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Sheri Hebbeln
 
November 18, 2014 | eCommerce , Marketing, Site Design and Management | Sheri Hebbeln

Refreshing your website design

Your winery website is often the customers' gateway to your business. It's the place where he or she learns about your wines, as well as any new vintages or products. The site is a form of wine marketing in and of itself. At the same time, your customers are sophisticated and want to know that you represent your tastes. Your site design should reflect that. If it hasn't been updated in recent years, you may need to give your site a new look. That way, you can develop a better relationship with your customers and build up your brand among other wineries.

Setting up a plan
While it may seem like your website should just have some quick cosmetic and some usability adjustments, going into a website refresh isn't something you should just go at blindly. You should know what you want to do with your site and how you want your customers to react to it. Forbes suggests that having a plan is a great way to start out the refresh. PR firm Illuminant Partners suggests looking at the overall structure of the site, since that's how people will view the site.

From there, you should seek out feedback from site visitors and other sources. The questions you want to ask include what they think is the purpose of the website, what they want to do while visiting and what engages them about the site as a whole. These are questions you should also ask yourself. Once you have enough feedback, you should ask: Do your answers match up with users? If there is a serious deviation from what you want to see and how people currently view it, you should look into focusing your website redesign to address these issues. Once you have the inconsistencies identified, you should write up a plan based on what you know and base your site refresh from that.

Follow function, not fashion
When developing a new look for your website, you should focus on readability and functionality. Any problems related to these two issues should be addressed first. For starters, you should make your winery websites easy to navigate. The site shouldn't just have functions to make it more mobile friendly. It should also have clear and distinct menu options so that visitors know where they're going and where they want to go. In addition, the messaging and content be clear and engaging to the consumer. Review the site from the perspective of a first-time visitor.  Finally, the calls to action should be as strong and clear as the content. If you sell wine online, you should have clear links directing customers to the store.

It's a good idea to avoid some trends in website design. Many of them, while intriguing in look, can actually damage your chances of your visitors engaging with your winery. Consider image banner carousels that take up a good portion of the screen as an example. While it may be interesting to have images rotate on the screen, people tend to ignore those images in their first visit, according to KISSmetrics. It becomes more of a distraction and may deter visitors from investigating further.

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