The Beer Engine
- Highest ranking pub on Google for ‘craft ale sheffield’.1
- Everything you probably need to know (except what the place looks like…) on a single page.
- Easy for my client to update.2
Is it finished?
The website mostly looks like it does because it evolved rather than being completely designed from the start.
The pub was still being refurbished when the site went live. The only content on the site was the information we had at the time: what the pub was called, where it was and what sort of pub it was going be.
Content was added when it became available – the opening date, regular beers, opening times etc. I didn’t want to spend time working on a design knowing that it would have to keep changing to include new content 3 so the site is very simple.
But why launch it before it’s ready?
Having something on your website from the start can:
- mean your site is picked up by search engines straight away so you can start climbing up the rankings before your business is launched.
- provide further information for potential customers who’ve searched for, or been sent to, your website by your social media and advertising (which you’ve already started doing…)
Before it was opened the pub was generating interest on social media and people were searching for it on Google (once the sign on the building had gone up and there was something to search for).
The website had 377 unique visitors before opening night. Most (I would think probably all) of these people were actively searching for information about the pub and were therefore potential customers. It would have been a waste to send these people to a page that just said ‘Website coming soon’.
If we’d waited until we had all the information we needed the website wouldn’t have been launched until a week (or three) after the pub had opened. It’s likely that having a live website before the pub opened helped get it off to a good start.4
Now that I have all the content and seen the business in operation it’s much easier for me to think about the design of the website. Before the business was launched this would have been abstract. Now the branding and function of the website can tie in with how the business actually works.
I would like to change the layout of the page so it’s tidier and easier to find information. I’d think about adding a page specifically for food, as it’s worth it. And I’d like it to look more specific to the Beer Engine, which might just mean adding photos.
But for now…
This might be post hoc rationalisation5 but the Beer Engine is the sort of pub that would have this sort of website.6 It suggests that it doesn’t need to be bothered with fluff like fancy websites because its all about the product. This is still a marketing strategy, even if no one actually planned it as such. I’ll save rambling on about branding and the possibility of design adding value to a business for a blog post, perhaps.
On the website it’s easy to find what you need to know.7 My client is happy with it. It ranks well on Google. What more do you need? It’s even had unsolicited praise on Twitter.
- At time of writing. Also 1st for ‘craft beer sheffield’. Food could do with being higher – ‘tapas sheffield’ has an upper page 2 listing. How necessary is a high Google ranking for a pub anyway? Note: Google’s search results are different things to different people. It tries to personalise search based on which websites you visited from previous searches and where it thinks you are in the world. The results I’ve quoted are from search using the private window in an attempt to avoid personalisation.
- The menu is the only thing that the client regularly updates so this is in its own easy to use, non-confusing section in the ‘back office’. It’s formatted automatically.
- In retrospect though, the design could have been more sophisticated sooner.
- If we’d waited for photos it wouldn’t be live yet…
- I sometimes wonder if that’s what designer are paid for.
- Which it does, proving the point.
- As I was writing this I thought I’d have a look at other pub websites to check I wasn’t talking bollocks. The first one I went to (really!) – looks nice – doesn’t have the opening times on it.