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Andrew Kamphuis
 
November 3, 2009 | Design, Ecommerce | Andrew Kamphuis

3 Mistakes When Redesigning Your Website

Thinking about redesigning your winery website? If so, here are three common mistakes to avoid before jumping into your redesign.

1. Forgetting about Search Engines and Inbound Links

Even though your old site might be dated, it still garners traffic from outside sources. Half the people visiting a winery website enter via a search engine. Inbound links from blogs, social media, and other websites also represent a good portion of traffic.

These links to product pages, company pages, contact pages, etc are often broken in a site redesign. (Different platforms and designers handle URLs differently, and often you will want your URL structure updated for search engine ranking and other reasons).

The proper way to handle updating URL structure is:

  • Look at your site analytics and determine where your traffic is coming from and what links people are visiting.
  • Create 301 redirects pointing traffic from your old links to your new links. (A 301 redirect is the proper way to inform search engines that the redirected URL is the new URL for the old content). Your developer should be able to do this for you (or in the case of our platform you can do it inside our content management system)

2. Forgetting about your Frequent Customers

Your most frequent site visitors probably don't want you to drastically change the site design (even if it's better, people don't always want to learn a new way of doing a task).

In an ideal world, your site would be continually enhanced rather than drastically altered every few years. If your club members are used to coming to your site and quickly placing an order, and you then completely redesign the store, it often throws the user way off.

Consider the redesign we did this past year for Twisted Oak. The new site is more of a progression on the old site rather than an evolution. The overall navigation structure and location of the wines and products didn't change that much and previous visitors should be able to find their way around.

Bottom line, think 'evolution' rather than 'revolution'.

3. Not Setting any Goals Before Jumping In

We see a lot of redesigns just because a site is dated. While it's fine to redesign a dated site, it's even better to set goals for your site.

Design is very important to your site, but you should look first at function, structure, goals, and business objectives of the site. Your designer should walk you through a design process that starts with these goals.

We start all of our sites with a goal questionnaire followed by wireframes. A wireframe will allow you to focus on function (for example what are the key elements on the homepage and what are their goals) rather than on design.

Bonus:

One more thing to think about when redesigning your site is the historical data. If you are switching platforms, it's important that order history, customer lists and other data be brought over to your new site. The longer you sell online, the more important this data becomes. (Being able to build lists, segment customers, etc off historical data is a very effective way of marketing.)

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If you are thinking about a redesign, there are more options and better tools than ever before. Just make sure you are thinking about the overall affects rather than doing a redesign just for the sake of a redesign.
 

Comments

fabio's Gravatar
 
fabio
@ Nov 4, 2009 at 3:24 AM
Great post. I have a question: is it true that "Half the people visiting a winery website enter via a search engine"? I thought it was more than 50%

Shane's Gravatar
 
Shane
@ Nov 4, 2009 at 3:32 AM
Thanks for the thoughts. I am putting together a wine web site right now and these are good things to think about.

Andrew's Gravatar
 
Andrew
@ Nov 4, 2009 at 6:18 AM
@fabio - The percentage coming from search engines is all over the place (the variance is large). The average is above 50%. As a long term strategy a winery should look to bring their reliance on search engines lower and bring other traffic sources up. (Repeat visitors shouldn't use search engines and they should be your number one goal. You can build up your external links from bloggers, other social media, etc).

@Shane - thank you.

Andrew's Gravatar
 
Andrew
@ Nov 4, 2009 at 11:42 PM
@fabio - BizReport is reporting for the ecommerce industry as a whole, 27.1% of traffic comes from search engines. For most of the wineries on our platform, I can say its above 50%. http://www.bizreport.com/2009/11/iperceptions_why_website_visitors_are_buying.html

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