The Winery Web Site Report rates what we allege is "visitor effectiveness." So what exactly is visitor effectiveness?
Think of it this way: everyone comes to a Web site with some purpose in mind (setting aside the small percentage of mindless zombie Web surfers, who must almost certainly exist). A site that is truly visitor effective results in visitors who both achieve their goal and leave with a positive impression of their experience (often, visitors achieve their goal, but the process leaves much to be desired).
The challenge is to prevent the visitor from becoming so frustrated in pursuit of their goal that they click the always-convenient Back button in their browser. The desired goal is to make their experience so satisfying that they will continue to interact (online and offline) with your company, e.g. purchasing your products and telling their friends.
Building a visitor-effective site requires starting with the aim of the visitor, not with your aim, which is what makes it difficult. For wineries, we decided that there were four types of visitor:
- people who wanted to buy something right now (buyers)
- people who wanted more information about the winery and/or its wines (browsers)
- people who were interested in reselling the winery's wines (the trade - distributors, retailers, restaurants)
- people who wanted to tell a story about the winery and/or its wines (the media)
(plus the mindless zombie Web surfers, of course).
From there, we sat down and asked, "What would help each type of visitor achieve their goal?" Some of those things are pretty basic - the site needs to be "findable" (Search Rank and Domain Name), the site needs to be available and have reasonable response time (Responsiveness & Availability), and the site needs to be viewable a browser likely to be used by a visitor (Compatibility). Some are more specific (trade and media types want everything nicely packaged up).
Out of that process came 25 "rating elements." Each one makes up part of the 100-point total score for a winery's Web site. Some are worth more than others, based on their value to visitors. For example, information about current releases is worth 6 points. Having a blog is only worth 1 -- as much as we like blogs and blogging, having one doesn't make a visitor much more effective (unless their original goal was to find your blog), although a blog is a great way of maintaining a relationship with visitors once they've met their original goal.
If you're happy with the performance of your Web site, great. If you're not, looking at how effective it is for visitors with a particular goal in mind when they arrive is a good place to start (that's why we created the Report). If your site doesn't have any visitors to begin with, that's another problem altogether.