So, you’ve just launched your shiny new brewery website – Yay! Getting traffic to that new site might take a little bit of creativity, but fear not — I’ve put together a few ideas to get you thinking about how you can get people to stop by your new website for freeeeee!
Use Social Media and Give People a Tour of Your New Brewery Website
This is my favorite way to get both new and old followers to check out a new website. People love to be entertained by the brands they follow on social media, so make checking out your new website fun! Don’t you dare post something lame like “We have a new website! Check it out!”. Let your followers have a little fun by diving into your website looking for the answer to a trivia question. For brewery websites, here are a few examples that might get your social mojo going:
“First 10 people to name a hop not found in any of our beers gets a free t-shirt! Hint: Our website lists the hops we use (yourbrewerywebsitehere.com). And, Go!”
“Contest time! Get a free pint glass if you can find the photo on our website that shows our camera shy head brewer! yourbrewerywebsitehere.com”
“Tag a friend and go on a virtual scavenger hunt on our website yourbrewerywebsitehere.com. The first team to find all of these items on our website gets 2 free tickets to our annual invitational (worth $300)!”
This is a fun activity that can actually educate your followers while exposing them to your brand. You can make it super simple, but I recommend asking something more trivia related where visitors have to go a few pages into the site to find the answer. The more difficult the question, the better the prize should be! Be sure to give fair warning if the answer is hard to find or you might end up with a bunch of people bitching about not being able to find the answer instead of singing your praises.
pro-tip: To increase exposure use your brewery’s location name in a hashtag. You can also “boost” these posts on Facebook as well as Instagram and get new followers out of this — all while getting people to check out your new website. Bam!
Leverage Search Engines (SEO) to Bring in People Searching in Your Location
I can hear you yawning – stop that! I know as soon as I mention SEO most people’s eyes glaze over and I get that look.
Really, though – SEO’ing your brewery website doesn’t have to be difficult and honestly, the payoff by way of traffic you don’t have to pay for is well worth the time to learn a few basics. If you’re DIYing it, here are things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your page titles are unique and that they describe what’s on the page.
- Make your “meta descriptions” interesting and related to the content on the page. This is what people usually see just under the title in the search results and if left to show just the first bit of text on the page, it could look pretty ugly and at a minimum won’t likely help drive traffic. This is also many times what shows as a description when a link is shared to social media sites like Facebook.
- Do not copy the content from other sites and paste on your site – bad. bad. bad idea. Don’t be lazy or you will be ignored by search engines who would rather show the original/authority source of content over your reproduction.
- When you put images on the page, make them relevant and give the image an “alt tag” that has some relevance to the content on the page. For example, if you are writing about an event you are holding you could add a photo of last year’s event and title it with the name of the event. When you add it to your website you can then use an alt tag that describes the image and naturally uses keywords that are relevant. This helps Google decipher your page’s content and its relevance to searches being performed. The more “signals” you provide toward a specific set of keywords, the better overall you will perform in search engine results.
- For taprooms and brewpubs with a physical location that people visit, it’s a good idea to place your location and phone number in a prominent place. Personally, I like to publish the name, address and phone number in the footer of every page (if design permits), because it sends a strong signal to Google about your location and also lends some location relevance to content on other pages within your site and might help your site rank for other location based search terms.
- 5a. If you have multiple physical locations you should create an individual page for each location which contains your brewery name, phone number, address and hours. Make the page unique and fill it with information about that location. Link profiles (mentioned below) to the appropriate location’s page on your website.
- Create listings on Google Plus, Yelp (love or hate them, it’s better to start your own listing than allow others to fill it with misinformation), Untappd, Facebook, and anyplace else you might find value in having a listing and be sure your name, address, and phone number match your website exactly.
And if you are hiring a brewery web design company to design your new website, they had best be doing these things, at a minimum, out of the gate.
pro-tip: If you use the world’s most popular CMS, WordPress, be sure to install the Yoast SEO plugin. Its free version helps you check and edit title and meta tags super easily. It even gives you an SEO score if you’re into that sort of thing – just don’t obsess about it. Create pages for humans, not just for search engines and you’ll be all good.
Create a Blog and Post to it when you Have Something Worth Sharing
Got a new release? Just added a fermentor? Holding an event? Awesome! Write about it on your website! I am a huge proponent of making your website the hub of all of your marketing activity. It is, after all, the one web marketing resource that you own and can control. Adding good content (not content posted to the site just for posting sake) can help you get links from other websites and earn more free search traffic. In addition, people sharing your post on their favorite social networks can bring in new people and potential followers. If you have people sharing about you, where better to have them learn more about your brewery than on your website, where they will be exposed to your brand messaging in a controlled environment. Win – win.
This one comes with a caveat: In all my years working in this industry, I’ve found that nothing strikes fear and loathing in the heart of a client like saying “you need to write content for your website”. So, I say, if you can’t commit to posting or having someone post updates every now and then for your brewery, don’t bother adding a blog to your website, as it will actually evoke a negative perception. No one likes seeing a blog that hasn’t had anything new added for 2 years.
pro-tip: Create an easy way for people visiting your site to sign up for your newsletter and/or follow you on social media. Getting that traffic is half of the mission, the other half is keeping your following engaged.
For Website Redesigns – Be Sure to Redirect Your URLs
If you are redesigning your website, be sure to redirect your old URLs to new ones. When old web pages go away, search engine robots, which do the job of ranking your web pages in search engines, can get confused. Redesigning a website can actually cause your traffic to plummet if not handled with care, so make sure your web designer has developed a plan to forward your old pages to the new versions or at least to a page that has similar new content to that which the old page had. This will help you maintain the search rankings, and traffic, as a result, that you earned with your old website.
pro-tip: Use 301 redirects to tell search engines that the page has permanently moved to a new location. That way the robots won’t keep coming back constantly trying to access that page that’s been gone for 3 years instead of indexing your new pages (hey, robots can be smart and stupid at the same time).
Utilizing any of these tips independently will help you get free traffic to your new brewery website, but using them in conjunction with one another will multiply the effects of your efforts long term. Share your excitement about your new website and your followers will pick up the vibe and be excited for you.
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