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Home » Ways To Control Costs For A Summer Website Refresh

Ways To Control Costs For A Summer Website Refresh

  • 10 min read

Friends enjoying a beer and live music photo for website refresh postIf you’re following the 2024 Summer Marketing Checklist we shared in April, then congratulations! You’re likely to see increased traffic and interest in your craft beverage, especially if you’re collaborating with another popular brand and finding opportunities to sample new drinkers.

But how is your marketing tech stack handling the heat this summer?

Your overall use of technology – aka the “tech stack” – is an opportunity for current and prospective customers to have an online relationship with you that enhances their real-world experience. The goal is further engagement at every touchpoint. Your website and social channels should help new customers see themselves enjoying a drink in your tasting room. Then once they visit, their ordering and checkout experience needs to be as frictionless as possible. Email keeps them connected with notifications and updates afterwards. And there are various channels for customer care if needed.

Mobile pay photo for website refresh postSeparately, each technology is important. But the magic happens when two or more technologies are talking with one another. For example, connecting your POS terminal to the website for online merch and product sales; to email for weekly event calendar invites; and to SMS/Text for real-time notifications. Social media starts to drive direct-to-consumer revenue when the posts themselves are made shoppable, connecting to your online store. And purchase data collected from tasting room visits creates a richer, more complete profile of your current customer when paired with behavioral data from social, website and email channels (and marketing helps attract others who look like that).

Sounds overwhelming? It doesn’t need to be. You need the right guide who understands how to get each of the technologies talking with one another. Starting with your website. Our 2024 Summer Marketing Checklist generated a flurry of inquiries from beverage brands interested in a summer refresh. Many had been considering a refresh already, so they were in the middle of evaluating estimates from website developers and asked for our opinion. We were shocked at what we saw! Estimates in the 5-figure range for what we would consider table stakes: a mobile-first website with an engaging homepage, current beverage catalog, events calendar and a shop for merchandise. Let’s be clear: your craft beverage business SHOULD NOT have to pay that much for a new or refreshed website. Unless the task is to create something completely from scratch, without using a builder like WordPress or Shopify. And we haven’t yet met a beverage client who needs that level of custom design and development.

Jeep photo for website refresh postSo how should a craft beverage business go about choosing the right partner for a summer website refresh? Start by getting 3-4 estimates from different vendors. This not only provides insights into how they will approach the project but may also prompt you to think about the project differently. A quick story to illustrate. I have a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo that I love. It’s never given me any problems, and it’s perfect for getting to and from the slopes during ski season 😉 For a while now the Air Conditioner has been making some noise, but it still cools the cabin. Took it into the local Jeep dealer and for $300 they shared a blacklight photo of a Coolant leak and told me the Evaporator needed to be replaced (an additional $3000). Took the photo to two other mechanics who said they would charge $2700 for the same work. And finally, a fourth mechanic recommended by a friend said they didn’t believe an Evaporator could leak as much as the picture would indicate and still cool the cabin. His team started with the problem – a noisy Air Conditioner that still cools the cabin – and went about finding the solution. They ended up replacing the tubing from the Engine to the Evaporator and topped-off the Freon in the reservoir. Parts and labor for the project cost $1000 (plus a case of Coors Banquet) and I’m back to an ultra-quiet, cooled cabin for summer road trips.

Jeep dealer photo for website refresh postWas the Jeep dealer overpriced? Probably. Did they show a picture of a Coolant leak that wasn’t from my car? Possibly. Would they have ultimately fixed the problem? Of course. They were just willing to charge me for a total replacement of the Evaporator versus finding the root cause of the problem – a noisy, but cool cabin. As it turns out, it’s normal for Coolant to need to be topped off over time, and the noise was likely caused by vibration in the partially filled Evaporator reservoir. Problem solved.

Is your website partner willing to charge you full price for something you don’t need?

The Jeep experience got us thinking about how we billed for a recent website refresh. Inspired by the mechanic’s approach and transparency, we’re sharing below the hours and cost associated with that project.

