Ok, before I get started on this mild rant let me make a couple of things clear: I’m not going to single out any wineries as either good or bad examples. Also, as for my qualifications to go on this rant, I’ve worked in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for five years, part of which involved helping companies make their websites user friendly as well as search engine friendly. Ok, now on to the rant.
Guys, seriously, quit having bad websites. I know that your focus is on making great wine. That’s awesome, I want you to focus on that, but you have to realize that a part of making great wine is selling it, and websites are a part of that, especially if you sell your wine through your website (not every winery does or can). There are a couple of things that a lot of vineyards and wineries do on their websites that just kill me. What are they?
Flash: Knock off the heavy use of Flash on the websites. You want a Flash element on the site that’s fine, but having sites that are entirely created using Flash isn’t doing you any favors. The biggest reason to stop doing this is because you’re preventing your site from being viewed on Internet capable phones, which is just about all of them. Look, I understand that 5 or 6 years ago when you had this website built that this wasn’t an issue, but it is now so if you’re running a site that’s entirely Flash, it’s time to reevaluate.
Mobile Sites: This goes back to the Flash argument, but if you don’t have a mobile friendly version of your site, it’s something you should look into. This makes it easier for those using phones to browse your website to avoid any Flash elements you might have on the site, or large images that can be hard to load on a phone, by removing or resizing them to fit a phone.
Location Information: Yes, you’re probably going to have a page called “Visit Us” that will have more information, but on the home page, and really every page, I should be able to find your address and phone number. A site-wide footer is a great way to do this. This makes it easy for me to find your address for plugging into my GPS or your phone number to confirm your hours or ask a quick question. It’s an easy website fix that not enough take advantage of.
Wine Information: I’m really good about keeping notes when I’m tasting wine. I either write down my own notes or jot down additional notes on the tasting sheets that most wineries provide. That being said, I do still miss things. Having information about your wine goes beyond just a listing of what you currently have available. Pricing and tasting notes should all be on there. Basically, I want a copy of the tasting sheets you have in the Tasting Room available online.
Now like I said, I’m not trying to single out any single winery, but this is a trend I’ve noticed as of late, and one that is, quite frankly, unnecessary. Having a quality site that is easy to update, looks good, and is user friendly isn’t hard or expensive, it just takes working with the right companies.
Ok, rants over. I feel better. Also, if you’re a winery or vineyard and you’re reading this and think your website might be in the category of sites that I’m talking about, my contact info is on the website – I’m happy to help or point you in the right direction. Wine and the Internet – I love these things and want to see them both work together better than they currently are.