Building your business is hard work. It requires a lot of desire and ingenuity, a bold idea and a good plan. You have to build on your successes and learn from your mistakes. There will be lots of mistakes on the road to success, but don’t let one of those mistakes be the lack of a website presence.
Along with the blood, sweat and tears you put into building your food truck business, it’s important to understand that your website is the public face of your dedication and effort. And it deserves its fair amount of attention.
I’m the founder of Food Revolt and along with being a huge food fanatic, I’ve been an online marketer for many, many years. I’ve been able to grow Food Revolt to one of the largest food truck blogs in the world and I want to help you get started with your food truck website.
Some of the things you’ll learn in this article will shock you and probably disappoint you, but if you LISTEN closely and follow our plan for your website, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition and save a ton of money.
Nobody is going to visit your website
This is the first shocking and hard truth we want to share with you. It sucks. I know. Nobody came to Food Revolt for a loooong time until I built it up over the years. But you don’t have years, do you? You have months, maybe days. Seriously, unless your going to be cranking out hundreds of SEO (search engine optimized) articles each year, chances are you will have very little organic search engine traffic hitting your website. So you’ll need to be very strategic and purpose driven for your marketing plan. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Get started early on your website….like now.
Building your website (your online presence) is super important for your food truck business and you should be building it long before you launch your truck. So if you’re in the planning phase right now then we recommend you secure your domain name (website address) and get started on your hosting plan right away.
Here are three reasons why you want to build your website now, before you even launch or build your truck.
- People love a little suspense. If you build your website and tell them it’s coming soon then they will be foaming at the mouth to try your dishes eventually. It’s like seeing a trailer to a movie and then having to wait 4 months for it to be released. Lots of pent up demand and anticipation is good for any launch plan.
- Gives you time to create your marketing plan. Everything you read in this food truck website guide is going to take a little time so launching your website now for super cheap only makes sense.
- React to customer feedback before you spend money. Now is the time you want to take and leverage customers surveys, collect pre-launch emails, and test out names for your signtaure dishes. Way before you’ve spent a dime on a food truck.
We recommend Blue Host. You’ll get a free domain address (like www.yourtruckname.com) and a hosting plan for $3.95 a month (that’s a special price if you use our link) but honestly, it doesn’t matter who you use just so long as they are inexpensive like Blue Host. Don’t be fooled into thinking you need to spend a ton of money on your website in order to build your brand presence.
It’s just simply not true and anyone that tells you differently just wants your hard earned money. They want to sell you on a dream built around a fancy website and will never be able to guarantee you any results. You’ll want a cheap hosting plan and you’ll want a cheap website template. We’ll recommend templates later on but let’s address the hosting account first.
As long as your hosting company can make it easy for you to install WordPress (Blue Host has 1 click installs of WordPress) and get up and running quickly then you’ll be just fine. The servers are shared (which is what makes it affordable) and you’ll never typically have to worry about your website being down with a major hosting company.
Food truck templates
Now that you have your website hosting set up it’s time to get a theme for your website and install it via your WordPress within your hosting account. Hands down the best marketplace for effective and affordable templates is Theme Forest on the Envato Market. Here is a link to their website with the search query “food truck” already enter into it.
We really like the Food Truck theme by CreateIt-pl. It’s mobile responsive (it looks great on the mobile phone) and it has a version for ANY cuisine you are serving on your truck. Now I know what you might be thinking. “But my dishes are more unique then the rest of the trucks out there and I want my website to be equally as unique.”
Let me throw some cold water on you and wake you up from that money-draining day-dream of yours. You’ll win your customers over by your food and service, not your website. Get a killer logo made up and keep it simple and scale-able and you can slap it on any website you want.
As a matter of fact, we’re in love with their BBQ black theme. It’s big, in your face, and splashy in all the right places.
Make sure you get a .png version of your logo with a transparent background on it so that it fits on any website you end up creating. All of your dish photos should have a transparent background as well, unless they are just going up on your Instagram account.
“If you build it, they will come.”
Not true anymore in the Google-owned internet world. You’re off to a great start though once you have your website and hosting up and running but now it’s time to get even more strategic.
Like I mentioned earlier, unless you stop cooking and crank out tons of blog posts, your website won’t get picked up much by Google for searches. And you’re probably not a writer by trade so it more strategic to have someone else do articles for you. It doesn’t have to be expensive either and this is all part of your “start up” costs.
So what should your articles be about?
We think you should be concentrating on a very narrow list of subjects to maximize the “right” exposure for your food truck business.
- Articles about your specific dishes and tips and tricks in making your specials
- Catering event articles showcasing what you’ve done or what you can do for the next office or birthday party
- Festivals you’ve been at and how they went
We recommend blogging about your dishes because it helps position you as a “thought leader” on that specific cuisine. If your food truck will have an Asian infused theme then you should be writing about those Asian dishes and sharing your recipes and give curious insight into the origins of the food and the specific dishes you make. Educate your customers and they will become endeared to you.
You MUST blog about catering. How it’s done, what you’ve done in the past and how AMAZING their next catering event could be if they just hired your truck. If you haven’t done your first catering event then that’s still ok, you’ll want to fake it to you make it.
