Your winery website may be beautiful, but is it functional?
Or ... maybe you think it's functional, but is it attractive?
A website for a luxury product must be both attractive and effective. You don't want to frustrate readers looking for information, and at the same time you don't want an over-engineered site that is crowded, dark, or a maze of information.
Your website should have:
- A clear message to BUY on the home page. There should be a link stating "Buy Now" or "Order Form" on the navigation bar and front page.
- A clear link to wine club or mailing list sign up forms. If you expect people to click or explore the site to find this information you will lose customers.
- Contact information on the home page.
- Clear navigation. This means a visible, attractive navigation bar and enough options on the nav bar that readers don't have to click on 'About Us' or 'Wine' to find contact and ordering information. Give each commonly requested action its own link.
- Vineyard and wine descriptions should each have their own pages and their own links on the navigation bar. Publish these pages in .pdf format so customers and retailers can easily print this information.
- An attractive, clean, bright format. Avoid dark or busy backgrounds and complicated or light fonts; they are hard to read. If you want to use a dark color, use it as a background behind a white or neutral box for the text.
- A balanced layout. Space information boxes and photos appropriately. You don't want to have all your text boxes and photos crammed together as if they are tired and holding each other up on the page. A sloppy and cramped layout implies that you can't afford much internet real estate.
- Smart use of space. In journalism and advertising, there is a concept known as "white space". It's a powerful thing. Make sure that your most important messages are surrounded by a lot of space. Leave space above and below your navigation bar to help it stand out.
- Judicious use of color. Pastel colors are generally a turn off for luxury goods, unless you're selling high-profile baby clothes. If your winery theme is pastel, use your colors sparingly in small banners and lines for impact. And maybe use colors a shade or two darker that mimic your winery theme but have a little more contrast when viewed on a computer screen. Bright colors have more sales impact, but can also be overused. You don't want to come across as a vego-matic commercial. An elegant and readable presentation usually requires a white or neutral background; an elegant, expansive font; smart use of color and space; and a balanced layout and spacing.
- Eye-catching photos. Vineyard landscapes and barrel rooms are very pretty. But they're also overdone. Include some attractive shots of your winery facility and vineyard, but also include action photos of people at work, and portraits of employees and/or owners.
Next up, we will visit with Mike Duffy of The Winery Website Report and get the skinny on how to modernize your website, and how to design a website that is competitive in today's internet marketplace.