Why do you need a personal chef website?
When you’ve decided to start on a personal chef business, it’s critical to establish a presence online so that customers can find you and get to know you. Some personal chefs delay setting up a personal chef website because they don’t want to put themselves out in the public sphere and frankly, it takes some effort and time to do so. They would rather try to rely on only word-of-mouth, the white pages or respond to requests for personal chefs on places like Craigslist to try to grow their business. But put yourself in a target customer’s shoes. If you are a time-strapped person looking for a knowledgeable and talented chef to help you eat better, how are you going to look for and decide on a personal chef to try?
The Internet is probably the most common place people start their search for nearly everything these days and especially so for busy people who may not have time to ask around for a recommendation. But just putting something online that is poorly designed and incomplete is not enough. Most customers will try to find between 2-5 potential personal chefs that they want to talk to and learn about further before making their final decision, and you probably won’t make even this first list if your competitors are making more information available online like their menus, their pricing, their backgrounds and even customer reviews/ testimonials. If you looked at 10 personal chef websites and five of them only had information about how the chef really loves cooking and has a few poorly taken pictures on the food they’ve made and no other information, while the other five listed comprehensive information about everything their customers should know and expect, which do you think will make the short list? Even if you are attracting customers in other ways (e.g., responding to calls on Craigslist), it’s still very useful to have a robust internet presence so that you don’t have to re-explain everything to each customer – you can just send them the webpage where they can find all the information that they need.
Six steps to establishing yourself online as a personal chef
So now that you’re convinced that you need to do something online, where to get started? Here, we outline five simple steps to establishing your personal chef business online. While it may take some time and effort, these days there are great tools online that allow even very small businesses to effectively establish an online presence with minimal costs.
- Pick the place where you are going to build your online presence At SomaPersonalChefs.com, we strive to make it easy for personal chefs of all types to start and strengthen their online presence and be found by potential customers. Not only do you not have to deal with purchasing a domain name, getting hosting, designing a website, and maintaining it constantly, it’s completely free for personal chefs to get started and be found by potential clients. We’ve already designed a customer-friendly website that you can use, work all the time to attract more customers to the personal chefs on our platform, and all you need to do is provide the information that you want to share with your potential customers. Fill out this simple form to get started. If you decide that you also want to build your own website, then check out companies like squarespace.com and wix.com that have easy drag-and-drop tools to allow small businesses and individuals to build professional-looking websites without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on a computer programmer. They also have free versions (some only for a trial period) that will allow you to build a very simple website though you might not have access to all the functionality that you would want. Using a service like SquareSpace or Wix can be very convenient because they can act as a one-stop shop for common needs such as getting a domain name and hosting but you will still need to spend time on the design, maintenance, and marketing.
- Gather the needed information Whether you decide to create an online presence on SomaPersonalChefs.com, your own website or both, you’ll need to spend some time gathering the information to put in that space. At minimum, you would want to gather the following: a) personal bio covering your cooking experience and training, b) the cities that you serve, c) your pricing, and d) a comprehensive sample menu. Optional but nice-to-have additional information include customer testimonials and some writing for ‘How it works’ and ‘FAQs’ to cover questions you think potential clients might have. You can write this directly online into the place where you are depositing this information or you can write it in a Word document and copy and paste it after you are done.
- Take great pictures Great pictures can communicate so much to potential customers about the quality of your food and your professionalism. Even if you swear that your food tastes great, if there are no pictures that customers can look at or the pictures are grainy, poorly lighted, or just not good, your customers are likely to gravitate towards someone else who does present a better picture of their craft. Fortunately, taking high-quality pictures is now easier than ever with advanced cameras being built into many smartphones. Check out this article from SeriousEats for some tips that will make a big difference in the quality of your food photos. As for the quantity of photos, perhaps you don’t need to take photos of every single dish on your menu but you should aspire to start with at least 8-12 photos. You can then build your library over time as you cook additional dishes for yourself and your clients.
- Transfer the information onto the internet The next step is to get your writing from step 1 and pictures from step 2 onto the location that you’ve selected – whether that is Soma, your own website or both. If you are using SomaPersonalChefs.com, all you need to do is send us the information through this form and/or email and our team will do the rest. If you are setting up your own website, it will depend on the service that you use.
- Share your content throughout your networks Once you’ve set yourself online, email the link to your friends and family and share it on your social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Ongoing work needed to maintaining yourself online
Like any other marketing efforts, using the Internet to grown your business is not a one-time deal. It will need regular attention to continue to give you positive results. The most important thing is consistency and persistence – and here are the things you want to consider over time.
- Log reviews – As you grow your customer base, make sure that you’re regularly asking them for reviews. One advantage of using SomaPersonalChefs.com is that for any customers that book you through our website, they can leave reviews for your service on our website that we can verify are written by the actual customer which increases trust for future potential customers who read it.
- Update content periodically so visitors know you are still active- Whether it’s by generating reviews or writing a blog post, adding new content periodically (with the date shown on when you’ve added or updated that content) will let visitors know that you are still active. There are a lot of defunct websites out there, including for personal chefs and you want to be clear to potential customers that you are still operating and welcome their contact!
- Consider making more online connections so that you increase the likelihood that potential customers find you Creating an online presence for your personal chef business is a very important step in growing your customer base but it’s only the first step. There are many further ways to develop your marketing efforts online, including search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertising, content generation, listing and aggregation websites and much more. There are whole blogs dedicated to each one of these topics so I won’t cover it here but if you have the appetite for it, Google is your best friend in learning more. Of course, we do all of these and more for our personal chefs here at Soma, so don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to establish your profile with us.