There are ten mistakes personal chefs most often make when creating their websites.
10 Mistakes to Avoid when creating your personal chef website
#1 The biggest mistake is on the home page. I see personal chefs often putting information about themselves on the home 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?
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 home page. The landing page really needs to be all about the potential client and what you can do for them.
Mistake #2 is using more words than photos.
The second mistake is being super wordy so the website reads like a novel. One to three lines describing your services is sufficient, plus a little blurb about your background. There should be more images of your work on your website than words!
I was definitely a victim of this mistake myself when 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.
It's a harsh reality, but nobody is spending more than one minute on your website. Really! They don't want to read an intensive "about me" section. Remember, the website is supposed to be all about how you can help them. How does your background help them?
#3 The third mistake I see is in the chef photo. The chef photo should look exactly like you would appear 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. They may think you've sent your son/daughter in your place when showing up for the consultation! The photo does not have to be professionally done. A current photo taken with your cell phone is just fine.
#4 Posting poor quality food photos as representative of past work
The fourth mistake is posting poor quality food photos on the website. By quality, I don’t mean the quality of the food, I mean the quality of the photo. The lighting makes all the difference.
Cell phone cameras have come a long way. The reason why some food photos posted on websites don’t look appetizing is that the images 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.
#5 Not focusing on a niche
Your services should be listed on your personal chef website, but you don’t need to list every single service 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." Trying to please everyone with every service possible will please nobody.
#6 Not clearly stating your location
It seems obvious, but the number six mistake (and the most common!) is not listing a 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 city AND state. Do you know how many Springfields there are in the United States?
#7 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.
#8 Posting links to old social media platforms
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 you went out of business.
#9 Not updating regularly
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 view 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.
#10 Having zero personality
Your website should be a reflection of who you are. It should show off your personality. Put some you into your website! Designing a website is fun! Put some fun into it and add your personality.
Best Wishes & Much Success to You, Virginia Stockwell