Anymore consumers are going to the internet to decide everything from what wine to drink with dinner to what car to buy. This means that every business needs an internet presence in order to be seen and increase consumer awareness.
But, before you jump feet first into creating a website, here are a few points to keep in mind when creating your website:
- Your website goal
- Mobile optimization
Now, let’s look at these three points more in-depth.
1. Your website goal:
Are you trying to tell people about your wine or are you trying to drive business to your winery? Basically, why do you want this website in the first place? Think about it and write it down. This is the starting point to a great user experience (UX). Not to mention, it will keep you from adding all those tempting bells and whistles your site really does not need.
This ties into one of my favorite best practices: “keep it simple.” Katie Mars and Tonya Thompson opened my eyes to just how quickly website visitors make their decision to stay or go in their article 5 Best Practices for your Website Content Strategy. You basically have 10 seconds to capture your visitors attention before they move on:
The goal is to make sure your readers can read content quickly—the more simple, engaging words they can read and navigate through in that 10-second window, the more opportunity you have to keep them browsing your web pages further.
So, if you are trying to drive visitors to your winery, make sure your messaging accordingly and location information and hours are easy to find. If you are trying to drive sales, again, message accordingly and make sure purchasing options are easy to navigate.
2. Mobile optimization:
What is mobile optimization anyway?
Put in the most basic terms:
making sure your website is easy to view on everything from a desktop computer, to a tablet to a mobile phone
There are three different levels of mobile optimization, all with different costs (of course). I found SignalFire did a great job of explaining the three options in their article (as well as examples of each option), Mobile Friendly vs Mobile Optimized vs Responsive Design: What You Need To Know About The Mobile Version of Your Website.
Below is a summary of each option.
Mobile Friendly: The website retains its look and gets small on small devices. This can lead to the site not functioning quite correctly on different devices.
Mobile Optimized: The website re-formats itself for a list of handheld or tablet devices. Basically the navigational menus can become bigger tabs, posts get reformatted and images are resized, to make it easier to navigate on certain phones.
Responsive Design: The website is “smart” and re-formats for any device. So, instead of relying on a list of devices (per the above), the website automatically adjusts itself based on the screen size.
Of course, which option you chose depends entirely on you and your budget. Mobile friendly being the least expensive and responsive design being the most.
So, why is mobile optimization important for websites anyway? (I mean, besides the fact that Google uses it as one of their many factors for determining search engine rank). Because, more and more people are accessing the internet through their phones. Think about how many times per day you pick up your phone to check something or look up something. And how many times you use your phone to look up a company or product before purchase. You want your winery to be part of that, right?
Funny thing, mobile optimization ties into your website goal. Even the best intentions and a huge budget can still make a crummy website. Make sure you go back to point #1, what are you trying to achieve and how can you put the message out there for that 10 second window, regardless of the visitors’ screen size.
What are you trying to say or sell or promote? What do you want the visitor to learn or know about your company? Getting straight to the point about your winery, your offerings and how the visitors can get a hold of you are key.
Vague, unhelpful websites are cropping up across the web every day. Have you ever been to one of those websites where they use a lot really cool buzz words and pictures, but even after reading the entire site, you still have no idea what the heck the company is about (Advertising firms are probably the worst culprit, sad but true)? We don’t want you to go there.
Take time to actually write out your website content – start with an outline and then fill in the pages as you go. And when you do this exercise, keep your potential customer, your website visitor, in mind.
Remember back to points #1 & #2? You only have 10 seconds to get your customers’ attention while they are looking on their mobile phone. Sounds daunting, but it really isn’t.
Be clear and concise. White space is always good, add an element of interest, like pictures of your winery, you, your wines. But don’t go overboard. Again, going back to the 5 Best Practices for your Website Content Strategy:
Keep it Scannable
Again considering the 10-second attention span rule, don’t put large chunks of paragraphs on the homepage of your site. Or really any page. People are busier than ever these days (or at least like to say they are) so if your content is not easily digestible, then you can kiss that 10-second good first impression goodbye.
And most of all, don’t get too wrapped up in design. Amber Leigh Turner puts it best in her article on the 10 Web Design Trends You Can Expect to See in 2016:
Users are caring more about how a site functions than looks
Having a nicely design site is great and all, but it really doesn’t matter all that much if your site doesn’t function well.
I think the real key here is keeping yourself in the shoes of your customers and potential customers. What do they want to glean from your website, what do they want to know/learn about you and your winery.
So, now that you have sat down and really thought out your website goal, your mobile approach and your site content, you are ready to create a killer site. Take a deep breath and dive in. But don’t rush, start small and add to your site over time. And if you can’t afford a huge site off the bat, then supplement with other social media sites such as a Facebook page or LinkedIn company page.
Questions? Thoughts? Feel like I missed something? Let me know – I am interested to hear your thoughts.
Oh, one more article on Mobile Optimization, I think you will find helpful when it comes to designing your website:
Mobile Optimization from Moz – I love how they include designing for fat fingers. Ever feel like you have Mickey Mouse hands when you are trying to type or use your phone? Well you are not alone – your visitors have those days too.