Most customers will have their very first memory of your truck at a festival or some block party you’ve attended. People’s memories are short and if you can continuously associate a memory of theirs with a certain place, festival, etc. It will go a long way in them remembering you for the long term. Which is what you want. You want the customer to remember that you were at the “______ Festival” last year so they can remember you’ll be there again this year. Repeat business.
So who’s gonna write all these articles for me?
You should be planning out your food truck right now and trying to save money on the build out rather than worrying about who’s going to write these epic, SEO optimized articles for you. And yes, they MUST BE SEO optimized otherwise no one is going to read them because no one will ever find them on the internet.
You can get this done really inexpensively at Writers Access. We use them a lot to write some of our content pieces for Food Revolt. For a couple of hundred dollars, you could get almost all of your articles done for you within a weekend. The trick is to ensure you make the articles at least 300 words long and ensure they are SEO optimized for keywords that pertain to your food niche.
How do I know what keywords I should target?
Remember, we said earlier that your articles should be focused around your dishes, festivals, and catering. So let’s use an example truck and food niche and specific city to show you how you would come up with some keywords. You only want to target keywords in combination with your city because targeting the words: “pizza food truck, new york” when you’re operating a pizza truck in Houston is not really going to help you much.
Example Truck: A Greek food truck in Chicago
If this was your truck then these are some of the keywords you would want to tell the writers to optimize the articles for.
|greek food truck||greek food festivals||best greek food catering|
|greek food truck chicago||best gyros chicago||summer greek festivals chicago|
Those are just some common sense examples that you might want to target but they could be useless unless you research the amount of internet traffic those keywords are actually getting first. You can do this for free using a website called SemRush.com
You can type in any search term in the homepage and quickly find out how many times each month that people are searching for it. Don’t worry if the count is low like 200+ or something. That’s not the only keyword you’ll be targeting for, so the match could add up really quickly if you have lots of articles all targeting different keywords in your niche. Look at the table below as an example:
|Keywords||Monthly SEO Traffic|
|best greek food trucks||325|
|greek food festivals||210|
|best greek gyro chicago||500|
|greek catering chicago||110|
If you have four killer articles around those specific keywords, you could be getting over 1000 visits a month to your website. It’s a “cumulative” game in the SEO internet world and you have to know how to work the system. If you have a bigger budget then you could always hire a small SEO firm to help you to get to page 1 on Google for specific search terms too.
Social Media for Food Trucks
I dreaded even writing this part of the article to be honest because there are so many moving parts and so many things that might disappoint you that I fear you’ll stop reading this article and move on and go waste a lot of money trying something else only to get ZERO results from it.
So stay with me….
Social media is now a must-have “thingy” in your small business life, but it’s not as important as you think. Frankly, people are not going to follow you on social media to find out where your truck is going to be next. No matter how good your food, no matter how good your service. I know… another disappointment. But you MUST be on social media to be relevant and if you’re not, then it sends red flags to potential customers.
That’s a shitty catch 22 right? Welcome to everyone’s world.
So let me give you an online marketer’s (who specializes in the food truck niche) advice for social media.
Forget Facebook. And only concentrate your efforts on Instagram, Snapchat & Twitter.
Facebook is dead to me…and it should be to you too. Food Revolt doesn’t even have that many followers on Facebook and we’re ok with that. The hard truth is, people are only seeing 16% of the posts you make on Facebook and it’s typically much lower than that. The only relative thing important within Facebook to your business at this point is the “events” section. You can leverage it to invite all of your friends and family to your events that will support your business.
You want Instagram because it’s still very hot right now and it’s not yet saturated with advertisements. It’s very easy to share photos of the experience your customers will get with your food truck and it’s the best place to show off your signature dishes. You must discipline yourself to “stay on brand” however. Don’t take pictures of your grill after you’ve cleaned it. No one cares. Take photos of your food, festival picks and happy customers!
Snap chat is the new darling of the social media world. It the all the rage right now because of the “filters” people can use on their faces, the stories you can tell visually via their 15-second videos and the fact that people only need to see a sneak peak into something before they make a decision to either visit, like or support it. We especially love SnapChat because they are HQ’d in Venice, CA right down the street from our home base. Get snapping son!
You need twitter because of it’s easy following and because you can leverage it to share your location easily with the world. You’ll want to get very comfortable with Twitter and any Twitter hacks you can use to help your business.
The #1 Time Saving HACK
Unless you hire a social media person to help you manage all of these accounts you’re going to get stressed out pretty quick so the best advice we can give you is to leverage a website called IFTTT.com. It will connect all of your social media accounts for you and make posting content an effortless task, like a fart in the breeze.
When posting your menu on the website, don’t post your prices. People won’t care so much about the pricing because a food truck is NOT a night out for dinner nor is it typically a destination event. They just need to know where to find you and the overall type of food you serve. Most customers or food truck fans are used to higher pricing at food trucks so go ahead and test different price points out. Try to find that sweet spot to increase your “per ticket” revenue.
Food Truck Website: Wrapping it all Up
I want you to remember two important things when you think about your food truck website. This is important.
- Go cheap as possible
- Try to automate everything
You’re going to get people that say, “You get what you pay for” and they are going to try to advise you to spend, spend, spend. Don’t do it, resist the urge. Everyone has a cousin that builds websites and they’ll always offer you some sort of “deal”…and it will only cost $500, or $1000, or $2000. DON’T do it!