One of the first steps in building a website is looking at the functional requirements. Not all of these features are required for every winery, but here is my quick top 10 list of features a general winery website needs to make it successful.
10. Mobile Version
5% of today's traffic is mobile. This is growing more and more. We are starting to have great web experiences on mobile smart phones (including the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry Torch, and now the WP7 phones). Example: Cuvaison (click link from an iPhone or Android device).
9. Store Locator
Not everyone wants to pay the high shipping costs and wait for your wine. Let your customers find which local retailers stock your product. (I know the data can be hard to come by, but others are doing it). Example: Wines That Rock - check out the google maps.
8. Calendar/List of Events
Visitors love seeing what is happening at your winery. Add a calendar or a list of upcoming events. Make sure the calendar is up to date - or better yet, work with a website system that provides a true calendar that won't show stale information. Example: Pithy Wine.
7. Social Media
Social media is no longer a fad. 500 million users on FaceBook makes it main stream. Include social media links on all of your products (At a minimum FaceBook and Twitter). Allow customers to share via email as well. Example Ceja Vineyards.
6. Newsletter Signup
Allow visitors to be informed. Make it easy to sign up for your newsletter. Also make it easy to unsubscribe. Example: Long Meadow Ranch.
5. Product Detail Pages
People buy what they know. Allow customers to explore your product. Show detailed tasting notes, product awards, magazine reviews, large images, video and other media.
4. Product Reviews
Product reviews increase sales by establishing credibility. Allow customers to freely write what they think about your wine. Keep your site authentic and allow negative comments. Encourage users to write reviews (it's a lot easier for people to write the second or third review on a product rather than being the first). Example: Twisted Oak.
3. Smooth Checkout Process
If I was standing in line at your tasting room register, then walked away because I had a bad experience, I'm pretty sure you would want to correct that experience both for your customer and for your bottom line. Make the online checkout process smooth: don't force a person to register to checkout, provide security assurances, accurate shipping prices and easy to use forms.
2. Address & Contact Details
Yes, I saw a winery website this week with no contact information on it. If you wonder why people aren't contacting you from your website... ensure you have contact information. In fact, learn from professional marketers like Wine Tasting and put your phone number in the header of your website so people see it on every page. Example: Wine Tasting Network.
1. Google Analytics- with Ecommerce and Goals setup.
It's pretty simple - you can't make good decisions without having good monitoring tools in place. Know how many people are coming to your site? where they are coming from? what they are doing when they get there? Google analytics is free, it's easy to setup, and it's easy to use. This tool will expose your site’s strengths and weaknesses; use it to help guide your design to drive people to the pages you want.