So, here are the first two things I would fix on any winery web site that's missing them. The first is easy, the second, not so much:
- Install analytics. If you are trying to improve the performance (by whatever measure) of your website, you can't do it without some data. If you're not trying to improve, why are you reading this?
- Make it trivially easy to make changes to your website. If not, it's almost a guarantee that it will become outdated. Also, it's vritually guaranteed you can't test changes in response to the data that analytics will bring.
If you've already got these covered, please leave a comment -- you deserve some recognition!
My experience is that these two items are missing on most winery websites, i.e. the 5,000+ wineries that fight for 10 percent of US wine sales. 90% of US wine, by volume, is sold by just 30 wineries. These "top 30" wineries can devote entire teams to making sure that their Web presence is instrumented and up-to-date (although that's certainly no guarantee).
Bonus: if you've already made the two fixes above, then the third fix is to make it glaringly obvious where and how people can buy your wine. My favorite example of this used to be Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards, but unfortunately they seemed to have redesigned their website and dropped it (dumb!). Basically, you want site visitors to easily find out:
- how to buy your wines direct (online, as part of a club, by phone, by fax, or at the winery)
- what stores carry your wine,
- what restaurants serve your wine, and even
- other outlets that carry your wine (e.g. K&L, wine.com, etc.)
Yes, it's hard to list the specifc stores and restaurants, but the better the job you do at this, the more avenues you create for potential customers to try your wine. And yes, you'd like to get the direct sale, but maybe someone is looking for a wine that you no longer have available. Piss them off, or point them somewhere that can make them a happy camper? The choice is yours, and it speaks directly to your focus on making customers happy.
Note to cult wineries: even if people can't buy your wine, it doesn't hurt to explain that clearly and politely. Unless, of course, you just want to make people feel bad for not being "in the know."
Disagree with my choices? Leave a comment!