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.
For this week's review I randomly chose to search for a jewelry store in Cincinnati, Ohio. Specifically I searched for "jewelry stores cincinnati area" and found 7 potential stores to review. I chose the first one shown in the Google Local results.
Here's the website: http://www.richterphillips.com, you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
When I landed on the home page I didn't specifically see anything wrong with the website. It has a simple menu across the top, a set of transitioning hero images, and 8 clearly understandable small images at the bottom with brief descriptions. The home page presents plenty of choices and if I'm too lazy to read I can navigate inside the site completely visually.
When clicking on one of the top menu links you drop immediately into their product catalog with a new left side navigation feature. Every page of the catalog shows the generic grouping of "Shop By Category" at the top of that navigation, with the page specific navigation in the box below that. The page specific navigation should have been at the top to prevent the incessant scrolling.
What I Didn't Like About the Site:
While browsing through the product catalog I couldn't help but notice how fake all the jewelry thumbnails looked. Most of the diamonds and jewelry with fine details look pretty bad. They chose to use the lazy method of shrinking photography through the HTML code of their website instead of doing it correctly through PhotoShop. The result is that their jewelry is unattractive and probably gets very few clicks.
What I Liked About the Site:
The site was simple to navigate and loaded quickly. I found the user interface to be intuitive and it only took a few seconds before I was fully acclimated to how the site was going to work. This intuitive navigation was possible because they used common words that have become the standard in jewelry website design, rather than trying to be unique.
I also liked that they put a link to their bog on the top menu instead of hiding it in the footer or some other sub navigation.
Incorrect SEO Issues:
I found a lot of SEO problems with this site but I'm only mentioning a few here.
* They have an About Us page in the header of their website, but the link to the About Us page on their blog is different. They are using Zen-Cart for their main website and WordPress for the blog, but they should be tying them together more efficiently.
* The URLs of their website are poorly structured using variables for every page.
This is their About Us page: /index.php?main_page=page_3
* The page titles seem to be tied directly to the "main_page" setting of the URL. Again, for example, the title of the about is page is "Page 3 : Cincinnati Jewelry Store, Richter Phillips Jewelers..."
* And the biggy... Google search results are pointing to the website "www.richterphillips.com" but the HTML of the website is hard coded with "richterphillips.com" as the domain name. Surly there's tons of duplicate content happening on this website. I bet they would be smacked in the face with this problem if they simply looked in their Google Webmaster Tools account.
That's it for this week's basic review.
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.