August 19, 2022

You’re the Boss: Assess This Web Site

Site Analysis

Since December, Colorado Mountain Coffee has been selling mountain-roasted Arabica coffee exclusively online. Its owners say that what sets the company’s coffee apart is its roasting process, which is done at high altitude. “With less oxygen and pressure at high elevation, we are able to preserve the beans’ delicate flavor profile,” said Ryan Wagner, who founded the site along with David Richards.

As you can tell from the look and feel of the site, the target audience is outdoors people: hikers, climbers, skiers — all people who relate, Mr. Wagner said, to the idea of mountain-roasted coffee. That’s why the coffees have names like “Ragin’ Moose,” “Jittery Ascent,” “Treeline” and “Trailhead.” The site features a blog, an e-commerce store and even a video of a caffeine-fueled Mr. Wagner climbing a tree.

The marketing for the site has included a Google AdWords campaign, social media, promotional events and an Android app that helps you measure out the amount of coffee you need for your particular taste. The app has been downloaded more than 1,000 times.

“The biggest disappointment was Google Adwords,” Mr. Wagner said. “A modest advertising budget was spent, but a significant amount of conversions remained elusive.” The social media efforts have been only slightly more successful. Twitter and Facebook, Mr. Wagner said, “continue to be a mixed bag. We run contests on both platforms with varying results but remain optimistic.” On a recent day, there were 49 “Likes” on Facebook.

Mr. Wagner said that search engine optimization had been a primary concern from the beginning. “Most of our traffic comes from the more obscure long-tail searches involving Colorado, high altitude and other mountain terms combined with the standard coffee keywords,” he said. “Other searches, such as ‘coffee calculator,’ are showing our related pages on the 1st and 2nd pages of results. We are slowly climbing the rankings and are adding useful content to help generate more search engine interest. Our blog generates search engine traffic as does the coffee calculator. Where we have had the most trouble is generating links from other sites. We have asked site owners for links/exchanges, offered coffee for review and generated helpful and interesting content, but so far the results have been less than desired.”

The company’s most successful marketing has come through promotional events. “Since we promote an active lifestyle with our Web site theme, we have a presence at a handful of triathlons, aquathlons, bike races, etc. We serve complementary coffee and sell bags face-to-face to our customers.”

Still very much in its infancy, the site has seen increasing traffic steadily and now approaches 1,000 unique visitors a month. Revenues, however, are still only a few hundred dollars a month. Since abandoning AdWords, the site has been relying almost entirely on social media, leaving marketing costs at a mere $30 a month.

“Over all, we are very pleased with the current look of our site,” Mr. Wagner said. “However, we are constantly brainstorming better ways to present our products, and from time to time we make minor updates. As a purely online retailer, our site is the only face of our company to many customers, and so we are always on the lookout for better ways to present our coffee.”

Please visit the site and tell us what you think. What features do you like? What’s missing? What’s confusing? What needs to be improved? Would you buy coffee from this site? Is the coffee calculator app helpful? Please review the marketing efforts as well. Go to the search engines and see how the company fares. Then please share your views in the comment section below.

“David and I are constantly looking for ways to improve our site,” Mr. Wagner said. “We began with a focus group before launching the site and have jumped at the opportunity to again have more eyes take a careful look.”

Next week, we’ll collect highlights from your comments, I’ll offer some of my own impressions, and we’ll get Mr. Wagner’s reactions as well.

Got a site or mobile app you’d like to have critiqued? I am always looking for Web sites and mobile apps to review. I am especially interested in hearing from businesses that are using smartphones, iPads and other mobile devices and apps as tools in marketing, selling and branding. To be considered, please tell me about your experiences — what works, what doesn’t, why you would like to have your Web site reviewed — in an e-mail to

Gabriel Shaoolian is the founder and chief executive of Blue Fountain Media, a Web design, development and marketing company based in New York.

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