My Coffee Shops Website In The Top 100 Architecture Blogs In The World

Published: April 13th, 2024
Andrew Chung
Best Cafe Designs
from Sydney NSW, Australia
started September 2023
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I’m Andrew, an architect from Sydney. I’m also a photographer and I do web design and drink coffee. My website Best Cafe Designs is a design publication recently ranked in the top 100 architecture blogs worldwide, and the only blog on the list with a focus on cafe designs.

My audience is people interested in design, travel, or coffee, which covers everyone I know. My site is also a directory for cafes and cafe professionals. I’m listing everyone involved in cafe design including designers, photographers, builders, influencers, and product suppliers.

It’s like Baby Yelp or Trip Advisor but focused only on the cafe design. It is all self-funded as I am building up an audience.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I’ve worked as an architect for over 20 years in Sydney, working on many amazing high profile and internationally award winning projects. I’m also a photographer, and web designer, and love coffee. I thought, how could I incorporate these skills and interests together?

Most days I go for a mid morning walk and have a coffee. One day I took out my smartphone and took a few pics. I composed it with the right perspective and did it quite quickly. I did this the next day and the next, until I eventually took photos of 70 cafes.

Commercial architectural work I am involved in my day job

I thought about how I could expand this idea further. I went onto Upwork and started to hire freelancers around the world, finding photographers able to take pictures of cafes in their local neighborhoods.

I gave each person a photography brief and tips for taking architectural photos on their smartphone and received amazing responses from all corners of the world, including Pakistan, Labanon, Vietnam, Peru, the UK, Germany, Ukraine and many more.

Cafe photographed by a collaborator in Vietnam

To pair the photos with editorial content adding context, flair, and crucial info, I turned to Penelope Barker, a former magazine editor and respected writer in the architecture and design space, to craft stories about the featured shops.

With all this great unique visual design material, I thought to turn this fun independent project into a website. The site became bestcafedesigns which aims to showcase some of the best cafe designs around the world.


Cafes and coffee shops hold a unique fascination for me because they serve as special places in our built environment. They have a unique role in between places, bridging the gap between home and work environments.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

I’ve launched several websites previous to with limited organic traffic. As I anticipated this was both a valued niche and had widespread appeal, I invested in training to learn about SEO and building a website with better foundations.

First iteration of the website

Although still a newcomer to SEO, the site has been formed out of keyword research and has a clearer site structure. The site has undergone several iterations of refinement, and I am still shifting things around until it gets better traction.

In the past, I moved more slowly and was held back from things like logo design. As this project had all the visual content material available, I was more accepting of getting a website live, and refining it as I went.

As everything was all digital, the startup costs were mainly related to producing the content. With no monetization model set up, I was still happy to procure the content as it was all unique content that I would enjoy viewing myself.

Cafes and coffee shops hold a unique fascination for me because they serve as special places in our built environment. They have a unique role in between places, bridging the gap between home and work environments.

Describe the process of launching the business.

After starting the website, I engaged a virtual assistant to help with social media. She set up a content calendar and organized things systematically. I promoted the site on Facebook and Instagram.

I was happy to share this with both my personal and professional network and also started to share it on LinkedIn. I engaged a professional writer to set up a press release and went through the press release distribution channels. This was the start of getting views and backlinks from smaller coffee orientated sites.


I also started reaching out to design, coffee, and travel related blogs, to let them know about the site, and seeking opportunities for guest posting.

The project is all self funded as I build up an audience. I know that it is possible to recoup some of the investment in advertising, but I am keeping the user experience as clean as possible, and seeking better sponsorship deals when the traffic and profile are at a better level.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

As my site is broad and crosses several niches, I have taken a bit of time to investigate who my real customers are. Is it the design or travel audience that is looking at content? Or the designers and cafes that have their material displayed? Or the product suppliers and influencers that I am connecting in this new network?

I am still open minded about the above and am building an audience that doesn’t cut off any monetization opportunities.

In terms of website traffic, there was an initial high due to the social media sharing posts that raised direct traffic as well as the press releases. This traffic was short lived, and I knew that I had to start building up backlinks through guest posting outreach. I have tried Haro and direct contact with other niche blogs.

Every once in a while, I get a break and can feature in Barista Magazine, The Need for Coffee, Startups to follow, and many others. The featured posts are now logos on the front page above the fold.


In January, I did a major redesign of the site and added a directory plugin to allow cafes to be searched by filters and also by maps. I unplugged Google Analytics at that time, and in terms of traffic was considering everything a clean slate.

From there, with consistent outreach, the publishing of new design content, and tweaking the design, the traffic was also growing each month from January. Apart from the organic growth, I also added some direct traffic by contacting cafes directly and granting free listings. This served both as a traffic adder as well as adding to the creative visual content for the site.

The site has generally been growing around 20% per month in traffic. This past month has spiked by 70% due to the direct outreach and the backlinks starting to gain traction.


Example of Article on Barista Magazine Online featuring


How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

The website is still growing in content and traffic. In terms of content, there are around 300 cafes featured from around 130 cities around the world.

The content is very rich in visual design and is suitable for designers, travelers, and cafe operators. I’m publishing more advanced content that roundups cafe and coffee shop exterior design concepts, interior design concepts, counters, booth seating, and more

There are approximately 2.5k visitors a month to the website, 30k a month to Instagram, and 275 email subscribers.

I aim to monetize when the traffic doubles from this point and seek sponsorship and direct advertising. I am hoping the site will be attractive to product suppliers in the coffee industry, with the right quantity of traffic.

Currently, I am operating with a freelance team of writers, photographers, web tech, and social media.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Starting was hard. In the beginning, when I was low on content, I was contacting architects through Instagram and email and had to persevere for quite a while to acquire content for the site. The success rate was around 1 out of 200 architects returning correspondence and joining the site.

A break was being noticed by a digital publishing platform that connects architects and journalists. They recognized my site as a design publication and allowed me to talk more directly with architects interested in publishing their work on our site.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I’m a fan of Upwork. Through the platform, I have made contact with many professionals who helped me along the way. Every time I had a problem, I would describe it as an advertisement and immediately get qualified experts to fix and progress

I have used Upwork to seek writers, web tech, social media, SEO, and other skills.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I learned about building, renovating, and selling websites through eBusiness Institute They were guests on a property investment podcast, and I found that property and web investment activity were commonly linked.

Other than that I watch Starter Story on YouTube and Upflip. I like the stories of the people being interviewed and the challenges and opportunities they describe.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Well, I’m at the beginning, so I’m just soaking a lot of this in right now. Through website design, I have started several niche sites in architecture, cafe design, cake design, and house living.

Each iteration is faster and more efficient than the previous one. I’m having the most fun on and will continue to build it up. Focusing on this one site helps me to fuel organic growth, which I hope will have good long-term results.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

The site is still self funded right now, so I am bootstrapping as much as possible. As soon as the site gets some runs on the board, we will focus on link building and marketing.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!