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August 19, 2006

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Paul Mabray

Mike,
I am cranky with you - too many wineries create a web presence vs. a web site - often trying to recreate their brochure on the web instead of making something that is intended to be not only a winery tool (for marketing, sales, etc) but a customer tool (to get information, make contact, or buy product).

Wineries need to view the web as something different than traditional marketing and understand that a good website gives them a true global market. Thanks for bringing up the topic.

Inertia - Powering the Wine Revolution

---Paul Mabray - CEO

jeff

hi Mike - hope this comment is not too late to save you from your crankiness.

I do like my winery web site (http://www.twistedoak.com/). I had originally contracted with a noted wine label and web designer to get our site going. He did some wonderful charicatures of myself and my staff. Visually, the site was amazing. But despite my instructions to the contrary, it was totally unmaintainable. He did leave me little spots that could include chaning text, but they were too small and matching colors required a lot of hand tweaking. (I suspect that he really didn't know how to do what I had asked...)

I ended up keeping very little of that work and I now design and manage the web site myself. I wanted to be able to change it weekly and this was the only way I was (apparently) going to get it.

This summer I finally was able to locate an ecommerce provider that could understand mixed case discounts and not charge me monthly fees bigger than my monthly sales! (However, I wouldn't have been able to do it without having some experience with programming and writing HTML code.)

Does it perform? I get lots of compliments on the design, layout and content. People seem to be able to purchase wine and wine club memberships without trouble. And because I manage it myself, if there is a problem I can fix it quick.

One bit of good news for the average winery (that is at least able to communicate in general) is that good blogging software allows you to manage your content without knowing a lot about the underlying code. You don't necessarily have to be able to update your main site as often if you can make your blog do the job.

For example, we had a big event here last weekend, and after an event I like to get pictures up as soon as possible. With a regular web page I would need to layout and compose a good page design for the pictures. With the blog I just created four quick posts and it was all there - the typepad software even made thumbnails for me! You can see what I mean by following the link to "El Bloggo Torcido" (The Twisted Blog) in my name at the bottom of this comment, and scrolling down a little.

Hope this has helped de-crank-inate you! - j

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