Published Works of
Thomas M. Ciesla
Essays   --   Think Pieces





texas websites
lone reeds on the internet

By: Thomas M. Ciesla

The Lone Reeds
What makes a website draw visitors back to it over and over again?   Beyond content, appearance and ease of use, it is the frequency of content update, and the use of links to a broader pool of related sites that are critical to a successful website.   Refreshing the content of the website seems logical, but providing links to other sites -- that might include the competition -- does not seem logical.   Yet over the years research has shown that websites offering links to related sites are always more successful.

Only ten (43%) of the Texas winery websites offer links to other sites.   Many have links to organizations like the Wine Society of Texas and Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association, which also contain links to other wineries in the state.   None of course, provide links to other wineries directly. What is curious is that only five websites (21%) have any sort of link to a travel, festival, or parks information websites for Texas.

The following websites have not been included in our list of Texas wineries on the Net:

      1. Duckworth Winery
      2. Flat Creek Estate
      3. Kiepersol Estate Vineyards
      4. Tehuacana Creek Vineyard

No. 1 & 4 are currently not bonded wineries.   No. 2 is scheduled to open soon.   No. 3 deals with the overall estate but does not discuss the winery.

As mentioned earlier, most Texas wineries are small operations that depend a great deal on tasting room sales.   This infers that a segment of Texas wineries are heavily dependent on tourism -- be it intrastate and interstate.   Yet, based on weak Internet representation and the lack of cross-links to other factions of the wine and travel industries, Texas wineries stand as 'lone reeds' on the banks of the virtual world.   Perhaps sales are at acceptable levels for many of these wineries, though it is doubtful most would prefer NOT to sell more.

A higher level of cooperation between wineries and -- industry organizations, state organizations and the travel industry, would have a significant impact on the market reach of Texas wineries. Increasingly, travelers turn to the Internet to research and organize their trips and even make travel and accomodation reservations. Establishing link-relations with Texas travel and tourism sites would only boost interest and trafic flow for Texas wineries.

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Last Update 11/5/2001

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