The following article is the first of a three-part interview with Mike Duffy, author of The Winery Web Site Report.
Mike's impressive career spans the design and development of successful software companies (and their products) and equity venture firms.
We asked Mike: Why did you start The Winery Website Report blog?
I started the blog in 2005 as part of marketing The Winery Website Report, a custom report which evaluated the visitor effectiveness of a winery's website.
We had 25 rating elements, and provided a comparison of a specific winery to the aggregate data we collected from a review of over 2,800 winery websites. We segmented our data by case production, so that a winery could see how it stacked up against similarly-sized wineries.
Other industries are willing to pay for that kind of information, but wineries? Not so much.
What I've finally figured out (a little late) is that most wineries don't make a lot of money from their websites (perhaps 2-5% of total sales), and so they aren't willing to invest much effort in it.
CCWB: Are wineries keeping pace with web design and internet marketing compared to other industries?
As a whole, no. Of course, I don't think wineries need to have the latest and greatest Flash/AJAX/Web-2.0-goodness.
I think that most wineries would see more benefit from spending effort on just executing the tried-and-true.
Have an attractive, easy-to-use site with clear navigation. Give people a reason to give you their email address and then stay in touch with them. If there's anything a person would want to know about your wines or winery, make sure it's on your website so that search engines can find it and index it. When you get emails, answer them. Track results. Update your home page once a month.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and wondering why you get the same result.
If you want to see different results, you need to be able to measure that difference, and you need to experiment.
If there's anyone out there selling tons of wine through their website, I wish they would speak up so that people could see what really works. Of course, if I were selling tons of wine online, I'd probably keep it a secret, too. :)
Coming up, Mike will discuss the: Top 5 Winery Website Mistakes and Five Top Things Every Winery Website Should Have.