Whether you're looking to sell coffee online or build a marketing channel for your in person cafe online you're going to need to develop a website.
In either case designing the coffee website will be the first step towards having an online presence for the Café.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to plan and design a website to sell your coffee. Website design is a topic that covers many areas including web development, user experience, and supporting tools and processes.
For the purposes of this article we'll jump into the essentials you *need* to know, and ultimately outline what you can do to design your website as quickly as possible.
Why You Need a Website For Your Coffee Shop
As we've written about before, generally your coffee shop (or potential coffee shop) will benefit from having a website.
If you're selling coffee online, you will *almost* certainly need a website. I say "almost" only because you could in theory sell on a marketplace like Amazon.
However, Amazon has strict approval requirements for anyone wishing to sell anything food related, and having an established company with a website will help a great deal.
If you're only selling through an in person café, a website will still be critical. According to a 2016 study by Think with Google, 76% of people who performed a local search on their mobile device visited the store within the same day.
According to Google Trends, the volume of online searches for "cafe near me" (worldwide) continue to climb:
It's clear that outside that initial pandemic dip people are keen to search online for nearby cafes.
Designing a Good Café Website
We recently outlined some of the essential elements that make up a good coffee shop website.
Designing a "good" website in this context means creating an online asset that effectively markets your brand and generates sales.
A good design will be built with the customer in mind, and this means a focus on something that incorporates user experience, user interface, and general visual design best practices.
When designing the website, you need to choose a combination of experts and platforms that will make the website as "user friendly" as possible and continue to do so as you grow and scale the volume of pages and/or products.
Considering the Coffee Brand
One element of web design to keep in mind is how well it aligns with your coffee brand.
You ideally want to design a website that corresponds to the vision and values you want your brand to project.
In practice, this means choosing fonts, colours, and layouts that are consistent with how you will be marketing and presenting the business in other areas.
If you are thinking about launching a new coffee brand, be sure to checkout our article on starting a coffee brand.
Build w/ Conversion Rate Optimization in Mind
The "conversion rate" of a website is calculated as the total number of conversions (however you define them), divided by the total number people who visited the website.
For a coffee website it would make sense to look at it as the total # of website visitors who bought coffee or signed up to a coffee subscription.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) has been marketing discipline since eCommerce website operators became more aware of user behavior insights that website analytics tools can provide.
Digital marketers realized that if on site behavior can be measured, it can be used to improve a website's user experience towards generating more sales.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) looks to improve the percentage of visitors that interact with a website in a desired way. This can mean sales but it can also means lead form submissions or email subscriptions, for instance.
CRO is also a process. It's put in place to test website changes and larger marketing efforts to better measure and improve the performance of the website.
Simply put, the idea is to get more sales for every visitor your website receives. So in theory you can increase sales without needing to increase traffic.
Employ Web Design Best Practices
Web design consists of the different skills, people, and technology involved in the building of websites.
Areas of web design include everything from graphic design, User Experience design (UX), User Interface design (UI design) and most anything that impacts the overall "look and feel" of the website.
Content Management Systems like Shopify take a lot of the technical overhead out of the process of design, but even those CMS platforms often have templates or themes that are customized, and so need some level of web design proficiency to build.
For instance, "Home Page Design" is almost a discipline onto itself, with a number of articles and books having been written about the importance of design related decisions that impact your homepage and how that can effect your online business.
For more details, you can review our guide on web design.
Consider Optimal Web Development
Web development refers to the underlying back-end code that is required to build a website.
In theory a website can be built with a small notepad file containing only a few lines of HTML code.
Web development really sits at a cross section of many more technical website considerations. It's usually equally informed by concepts like information architecture and needs to incorporate some understanding of design, web hosting, and more.
Web development is basically the foundation / frame that holds up all the features and design aspects of a website. If you like, feel free to take a deeper dive on web development to better understand the details.
Design for User Experience
User experience (UX) refers to the science and discipline of "optimizing" a website for desirable user behavior.
The central goal of UX is to ensure the front facing design of a website works for its targeted audience.
In the context of coffee shop websites, this means a UX designer would concern themselves with things like if the most popular (or profitable) coffee can be easily purchased and found on the website, for instance.
