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.
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.
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.
Needless to say, a large portion of the traffic is on mobile devices, so the website needed to look beautiful and work consistently across all browsers and screen sizes.
Makers marketing website
Search engine optimization (SEO)
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.
In addition to improving the keyword strategy, I tackled a myriad of site errors in the existing site, such as broken links and redundant or unnecessary redirects.
Suzanne at The Crafty Cask shares my enthusiasm for learning, which underscored our need for better tracking of user behavior on her websites. Through their previous Google Analytics setup, The Crafty Cask team was able to assess high-level user behavior, such as traffic sources, sessions, and bounce rates.
Though this approach was better than nothing, it left some major gaps in need-to-know information, such as exactly what users are clicking on throughout the site. Additionally, it’s important for us to understand the legitimacy of the users and be able to exclude traffic from non-relevant countries or untrusted sources.
Our new analytics setup includes Google Tag Manager, which is used to create triggers and events for Google Analytics 4. The new Google Analytics 4 is more focused on assessing users by their engagement on the site, rather than previously misleading bounce rates used by Google Universal Analytics.