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The Crafty Cask

Website design and development, illustrations, SEO, analytics

Comprehensive in scope and intrinsically challenging, designing and developing The Crafty Cask website was an exciting project. Working with Suzanne, the founder, is always a wonderful experience, as she is as passionate about her work as I am about mine.

The brand has two distinct audiences that require different messaging:

  • Consumers of craft alcohol, for which The Crafty Cask is an excellent source of knowledge, entertainment, events, industry news and insights, and high-standard brand and drink recommendations.
  • Makers of craft alcohol, for which The Crafty Cask is a hub of online marketing classes and services, free educational articles, a community network, and a collection of additional free resources.

I developed separate websites that cater to the specific needs of each audience. For The Crafty Cask team, this simplified their workflow, allowed them to better track and analyze user behavior, and grow with more flexible and versatile sites.

Audience segmentation

Content on the existing website was blended in a way that users didn’t know where to find the content relevant to them. After exploring a variety of solutions to this problem, we implemented a subdomain for the craft alcohol makers audience. The benefits of this approach included a more natural experience for users, targeted lead generation, improved search engine optimization, and cleaner analytics. To serve audience crossover and improve the flow of traffic, we used the primary menu to encourage navigation between the sites.

Visual design

The Crafty Cask’s visuals were limited and inconsistent, so it was my responsibility to sharpen and enhance their brand identity.

The biggest update to the brand styles is the inclusion of bright gradients to add energy and personality. Though the alcohol industry is rooted in tradition, the craft alcohol industry is full of fun personalities and creative innovation. To add an artisanal touch to the layouts, I created custom hand-rendered illustrations , which we used in banners and as background accents throughout the site.

Website design & development

Home to entertaining and educating consumers and makers of craft alcohol, The Crafty Cask website needed to be intuitive and engaging, while directing users toward points of conversion such as newsletter sign-ups, private event bookings, course enrollment, and more. Prioritizing function before form, we established the flow and layout of the content before polishing it with the brand styles and graphic elements. This ensured we weren’t thoughtlessly dressing up a poor foundation.

Consumers website

Makers marketing website

Search Engine Optimization

There were many opportunities in this redesign to improve SEO. To start, I discovered the primary keywords being used throughout the site weren’t actually relevant to their audience. For example, “craft alcohol” wasn’t a term being search for by consumers and makers of craft beer, liquor, cider, or other drinks. It was more commonly related to “alcohol inks” used for “crafts”.

I established a list of more relevant keywords for top-level pages, though it became obvious through assessing competitor sites and their own analytics that nearly all traffic arrives via articles within the blog. Therefore, those articles need to focus on answering questions that users are asking on search engines.

Google Analytics

Suzanne at The Crafty Cask shares my enthusiasm for learning, which underscored our need for better tracking of user behavior on her websites.

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