This is the Friday Jewelry Website Review to help you learn more about your own website by looking at a review from another jeweler's real website.
Here's the website: http://www.elegancejewelers.com, you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
At first glance this website looks very nice. There are 4 images across the top of the page, a clean looking menu, large phone number, and even the store hours. There's even a nice "Welcome" banner in the middle of the page.
Overall, it has a nice "first look" but I don't care about first looks; I care about increasing the business of a retail jewelry store. That means you should never fall in love with a design, and test, and retest over and over again until your business skyrockets. Then test some more.
I don't usually talk about Google PageRank or AlexaRank but I do have the Quirk SearchStatus extension in FireFox to alert me of good or bad performing websites. On the day I reviewed the Elegance Jewelers website it had a PageRank of 0 and an AlexaRank of more than 22 Million.
My personal rule of thumb is that any website with an AlexaRank of more than 10,000,000 is in trouble. Even the ugly website I reviewed last week has an AlexaRank of 12 million. If I was a betting man I would say that Elegance Jewelers paid a onetime fee for this website and cares nothing about seriously growing their business.
Now that I've ripped them apart, let me dive into what's wrong here...
Incorrect SEO Issues:
* The header of the website is very nice looking, but it's one large static image. There are so many missed opportunities because of this:
1. They could have used 3 jewelry photographs that Google Images would love to index.
2. The image includes the address and phone number, and neither is anywhere else on the web page as plain text. So Google have very little ability to geo-locate this jeweler.
3. They are using an old HTML feature known as image mapping to make the top menu work. More missed opportunities here because the words "services," "designers," and "specials" can't be indexed.
* Every page of the site has a nice looking banner to headline the page. As I said, the home page says "Welcome." Regretfully these headline banners are images without ALT or TITLE attributes. The image names have the file name conventions of headers_welcome.jpg and headers_services.jpg. I would at least drop the "headers_" part of those file names.
* The Title of every page says "Elegance Jewelers" instead of the actual page names, as in, "About Us" and "Services."
The website was so simple in its design I can't say that I had any specific usability issues with it. Even on my smartphones it was easy to use and navigate.
I decided to pretend I lived in Flanders, NJ and Googled "jewelry stores flanders nj." The #1 result of that search was a jeweler more than 8 miles away through winding back roads. Other results included business directory websites. Elegance Jewelers actually did appear in the results, but only because Google was nice enough to show 3 local jewelers through Google+ Local.
Then, pretending I was a repeat visitor of this retail jeweler I decided to search for their store name because I needed their store hours. This type of Navigational Search should have returned Google results with lots of information about them. In this case I felt lucky to find their "elegancejewelers.com" website listed with the terse text found on their home page.
What I Didn't Like About the Site:
* The Specials page says "Coming Soon....." but according to the time stamp on from the web server, the last time that page was updated was April 30, 2012. That's more than a year ago. You should never put a "coming soon" notice on your website.
* I took a quick look at the website code and was surprised to find an HTML comment saying "ImageReady Slices." ImageReady was an Adobe program that was last sold in 2005 and discontinued in 2007. That means the person hired to create the website was using 7 year old technology to design this site. If you're setting up a new website you should at least design it using technology of today with the hope for it to last at least 2 years.
What I Liked About the Site:
It's times like this that I want to claim my love for the more simple HTML 3 days with simple images and table programming. Web programming was so much easier 10 years ago. The simplicity of the site even allows it to be easily readable on a smartphone.
So yes, I like the design, however, a good programmer with modern knowledge in CSS could easily convert this "ancient" HTML website into an identical looking website that would appear better in search engines.
That's it for this brief review, another will follow next weekend.
FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm doing a review. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this review if they examine their Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This review is completely impartial and all my comments are listed in the order that I discovered them.