When, where and why did you begin blogging?
ExcelWines.com is an online shop selling Spanish wine from all over Spain. The company was started in late 2006 by Sandy Tay and Anna Axen, with Ane Miren Lambe joining about 9 months later. We are based outside Bilbao, northern Spain, and our market is primarily within Europe, particularly the UK, Holland, Sweden and, of course, Spain itself. We focus on quality wines, mostly from smaller producers, and our customers are generally fairly knowledgeable about wine and, more specifically, Spanish wine.
We are very new to the world of blogging and only set up our blogsite at the beginning of April after spending much time doing research on the internet, reading up in the press, checking out other blogs (both wine blogs and otherwise) and speaking to a few wine bloggers (mostly Gabriella and Ryan of Catavino and the Open Wine Consortium). We finally decided to create Excel Wines Blog for a couple of reasons.
In a few short sentences, summarize your intention with your wine blog.
First of all, we realized that many of our customers are wine experts, or near experts, but that they don’t necessarily know about many of the wines we sell through our main site. Although we do give a fair amount of information about each wine, we began to realize that this may not be enough for some of our customers. On the other hand, we didn’t feel that adding more information to each wine on the site was a good idea as it could be information overload and somewhat off-putting for other clients. So, the blog is a good way to chat about particular wines for those who are interested in further information while also, hopefully, engaging our customers in “conversation” with us. Our hope is that this will also lead to feedback on what our customers enjoy about the wines they buy from us, what other wines they might be interested in and general information about how we could continue to improve the products and services we provide.
The other principal reason for setting up the blog is quite simply as a way to attract traffic to our site and hence increase our pagerank and visibility on Google. Basically, we are non-techies and it has taken us some time to understand the workings of the internet world. We are still (and probably always will be) honing our site and the content to improve it in this aspect. A blog is one of the tactical moves to achieve our aims.
How would you describe your readers?
So far, considering we’ve only put up a handful of posts, we’re quite pleased with the responses. Admittedly, they’ve mostly been from friends but we have had a few comments from complete unknowns. We’re still a bit, I suppose the word is shy about writing blogs. It’s quite a personal thing to write your opinions and experiences for all the world to see but I think we’re all getting into blogging a little more and we certainly all get quite a kick when a comment is received. No doubt, over time, the novelty will wear off but, hopefully we’ll become better and more professional at writing blogs.
What tools or resources have you found to be successful in marketing your blog, and how would you describe wine blogging to be different than print media?
At the moment, our blog isn’t very well-known but we’re working at this through websites such as Twitter and Facebook, directories such as Technorati, links with other sites and participation in other blogs. It’s very different to marketing through traditional print media in that, although with print media you can target a specific section of the market more easily, with the blog you’re audience size is limitless. The challenge is to reach the people that you want to participate in your blog. On the other hand, you can measure the response to a blog more easily than to an ad or an article in the print media.
Do you believe wine blogs have made any marked impact on the wine industry or wine culture?
It’s hard to say at this point whether or not blogging has had much impact on the wine industry as it is such a new medium and will probably still take a while to make a difference.
Where do you see wine blogging in 10 years?
How blogging will influence the wine world over the next 10 years is anybody’s guess. Who would have predicted the existence of a European Wine Bloggers Conference 10 years ago?
What do you hope to gain from this conference?
At Excel Wines, we are very much looking forward to the EWBC as a means to learn lots and lots about blogging, bloggers, social networking, etc. We are also looking forward to meeting like-minded people, especially those whose names we already know but have yet to meet in person. And also to see those people we already have met, such as at the Wine Bloggers Dinner at Alimentaria in March. Oh and, along with the company, to enjoy the Rioja scenery, the sunshine, the food and, of course, the wine!
See you there!
Ane Miren Lamb