I just realized that my long post about how to build the perfect winery website is really very very derivative of a post on the Top 10 Winery Website Mistakes from Catavino dating all the way back to 2007.
Catavino’s Top 10 Winery Website Mistakes:
- Hard to find email address
- No information about wines
- No logos
- No RSS
- No physical address
- Incomplete bio section
- No images/videos
- No English
- Inconsistent posting
So ya. On the one hand, my recent post was informed mostly by Never Said About Restaurant Websites, Jefford’s recent Decanter article on Missed Opportunities, and The Oatmeal’s recent comic about crappy restaurant websites. On the other hand, I obviously read Ryan Opaz’s post back in 2007 and it’s been floating around in my head since then.
While his top ten list has a few items focused on winery blogs (5 No RSS, 10 inconsistent posting), the majority can be applied to all winery websites.
What we have in common
And I agree a lot with him apparently.
My list of things every winery website needs:
- Contact information
- A list of wines (with photos of bottles or labels)
Strangely, our number 1’s and our number 3’s are actually identical. The most crucial thing is contact information. A simple email address. And not a jpg of an email address that is impossible to copy and paste. SPAM filters are really good, so there’s not a lot of risk in putting your email address online. And also make your physical address and location in the world available. Wine is extremely related to place and terroir. People who visit your website will usually want to know where you make your wine.
My number two is his number six. My number four is his number seven. But ultimately, Catavino said everything I said, and they did it like 4 years ago. Which goes a long way to explaining why they’re in such agreement with me. 😀
Again, it’s very safe to assume that I read this post in 2007 and forgot about it until now. So thanks for being ahead Catavino and Vrazon!
Where we differ
Use of logos – I basically forgot about this. I mostly agree with them. If you have a nice logo, you should feature it prominently on your website. How have I gone so long without featuring the O’Vineyards logo on our website? It used to be really prominent. But ever since the last major redesign in 2009, it’s almost nowhere on the site. What I did in that redesign though was put my face on every page of the site. One could argue that I’m more recognizable than the O’Vineyards logo. I’ll think on this. Will adding a logo make the site feel too commercial? Is it more effective to have people recognize my face or a logo? Good questions. Will consider more.
No English -While I personally choose to blog in English (and regularly receive flak for it), I think it’s more important to get people blogging at all than it is to make them blog in a specific language. There are advantages and disadvantages to blogging in English. But the most important thing I think I can do is get more people in the Languedoc Roussillon to blog at all. If they do that in English, French, Occitan, Catalan, or whatever is entirely up to them. But writing nothing is worse than writing in a rare language. To an extent, I actually encourage people to blog in more obscure languages. While the Vietnamese wine blog market seems pretty inconsequential today, if you really love writing about wine in Vietnamese, you will have very little competition and you’ll be able to create a community around your passion. If you force yourself to write in English, you might just struggle to post simple, forgettable stuff that can get lost in the mass of other english language content out there.
Inconsistent posting – I agree partially here. It’s better to post regularly. And it’s good to warn your audience if you’re taking a hiatus. But these are just good suggestions to improve your blog. What’s primordial is that you blog at all. Don’t get worried about posting too frequently. Don’t get caught up in the inertia of a dry spell. Sometimes you go two weeks or a month without posting and you think you have to make a really good post to do a comeback. Or draft an apology. Don’t. Just post something. Anything. Don’t worry if it’s too short, or not that good, or in a weird language. This is the Internet. People know that your winery blog is not a polished, edited magazine. They will forgive you. It is not your day job to post on a blog. So just do your best to post anything and get out of the rut. Don’t get too hung up on intermittent posting or you’ll psych yourself out all the time.
No RSS – I agree that every blog should have RSS tech. It’s just really useful, free, and unobtrusive. But whatever. It’s not a huge deal. And I don’t bring this up anymore because RSS confuses the hell out of farmers. And most Internet users for that matter.