Project Overview

Build or Refresh: Refresh existing site for summer
Builder(s): WordPress site, Shopify store
Current Functionality: age gate; homepage with brand story, events calendar, featured beer, featured team member; product locator; databased beer list (but no detail pages); food summary; calendar of events; contact information and forms; and a separate Shopify store for merchandise.
Proposed: homepage carousel with three featured panels (brand story, food and team members), social feed, current calendar, beer catalog (images and detail), and featured merchandise; add full food menu; create a WooCommerce shop, eliminating the need for a monthly Shopify subscription.
Team needed: one WordPress Project Manager

Project Billing

DescriptionHoursRate (USD)Cost (USD)
Meeting to discuss project objectives, timelines; share property login credentials (included).0.5$0$0
Set up staging site, sync with production site; audit plugin stack, deactivate 10; add WooCommerce storefront with current product catalog; connect to existing credit card payment gateway; reach out to VIP to add staging site to authorized domains; test.5$100$500
Upgrade site to FSE theme for more formatting and page editing capabilities; convert existing pages; add VIP product locator; design new food page and menu for restaurant; create a mobile-friendly homepage that prioritizes brand story, food, team, events, beer and merch; update settings.6$100$600
Meeting to discuss social, SEO/SEM, app integration and website; notes and next steps (included).0.5$0$0
Create posts for current product lineup; format consistency across pages; design mobile-friendly experience for rest of site; test.4$100$400
Review; incorporate feedback prior to launch.1$0$0
Total17 $1500

Would a website refresh project be the same for your business? Probably close! Hopefully sharing the actual hours spent on a similar project helps disprove some commonly held myths about website design:

  1. It’s too expensive: $1500 may be hard to justify, but it’s completely reasonable for a website refresh. If it’s not in your budget for this summer, perhaps consider the fall!
  2. A Graphics Artist is needed: of course, it’s AMAZING if someone can provide branding guidelines and visual direction for the site, including approved logos, imagery, typefaces, color palates, etc. But please, please don’t fall into the trap of believing a set of beautifully designed PDFs representing pages of the site will translate 1:1 to the user experience. Unless that person is trained in designing for web and its various formats (desktop, tablet, mobile, TV) versus print!
  3. A team of developers is needed: this site only requires a couple lines of custom CSS code for formatting reasons. WordPress and Shopify are both generally what-you-see-is-what-you-get (WYSIWYG) site editors, so most formatting can be accomplished visually.
  4. It takes a long time: not counting client meetings, this site took 2 days to complete!
  5. I can’t sell online: smaller merchandise catalogs can leverage WordPress and Shopify storefronts and the same credit card processor you’re currently using for tasting room transactions. Most POS systems, like Arryved and Toast, make selling beverages through your website easy (now shipment/delivery is a different story).

Another misconception is that your website is somehow different from your peers and competitors. Our work across all areas of craft beverage has taught us that drinkers are interested in the fastest pathway to saying “Yes!” to trying new craft beverage. This means frontloading the homepage of your website with 80% of the content needed for them to decide to visit, knowing most will both enter and exit your site from there. For this reason, successful beverage websites tend to feature the same content and functionality, including:

  • Homepage: hero images, brand story, community give-back or charitable partner, social feed, events, product catalog, featured merchandise, map and contact form.
  • Product Locator: map the nearest retail outlet (can be manually entered or updated real-time).
  • Product Pages: current product availability grouped by category (Core, Seasonal, Limited) with detailed descriptions and imagery.
  • Pages: About Us, Team, FAQs, Careers.
  • Forms: Contact Us, Rentals, Private Events, Wholesale Inquiries.
  • Food: a menu of food options, or calendar of food vendors.
  • Calendar: a multi-view, searchable display of upcoming events.
  • Shop: a catalog of merchandise and beverages available for sale.

Your website, updated Google Maps listings, search engine listings, social media and publicity are all magnets to help attract new drinkers. And once you capture their attention, then it’s up to you and your team to deliver the tasting room experience and delicious liquid that keeps them coming back.

Storytelling Workshop SampleYou may say, “that site may work for some other tasting room, but my site is different,” and we wouldn’t disagree! What makes your site unique and special to you is your brand story and how you engage with your visitors, not your website functionality and content areas. If you’re not able to articulate who you are and why drinkers should care in one sentence on your homepage, you might very well look like every other craft beverage business in your area. We like to help clients get to that point first before starting on any website redesign project. And the benefits of a clearly defined brand story don’t stop with just the website: it becomes the filter for all promotional efforts, public relations, product innovation, tasting room experience, everything! Reach out if we can help brainstorm how to achieve that level of emotional connection with your audience.

Refresh your website today, from $1500.

The team at Market Your Craft wants to help you and your team drive traffic, build engagement and capture new sales this summer. Starting with a refresh of your website. Simply let us know what you’re looking for and we’ll provide an estimate within one (1) business day, including any anticipated hosting, plugin, maintenance or other expenses. USD$1500 estimate is based on 17 hours of work against an existing WordPress site at a blended rate of USD$100/hour – your estimate may vary plus or minus. New customers only, offer valid through July 31, 2024. Know of someone who could benefit from a refresh? Let them know we’re available for projects inside or outside craft beverage. Cheers!

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