Nowadays, pretty much everyone has a website. With the ease of use and accessibility of technology, particularly post-COVID, it would be silly not to have a website for your business. So why do so many companies still not have websites or up-to-date websites? For many, the idea of having a website built or creating one themselves is daunting and can be overwhelming from both a time and money perspective. For others that have regular visitors to their business location, a website doesn’t seem necessary. Thankfully, many tools exist to help just about anyone create a website for free or at a low cost. Gone are the days of needing to spend tens of thousands of dollars on custom websites; for just a little time and money, a clean and functional site can be easily built. Rather than being the slickest looking site, what is important now is that the basic information is easy to find and that the site is easy to navigate and use. The longer someone needs to spend on your site looking for where to purchase your wines or how to find your tasting room, the less likely this person will become a customer.
If you’ve decided it’s time to create a new site or if you think you are ready for an update, here are some things to keep in mind. By no means is this everything you need to know; these are just a few tips to help you get started.
Have consistent branding. Be sure your business name is uniform across all platforms- website, social media sites, Google listings, printed collateral. This also includes your email addresses. Create your email accounts so that they are from your domain (i.e., [email protected]) rather than [email protected] or [email protected]. Setting up emails using a service like Google Workspace is easy, inexpensive, and reinforces your brand.
Make sure your contact information is up-to-date. Check that the phone number and email listed on your website are valid and the appropriate way to get in touch with you. Be sure to list your hours of operation and any associated tasting or tour fees. If people come to your website to find this information and cannot get in touch with you or show up at your business to find the doors locked, you have likely lost a potential customer.
Keep your products current. Last weekend, an enthusiastic customer came into your tasting room and fell in love with your 2018 Cab Franc; however, they were traveling and didn’t want to worry about transporting the wine, so they planned to order online later. Imagine their surprise when they get home and visit your website to place an order, but the only thing available is a 2012 Cab Franc. This happens more frequently than you might imagine. When releasing a new vintage, be sure to make it available on your website.
Collect emails. You can’t promote your brand or your products if you don’t have people to contact. Growing your email list by collecting information from website visitors is an easy way to get your message in front of the people that are most interested. Many website templates have an email signup already built in; if not, options exist for every platform and email tool that make it easy to add one to your site.
A Facebook page is not a website. Setting up a Facebook page takes just a few minutes and is a great tool, especially as social media is a key part of effective marketing and branding. It is not, however, a substitute for an actual website. Although it may not seem like it, many people do not have a Facebook account and won’t be able to see your page. Additionally, you are not in charge of the format, longevity, or presentation of anything you post. The tools provided by Facebook only allow for a minimal amount of information, and finding more is often a lengthy process of digging through previous posts. Use your Facebook page to compliment your website, but don’t let it be your website.