But what web site, what for and what use? My last post on “Does a winery need a web site?” generated interesting and well thought out comments from wine educators, winery owners and other readers.
First of all, it seems everybody thought a winery needed a web site. Some said a web site was the “brick and mortar” piece of their communication. I would call it a “click and mortar” but let’s not digress on semantics! The web site is usually seen as the place to send wine consumers, wine critics, educators and web users from Facebook, Twitter or any other social media to get information. I agree 100% on that point. But a web site can’t be “static” or it looses all its strength and usability. A “static” web site will lose visibility on any search engine if it is not regularly updated. If a once a year update is considered the norm, let’s forget about having a site. The site needs to be energized by news, tweets, videos and/or blog posts linked to social media.
Second, I didn’t get any comment on what kind of web site is needed. As for content, we usually see on most web sites a short presentation of the winery, the wines, a contact form and a news page (sometimes rather dated). It’s all good and well but what’s the point for the consumer? If a consumer knows and likes the wines, or if he heard about the wines from a friend or a forum/blog post, he’d like to be able to find and buy them. No information on the web site of the winery is no help. He’ll have to rely on the new search tools, like snooth.com, wine-searcher.com, cellar-tracker.com or cruvee.com. What about if he/she is not located in the country of the winery? What about if he/she is not familiar with those tools? All those questions are raised by the way most wineries’ web site are designed. They’re not consumer friendly. Most wineries design the site they want, not the site they need.
What I meant when I asked: “Does a winery need a web site?” was: if a winery has a web site, it has to be designed to help the consumer, not to look pretty or carry only information. A web site has to create a link between the winery and the consumer – through history, presentation of the team and description of the wines, of course – but also and mainly by helping the consumer to be a part of the life of the winery. Not only by giving him/her the way to buy the wine, but also to keep in touch with the winery and its team through the web site, the blog and all social media available. A web site has to address the consumers’ needs in order to fulfill its purpose. If it doesn’t, why invest in a web site?