Being in Walla Walla and also in the business of building websites as part of a larger marketing mission, we’d be remiss not discussing some things that can help wineries grow their presence online.
While pretty pics are one element, they aren’t the only element of building a great website.
In today’s competitive landscape, it’s important to differentiate your winery from the neighbor down the road.
There’s not a clear road map to what that looks like in practical terms, but know there is a lot of room for growth online in the wine industry.
A simple Google search for “walla walla wineries” demonstrates the openings that exist from an SEO perspective.
As of this writing, there is not a single winery listed (except in Google locations) in organic search results until halfway down on page two.
Thousands of people are looking for Walla Walla Wineries each and every month and no one is to be found – only directories and articles from major publications.
Perform a similar type of search in any other industry and see if the same holds true…
With that, we hope to lend a little insight into how wine websites can be made effective.
Invest in a Wine Website that Works
When it comes to building a website you may as well build something that sits on a foundation of functionality.
Even when we first started designing websites our hope was to build things that no one had seen before – crazy features, lots of css, and an experience that would make visitors say WOW!
While it all sounded really cool (and there is certainly a place for some of that), we found out a few things.
Among them, only a small handful of users appreciate the aesthetic, but most are there for the information.
Considering how most people find websites, it should come as no surprise that the information it contains is the most important part.
Think about it, when you go to read an article about wine or any other topic, are you interested in fancy effects?
Or, are you mostly paying attention to the content and imagery that helps tell the story you’re hoping to read?
In order for all of this to work, your site should be relatively easy to navigate, be responsive and structured for SEO.
Content is Critical
Come up with a great story to tell that’s different than your peers.
There is something unique about your winery that your tribe of wine lovers enjoy and it’s up to YOU to figure out what that is.
Figure out the questions that people frequently ask you and answer them in the form of stories, or an FAQ section.
These stories should be told continuously on your winery’s website.
Believe it or not, people will read it!
Not long ago, I met with a “marketing consultant” who represented a new wine-related business in Walla Walla.
They were looking for a long-term website solution where they could display images while using minimal text.
Not a great plan, unless you have a network of authoritative backlinks and referrals driving business your way.
Even then, you better have something to write about in order that you capture some traffic from key terms related to your business.
‘Wine’ as a search term is highly competitive – the rest of the industry, however, is up for grabs.
So… three suggestions.
1. Begin by talking about wine, winemaking processes and the varietals you sell.
2. Talk about the place, the terroir and the vineyards where you make wine – easy pickings.
3. Talk to the people who make your company tick.
Maybe your winemaker is from a cool faraway land and has a unique perspective and great story.
There are some wineries who have tremendous people working in the tasting room and amazing people managing them.
In addition to great demeanors, they’re well-educated and care deeply for the place they work.
In fact, it is more than just a place of employment to them – it is a home away from home.
If you’re thinking, “when will we have the time to do all this?”
I say, “get creative!”
Enlist the help of your staff and split up writing duties on the cold Monday in January; or whenever.
Look, you have some really sharp people working for you… utilize their skills.
Also, let people hear from your winemaker online… even if this means someone is ghostwriting for him or her, their story needs to be told.
Use Great Imagery and Video
A lot of wineries have gorgeous views and are set in unique places.
In addition to talking about the views, show them off with great photography.
Website photography is important as both a Google ranking factor, but also to establish your website aesthetic.
Even downtown Walla Walla Wineries have their own beauty.
Wine websites should showcase the ins and outs of your property and tasting room.
The imagery that you use to tell and sell your winery’s story is far more valuable than any number of effects you could add to a wine website.
Display your grounds, show photos of the people that work there and the bottles you fill.
Make your website easy to look at and get it up to date with a design that is generally accepted as somewhat modern.
Website photography should be done with purpose, which makes me think we should designate blog space for that topic alone.
If you’ve moved to greater heights and have the resources, hire a videographer to put in motion the same beauty that makes up your winery.
Video is an important element and has become an integral part of the information gathering experience.
Many outlets combine the written word with video to appeal to an even larger audience.
Something to think about as you look to grow your base.
Share, Share, Share and build your online tribe of readers
If you have friends in the media industry, send content directly to them, or make a case for why they should feature you and your wine in their publication.
While you establish your domain and page authority, strategically utilize social media as a means to gain site traffic.
Wine is one of a few special industries where a topic people like (wine), doubles as a consumable good and allows wineries to target with direct marketing material.
In other words, their declaration of interest also happens to be a product that you can ship directly to their door.
Create opportunities for people to opt-in to your newsletter
As you build a steady flow of traffic to your site, also build in a mechanism that allows you to capture leads.
There are tons of integrations that make this really easy and chances are, the email service that you use, has an opt-in lead capture for the web platform you use.
As always, if you have questions and want to discuss wine websites, marketing or anything else we’re always available to chat!