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Fine winery seeks to grow sales online

Kick start — Family business Galafrey Wines is based in Mount Barker, Western Australia.

The company was established by Kim’s father Ian Tyrer, who passed away in 2003. Now, Kim and her mother run the vineyards together, which comprise Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Merlot grapes.

Challenge 1: We would like to improve the site without spending thousands

Jonathan Crossfield (Netregistry): Get tech people to do the hard yakka and take a far cheaper option by getting a template-driven site or content management system (CMS). Then administer the content yourself.

Stuart Ridley (Nett Mag): What kind of system are you using to update content Kim?

Kim: Joomla.

Jonathan: Joomla’s one of the options we use. It is like the kit box and then someone has to put it all together to build the site you want. When I visited your blog, I noticed it’s not using the benefits of a CMS by creating separate pages with separate features. The blog content isn’t being ‘managed’. It’s just a scrolling page, where you’re adding the new post on top of the old ones.

This means you’re missing out on benefits that those blog posts could give you. If someone’s going to link to a post on that blog – maybe to send to a friend or share on Facebook – six months later, that content is buried down the page and they have to scroll far down, because a ton of other content has since been added on top.

Stuart: Is this common for small business owners when they’re doing self-management?

Jonathan: It’s common for everyone to build a site and then grow by bolting things onto it, until they end up with a site that doesn’t work the way it was originally intended. Then, it’s not as simple to administer as when it first launched. Joomla’s capable of doing that, but you need someone to set those things up at the backend.

Stuart: Is that expensive?

Jonathan: Depends who designs it. We offer a Joomla service in-house. You know what you’re getting, you pick the template. We build it with Joomla to fit your needs and we do that quite cheaply. Say you get an expensive web designer to build the site. If you decide later to add something, you have to go back to him and he’s going to charge you. If you’ve got something that gives you a framework where you can change content yourself, then it’s going to save you those ongoing bills.

Steven Harley (iiNet): You might want to consider a web hosting solution that offers an online shopping cart tool, but you need to check what type of merchant facility is used by the web host. Ultimately, the best way to choose which of these tools is right for you is to select a web host that gives you the choice of tools and the best support. That way, you can sample the services on offer and be confident that support is only a phone call away.

Challenge 2: How do we encourage our newsletter readers to order wine online?

Morris Kaplan (business author): The key question is: are your subscribers interacting with your email campaigns? To engage them, ask a question at the end of the main article that gets them to respond, like ‘what’s your favourite wine?’ Or use a Q&A.

Jonathan: People sign up if there’s something in it for them, such as offers or they’re interested in your content. The offers don’t have to be discounts. It could be exclusivity, like ‘we’re launching this season’s wines to readers of the newsletter earlier than other customers’. You could say ‘by signing up, you are in the exclusive club with this benefit’.

Kate Conroy (Google): These are wine lovers, so if it’s to do with wine, they’ll keep reading.

Stuart: Jonathan, people often come to you who haven’t done email marketing. Most people know what a physical brochure is about but struggle to translate the design, messages and calls-to-action in email. In your work, how do you help them get up and running?

Jonathan: We have a platform called Mailroom. It has the templates and analytical stats you need to create email campaigns, manage your lists, run the unsubscribe function and so on. We have plenty of articles and online advice on how to build your list and avoid spam, and why you need to watch the key words you use.

Stuart: What about getting design right?

Jonathan: I recommend using a professionally designed template instead of creating your own. Those templates have been designed with the understanding that people process online content differently to a print newsletter. Also, when visitors go to the ‘create an account’ page, it doesn’t mention a newsletter.

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Articles, ‘How To’ pieces, interviews and news, these small business web design ideas and advice will help ensure your company has a website to rival all others. From colour palettes to branding, right through to technical applications and coding, NETT offers mixtures of articles guiding and inspiring you through every step of web design for small business.