Are You the “Winemaker” of Your Website?

    I recently attended a wine gala for the Frankie Lemmon Foundation. It was a fabulous event for an extremely worthy cause that my wife and I have contributed to over the past several years. During this gala event, there were several wineries represented with hundreds of wines to taste and enjoy. I am a wine enthusiast. I study the vinification (winemaking) process. I want to know the grape, the oak, how long in steel, where the vines came from, and the types of soils, etc. It is a learning process that I enjoy very much. For me, this enhances the tasting process. After learning how each wine is made, it then becomes a challenge to taste some part of the winemaking process. However, one of the greatest challenges in the winemaking process, is the palate of the winemaker. What I realize, is that on some level the winemaker is not just making wine that tastes excellent to him or her, but to the people who purchase it. What I find interesting about this, is that each winemaker, has in mind, a particular targeted audience. He or she spent years, sometimes decades, developing the right grapes, grown in the right way, or fermented in a particular way. Why go through all of this trouble? Because quite honestly there are variety of individual tastes. Simply put, not all wine is good, not all wine drinks well on it’s own, and some wine is made as a complement to food. As an example, my wife prefers white wines. Even within white wines there are so many varieties: chardonnay, pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, and the list goes on. She is particularly fond of Italian Pinot Grigio, but even within that group of white wines there is quite a variety, and for her not all Pinot Grigio’s are the same. They do not taste the same to her. I would not call her a wine connoisseur. As a matter of fact, she would tell you, “I like what I like, and that’s all I know about wine.” She is the winemaker’s dream. The winemaker knows that if he or she makes a wine that will appeal to her taste, even though she knows little about it, he has a consumer. Like many consumers, when she found the wine she liked, she has difficulty deviating from it. As a matter of fact, it’s the first wine she asks for in a restaurant and the wine that I that I keep a case or two on hand of at home. At the Gala event, I watched her as we went from one wine to another. She sampled wine after wine, probably sampling nearly 10 different whites. She found 2, that were in her opinion, worthy of purchase. The rest for her, were quite frankly, for lack of a better term, “spitters.”
    It was during the course of sampling wine, watching her and others sample wine, that I thought very much about the internet, websites, and the consumers. Websites need to be a process that gets better and better over time and remain consistent. You cannot be static. In winemaking, they have to overcome many things year after year, such as too much or too little rain, too hot or too cool temperature, the type and availability of oak barrels. The great winemakers have learned how to overcome these, and other obstacles to keep their wines consistent. Keep in mind, that for winemakers, the biggest challenge is to make sure that when you taste their wine, it will taste the same, bottle after bottle, year after year. When a wine becomes inconsistent they lose their consumer. Think about your website, there are things that change on a moment by moment basis. Such as technology, the way search engines work, and economic factors, just to name a few. Your job is to overcome these obstacles, so that you maintain your current customers and at the same time attract new ones. There are NO short cuts! Sure, you can try to short cut for a while and even have the possibility of having some success. Some winemakers have done the same thing, utilizing short cut methods only to find that their wines become so inconsistent over time ,that they lose their customers to a better winemaker. What do they do? Many will hire a new winemaker, some will change their consumer. From a well paying consumer to those who cannot afford a good wine. Others, well, sad to say, die.
    So what does it take to be a great winemaker of your website.

    1. Identify who it is that you want to taste your website.
    2. Remember there are people with different tastes don’t try to make one website to fit every palate.
    3. Not everyone is a connoisseur of web use, keeping things simple and tasty.
    4. People know what they like, make sure you find out what that is, and make it for them.
    5. Don’t ignore the basics, but don’t be afraid to try some technology to help you overcome some obstacles, new gadgets do not necessarily equate to great wines or great websites, but they can be used when times are tough.

    To your Internet w-Health!


    Dr. Jay

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