The Winery Web Site Report
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Effective Winery Web Sites for February, 2006
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in this issue
-- Practical Tip: Is It Working?
-- Winery Blogs
-- Improving Your Web-based Marketing

Dear Subscriber,

I'm just back from speaking at the 2006 Advanced Tasting Room Strategies conference (it's one of the reasons this newsletter was delayed about 2 weeks, as we prepared for our first public showing of The Winery Web Site Report). ATRS was a great show for us. Talking directly with potential customers always gives me new ideas about how we can better serve the winery community. For those of you who missed the show, my 60-minute talk (The Perfect Winery Web Site - tips on visitor effectiveness) was digitally recorded, and we are looking at ways of making it available to you.

Too long? Too short? Missing something? I welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions for this newsletter.

Sincerely,
Mike

Michael E. Duffy, Publisher
mike@WineryWebSiteReport.com

PS - Past issues of Effective Winery Web Sites are available on our Web site.


Practical Tip: Is It Working?
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How do you know if your Web site is working?

Let me start by saying that every Web site is a work in progress. No site is perfect (even though I like to talk about The Perfect Winery Web Site). A more realistic goal is a pretty darn good Web site that helps its visitors achieve their goals and leaves them with a good impression of your winery, interested in continued interaction.

But even if you have a "darn good" Web site, it doesn't automatically mean that people will visit it. This is the old "build it and they will come" approach.

The worst thing is when someone comes to your Web site, is frustrated by it, and never comes back. You may never get another opportunity to begin a relationship with that visitor. Increasingly, the first point of contact between your winery and a potential customer is your Web site, so its effectiveness in dealing with a first time visitor is more important than ever.

Your Web site is working if (a) new people are coming to visit, (b) some of them come back (hopefully on a regular basis), and (c) some of them end up interacting with your winery (calling you up, purchasing some wine, coming to visit, signing up for your newsletter, joining your wine club, etc.). Even better, they tell other people about your site.

New visitors mean that you're doing a good job of publicizing your site. That could mean that having your URL (Web site address) on your cork or label is working well, or that your URL appeared in a media story about your winery, or that visitors to your site are telling other people about it.

Returning visitors are important because it means that your site has ongoing value to them. It means you have a (perhaps tenuous) relationship with them.

The Holy Grail for your Web site is, of course, having a customer choose to interact with your winery as a result of their visit to your Web site. Now, it's up to you and your staff (and your Web site) to continue building that relationship.


Winery Blogs
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A Web log (or blog) is simply a Web page that displays individual postings in reverse-chronological order (i.e. newest-first).

One of the most common problems with winery Web sites (and web sites in general) is that they tend to get stale (I wrote about freshness in the last issue). A blog is one way of keeping your site fresh and interesting to visitors, which encourages repeat visitors, which builds relationship between them and your winery. There are presently a handful of winery bloggers. We maintain an up-to-date list here: http://www.WineryWebSiteReport.com/blogs.html

If you're considering starting a blog for your winery, please read my recent blog post, So You Wanna Start a Winery Blog, first.

An important feature of blogs is that you can subscribe to them - i.e. receive automatic notification when they are updated, instead of having to periodically visit them in your browser to see what's new. Bloglines is an easy-to-use browser-based tool for managing your blog subscriptions.

Those of you who subscribe to this e-mail newsletter may not know that The Winery Web Site Report also has a blog. You can read or subscribe to it here:
http:// blog.WineryWebSiteReport.com/


Improving Your Web-based Marketing
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Lenn Thompson over at LENNDEVOURS (a wine blog focused on Long Island wines) has 5 great suggestions for wineries that want to improve their Web-based marketing:
  • Build a Web site
  • Update at least once a month
  • If you offer an e-mail newsletter, actually send one out
  • Make buying wine easy
  • Check your e-mail every day

Lenn points out that one reason to improve is the fact that the market for your wines is now much broader, thanks to the US Supreme Court, and your Web site is the first point of contact for these new potential customers. Get all the details in his post Long Island Wineries Weak at Web Marketing:

Simply put, the Long Island wine industry deserves good grades for its wine, but when it comes to using the Internet to promote itself and its wares, it gets an F.

It's not just Long Island wineries, though. The median score for the 2,200+ winery Web sites currently in The Winery Web Site Report is 48 out of 100 (the highest score is 83).

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