Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What's On Tap? - A website review

What's On Tap website

Just before I walked into What’s On Tap, a Greenville craft brew establishment, I looked at their website from my phone and was delighted to see that it was updated just  8 hours before. It informed me of the featured craft beer of the day and the selling price. I knew it was only 8 hours before because each update displays an age stamp. It did not render perfectly on my cell phone, but it's readable. 
What's On Tap inside
From their website: Inside What's On Tap
I walked in and told the guy behind the counter, the owner, that I had just checked his website and that I would like to have 32 ounces of Green Flash Friendship brew.  While he prepared and filled a growler, I looked around and picked up a 4 pack of Allagash Belgian Style White Beer.  I commented on the sit-down lounge area with a TV which I didn’t know about and he told me they also have live entertainment several nights a week. When I got home, I decided to pull up the What’s On Tap website on my laptop for more information.

Professional web designers probably won’t be impressed with the What’s on Tap website. As a customer, I like it a lot. Here’s what’s wrong with it: It’s just not all that aesthetically pleasing.  It’s got a large low resolution picture across the masthead, with an unusual looking black logo overlaid on a picture of bar taps and words in a large  red font spelling out the words: What’s On Tap?. The home page displays a little strangely, at least it does in my Chrome browser, with some oddly placed white space.

What's On Tap lounge area
From their website: What's On Tap Lounge area
Here’s what it does have that lots of far more expensive sites don’t have: Fast loading and easy-to-find content frequently updated. The hours of operation, daily updated featured beers and the price, a calendar of events showing what live entertainment is playing and when. The contact page shows all the contact information: address, phone, and a form to email them. I’ve noticed some website contact forms only provide an email form.

There is a photos page where you can see what it’s like inside if you’ve never been there before. It’s very warm and inviting inside by the way.

The What’s On Tap tab displays a list of 20 craft beers, detailed information about each beer and the price. Also prominently displayed on the website is the What’s On Tap Twitter feed and link to the Facebook fan page. There are 94 Twitter followers as I write this and 435 people “Like” the fan page. In my experience, that’s a decent following for a small retail business. Like the website, their social media is frequently updated. There is even an RSS feed on the website.

What's On Tap inside
Outside What's On Tap
I did a quick search for “craft brews Greenville SC” and What’s On Tap was well down the second page on Google. On Yahoo and on Bing, it was buried beyond page 7. I am surprised it ranks higher on Google because that is the search engine that is the most competitive. Perhaps like a lot of people, the website builder did not bother to submit it to Yahoo and Bing. Yahoo/ Bing, while way behind Google still have over 20% of the search engine market so I don’t ignore them.

A website serves two sets of customers: Those who don’t know about a business and those who do. While the What’s On Tap website did not rank well on at least one common set of keywords, it does a good job of delivering useful information to people who already know about it. And that’s not a small thing. A neighborhood craft brew store on Woodruff Road gets a lot of drive by traffic so there is a good chance it will be found by those most likely to become regular customers, those living and working nearby. 

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Owner: John Richards

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