit your website?
This one is kind of an easy one. The question really comes down to one thing. Do you have a website?
If yes, you’re off to a good start! If no, it may be time to invest in getting a website set up for your cafe. There are two things you’ll need here.
- A Domain Name: This is your website’s address or URL. Ideally, you want this to be your business name.
- A Website Hosting Service: This is where you would host your website. You’ll actually need to have your website living in a place where it can be served up when someone goes to your site. I also suggest consider going with a service that supports WordPress sites (more on this below).
A quick Google search will show you tons of results for services that sell both. For my own website, I’ve chosen to go with Namecheap for both the domain name registration and web hosting services. The features and the pricing for the services provided matched my needs. Check them out to see if they are right for you. Full disclosure, this is an affiliate link.
If they can visit your website, will it be clean and informative enough for them to get the information they want?
There are a number of reasons why a customer may want to check out your website before coming in for a visit. They could be looking for your business hours, address, or food and drink menu. They may want to see pictures of the cafe to see if they would enjoy spending time in it. Whatever the reason may be, if they get to your page and are underwhelmed, they’ll move on.
So, you’ll want to spend a bit of time thinking about the design and content of your website. If you have website building skills, then you’re probably okay here. But for the business owner who may not be familiar with how to build websites, I suggest going with WordPress!
WordPress is great if you want something fast or if you want to spend the time customize every aspect of your site. With a large number of themes you can pick from, all you need to do is find one that you like and start to customize your site. Some themes are easier to edit than others, but you can try different ones until you find the right one for you. There are also tons of plugins on WordPress which allow you to make all kinds of enhancements to your site.
If people search for coffee shops, will your website show up high enough in the search results?
The thing about people finding your website on Google is that you have to make your page Google friendly through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google is smart, really smart! It knows to show people relevant search results and if your website is not informative enough, your competitors website may show up instead. There is a whole industry around SEO and experts who fine tune corporate pages for a lot of money to rank better on Google.
While your coffee shop may not be competing with global brands, you still need to make sure that people who search for local coffee shops on Google find you. The nice thing about WordPress, again, is that there are plugins you can use for this. They can help you figure out what SEO tactics you can take to further improve the pages on your website. I personally use the popular Yoast SEO plugin.
Don’t forget about social media as you start to build that website or make improvements to it. It is a very powerful tool that can help bring new customers into your store as well as keep your existing ones coming back! Social media is an incredible platform to help build a community around your coffee shop. By posting fun and relevant content and engaging with your community, you’ll create a dedicated fan base who will end up doing a ton of free marketing for you.
You can also use social media as a platform to host contents, promote new items on the menu, update customers on what’s happening at the cafe, and more! Personally, I’m a fan of Instagram as it’s my go-to social media platform but you shouldn’t overlook Facebook, SnapChat, and other social channels that the rest of your community may be a part of. Give your customers a bit of an insight into the “behind the scenes” at your coffee shop and keep them engaged.
That’s all, folks!
Most of this may already be familiar to a lot of you and if it was new to anyone, I hope you found it valuable! If you are local coffee shop in Vancouver who is still feeling a bit overwhelmed about setting up a website or running your social media channels, feel free to reach out to me here. Let’s have a cup of coffee and just chat. We can simply discuss tactics, I can try to answer any questions you may have, and if you’re looking for some help with it, we can discuss that too!