The Best Coffee Websites
Not suprisingly you can find examples of great coffee websites that do a good job across user experience, conversion rate optimization, and web design dimensions etc..
I would encourage you to review as many examples of current coffee websites as you can before making decisions regarding CMS platforms, website themes, and design choices.
Reviewing the more impressive coffee websites will help to inspire your design choices and also give you a good sense of what the competition looks like in the space of selling coffee online.
Fortunately we've detailed a very comprehensive review (with corresponding insights) of some of the best coffee websites which you can use to save time.
What You Need to Know About HTML
If you've looked into a designing a website, you may have heard of HTML.
HTML is one of the main building blocks of most website, generally defining the structure and "bones" of a web page.
Regardless of the page layouts and overall "look" of the website (colors, spacing etc..) HTML is the typically the foundation holding everything up. HTML is simple to learn, as programming languages go, but fortunately its very unlikely you'd need to learn HTML to build and design your coffee website.
You can find already made HTML code for coffee websites on template websites like nicepage. But the truth is any templare or website you ultimately build will contain HTML, and its unlikely you'd end up only needing HTML code to design your website.
You wouldn't get the functionality needed to sell online and even for a simple in person cafe website you'd find it pretty limiting.
Coffee Website Templates
Part of the reason you don't need to know HTML is because you can find and install templates (sometimes referred to as themes) to build the website.
A web template system provides publishers a way to "plug in" their own content and customization into an existing framework that will automatically generate the needed code to publish a web page.
Templates will include preset image dimensions, selectd fonts, media components, and page layouts. This system also helps to lessen the need for costly web developers to create websites that look good and come with at least basic functionality.
You will be able to pick and choose a website theme or templated based on descriptive categories like "minimal", "modern", "simple" etc..
However, you can also select a website template based on the purpose, niche, or industry. To illustrate, websites like ThemeForest include an entire category of "coffee shop website templates":
Coffee website templates, as you can see, get save a lot of time not only in terms of building the website but in looking for inspiration to determine what the coffee website should ultimately look like and what features should be present. Some specific templates to consider:
Name: Cafena Designer: XpressRow Preview: Here.
Name: Gaspard Designer: Elated Themes Preview: Here.
Name: Monfee Designer: Engo Theme Preview: Here.
Name: Drinks & Beverages Store Shopify Theme Designer: Ishi Themes Preview: Here.
Name: Arabusta - Coffeehouse WordPress Elementor Theme Designer: Rock Themes Preview: Here.
If you'd like more examples of templates & themes that can be used for coffee websites, check out our detailed guide on 15 different coffee website templates.
Website Builders / CMS Platforms
How do you go about using website templates? Usually you'll need to first employ a "website builder" or content management system (CMS).
Traditionally, the term website builder has been used to refer to two subsets of tools you can use to make a website. The first is a "locally installed" piece of software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft FrontPage. Some of these applications have been discontinued and have given way to online platforms referred to a CMS platforms.
Commonly used CMS platforms include Shopify, WordPress, Magento, Squarespace etc.. You can find a list of commonly used content management systems here.
For the purposes of a coffee shop website, you will likely consider going with a platform like WordPress or Shopify. Either of these CMS tools will allow you to build a website using a template or theme.
For a deeper dive, check out our detailed breakdown of CMS and Website Builders for Coffee Shop Websites.
That said, if you're interested in launching a website quickly and choosing a platform that's easiest to learn I recommend Shopify.
Shopify, not surprisingly, also has a number of themes suitable for a coffee shop website:
The theme above is called "Fresh" and you can view a preview here.
How to Create a Coffee Shop Website
The first step to building a website will be to choose your CMS.
As mentioned I recommend Shopify which comes with all the essential eCommerce functions (inventory management, shipping options, payment processing) and also provides a very intuitive and easy to learn interface to get started quickly.
With Shopify you should be able to sign up, pick a theme, make some tweaks to personalize it, and then go from there. To assist, we've put together a very detailed +13,000 word guide to building a coffee shop website with Shopify.
The guide walks you through every single step you need to take to setup a Shopify store and sell coffee online, so even beginners with no experience with website's or Shopify can follow it.