Gordon Ramsay is a well-known chef around the world. He has set up many successful restaurants, but his success is mainly based on his television shows like "Hell's Kitchen" and "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares," and the swear words he uses in these shows.
In "Kitchen Nightmares," he comes into a restaurant, which is usually almost bankrupt and barely attracting any customers, and helps save it. Strangely enough, looking at that show can help you a lot when optimizing your website. Think whatever you want about Ramsay and his swearing, but he knows what he's talking about.
It turns out running a website is just like running a restaurant. Let's take a look at some lessons we can learn from Gordon Ramsay.
Clean up Your Menu
Most restaurants Ramsay visits in his "Kitchen Nightmares" have extended menus. The owners try to put up as much food as possible, with as much variety as possible, to give their guests as much to choose from as they can. Ramsay always cleans up the menu and focuses on only a few dishes and making these special.
Most websites have the same problem. There are so many sites out there which are so full of information that you can't find what you're looking for, even if you try. These sites often also have a hard time ranking because search engines simply can't place the content.
Too much varied content won't help your site, so start cleaning up your menu. Focus on the really important areas for your potential visitors and create landing pages for those. Make the specials interesting for your guests!
Find Your Niche
There are many restaurants out there, which means a lot of competition. To stand out from all the competition, Ramsay looks for a niche. Is there no fish restaurant? Make a fish restaurant. Is there no "original burger joint"? Create one.
Ramsay is looking for niches, and so should you as a website owner when optimizing your site. Why try to rank for that one high volume keyword which also has a lot of competition? Aim for the long tail and find keywords that will make your website stand out.
Most restaurants you see on "Kitchen Nightmares" are horribly decorated. My grandmother wouldn't even bother to walk in because they look so old fashioned. So Ramsay decides to clean them up and redecorate.
Many site owners should consider cleaning up, too. You can optimize a site all you want, but if it doesn't look appealing to your visitors, you can rank number one forever without converting.
Get Your Kitchen Sorted Out
In watching the show, you see the horrific state some kitchens are in. If guests saw how their food was being prepared in these areas, they would instantly walk out. A restaurant that runs well needs a kitchen that runs well. Without the right material, no good food will come out of the kitchen.
The same goes for a profitable website. If you have a bad CMS, if the technical part of the site is failing, you won't rank. So make sure your "kitchen" is in order: check and optimize your site speed, make sure there are no frames, and have a technical SEO look at your CMS.
Cook What Your Guests Want to Eat
They say restaurant owners are stubborn, and that they tend to think they know what's best for their customers. You often see those restaurant owners ignoring the things the visitors are actually asking for, which leads to customers not returning to the restaurant.
Well, if restaurant owners are stubborn, most website owners are even more so. I've dealt with many clients pushing elements on the site they liked very much, without listening to the (potential) visitors.
I've heard the phrase "it's my site, I'll put on it whatever I want" way too many times. My answer has always been: "it's not your site, it's your visitors' site.
This goes for design elements, but also for SEO elements. Using keywords that nobody is searching for is still a huge issue on most websites. Listen to Gordon Ramsay here: focus on what your visitor wants, not what you think is best.
Get the Right People in the Kitchen
Have you seen the shows in which the restaurant owner was also the chef, the head waiter, and the host all at once, but he really couldn't cook or wait at all? These restaurants are usually doomed. Ramsay tries to get the owner out of the kitchen as soon as he can and tries to find a real chef to run the kitchen.
Things aren't much different with websites. There are way too many site owners out there who think they can run both the technical, content, and search marketing part of the site, when they actually don't know what they're talking about.
Site owners must make sure to get the right people to do the right jobs. A professional SEO or a professional technician can make all the difference when it comes to ranking.
Give Your Potential Visitors a Taste of What They Can Expect
On every show, Ramsay tries to find new visitors for the restaurant. He goes out and talks to people, but he also takes the "improved" employees from the restaurant out on the street to spread the word on the "new and improved" restaurant. They usually give the people on the street a taste of what they can expect -- something small, but delicious.
A website owner should also go out and give potential visitors a taste of what they can expect. This is easier for a site owner than a restaurant owner -- after all, he can get his titles and descriptions right and he can use social media to go out to where his potential customers are and give them a little taste of what to expect.
Aim for High Quality
One thing makes Ramsay (and all great chefs) so much better than most others: quality. Ramsay always aims for the high standards. Trying to stand out is what makes a restaurant successful.
Site owners must be that chef who aims for high quality. Half a site won't attract many visitors, it won't rank and it certainly won't convert. You have to give it all the attention it deserves.
What you put into your website will come out of it. So aim for high standards and high quality and you can be the successful chef of your website.