I don’t know anything about Adnams Southwold except they just signed up to sponsor the 2011 European Beer Bloggers Conference. But I can tell you this – Adnams is an amazing company and I am excited to meet them in London.
The first thing I did, of course, was to check out their website. And the first thing I noticed was their entire website is built on the WordPress blog software. This is pretty cool. Many companies have blogs but few have their entire sites built on blog software. (We at Zephyr Adventures, operator of six blogger conferences, are just now discussing doing this same thing.)
What does this mean? First, that when you click on one of the pages, for example Beer, you get not only a list of their beers but also a bunch of articles they have written about their beer. This is true for the Wines, Spirits, Stay with Us, and even About Us pages and means they have employees creating new content on their site every week! And as you all know, more content is more interesting for visitors and produces a longer tail for search engines to find.
More importantly, this structure allows visitors to share (Tweet, Facebook, etc) or comment about every page of the site. Here’s a funny comment where some user corrected a spelling error on a post. It is a simple move to allow people to comment on your pages but it is also open and honest.
However, what really got me thinking Adnams is special is when I found, at the bottom of the About Us page, links to a Employee Survey and a Pub Survey. The Employee Survey puts out there on the web, for all to see, what employees of the company think about the company and their jobs. They even are asked to rate the top management! The Pub Survey shows exactly what current pub franchisees think about their relationship with the company.
When I was in grad school getting my MBA, I remember having a discussion about salaries in companies. Most companies keep this as a secret but I remember coming across the idea, somewhere, that a truly fair salary system could and should be open to all employees. I have practiced that system with salaries ever since and try to do the same with all our policies. I can see Adnams takes that same open policy even further, I salute them for it, and look forward to tasting their beers!
– Allan, BBC Organizer
Sean Clark - Adnams says
Thanks for the write up and the compliments, the drive for this open approach comes from the top. In that way it reflects in much of what we do.
You are spot on with regards the reasons for us choosing to use WordPress. The only word of caution I would pass on to others thinking of doing this on such a scale would be to introduce plugins only after thorough testing. Whilst WordPress itself is scalable, some plugins are not as robust as the main platform and can have you chasing your tail for bugs.
Other than that it’s a great platform for both our developers and staff writers.
Fergus and I are really looking forward to attending and meeting you all.