WOW! There certainly are a lot of jewelry stores in Houston, Texas! I Googled "jewelry store Houston" and the map shown in the search results page was littered with red dots. Although there were 7 jewelry stores in the list of Places, I decided to select the first organically listed store below that for this week's website review.
The goal of this 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.baileybanksandbiddle.com, you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
So it turns out that Bailey Banks & Biddle has 9 different store locations across the United States. During my brief initial glance at the site I can say that they have committed a lot of time and research to making their website look and function nicely.
Their website is primarily an e-commerce site. Like most multi-store jewelers I've seen, they have fully invested in making their website a fully functional store. Most independent jewelers struggle to achieve e-commerce sales outside of their local area simply because they don't have the budget for advertising on a national level. With BB&B I realize that their customer base spans many states and this website serves as a way for customers to preview product before visiting any of their stores, as well as a method to sell to previous buyers after they've moved away from one of the 9 stores.
I have to say that this website is very well put together, and I almost skipped this website because of that. Instead I did the review anyway so you could see that no matter how well put together a website it, the job of fine tuning and improving it is never ending.
The photography in their online catalog is quite interesting. Every jewelry items I looked at has 2 photos that were clearly shot in their store. They had a uniform size, but more importantly they all had a textured background. It's interesting that they took the extra time to photograph the items then process them in PhotoShop to remove the normal white background then replace it with a standardized textured background.
The texture of the jewelry backgrounds is carried through their website and seamlessly becomes part of their overall design. This turned out to be a fantastic approach, and I have to wonder if the idea to texture the background was a solution to the typical dull looking non-white background of normal jewelry photography. Regardless, it looks good... and some employee somewhere is pretty happy to have a full time job doing this work. As an unpaid promo I suggest they look at www.photocubics.com for a method of photography that makes life easier.
While browsing the catalog I noticed that you can click on a "Quick View" icon to see a pop-up of the item instead of clicking to see the full detail of the item. Take a look at this page:
I initially liked the way their top drop down menus worked. But the more I used it the more lost I felt. The drop down menu for Jewelry has 20 options. The other menus are not as long, but they should be thinking of ways to chunk their menu into groups of 4 or 5 items to make it less confusing.
What I Liked About the Site:
I was seriously impressed to find that their product images are being served from the website http://images.baileybanksandbiddle.com instead of http://www.baileybanksandbiddle.com.
Someone at the BB&B office took the time to figure out that they could speed up their website a lot by saving their images on a completely different website.
This is a topic I've never mentioned before in a Nugget, and I rarely even mention it in my own office. Google likes to measure your website speed. Your ranking is higher if your website is really fast. One of the ways to make your site faster is to run multiple websites side by side. In the BB&B situation they are running one website for their images, and one for everything else. To the user it all looks like a single site, but to Google this appears lightning fast. Their SEO expert must have experience in web server administration!!! Great Job!!!
Incorrect SEO Issues:
I thought I was going to have to look closely for some SEO errors on this website, but a few just jumped out at me real fast.
* They are using a separate blogging website instead of their primary site. The URL for their blog is:
http://brilliant.baileybanksandbiddle.com/ rather than http://www.baileybanksandbiddle.com/blog
The blog should always be a subdirectory rather than another sub-domain. In this case "brilliant" is the sub-domain.
* They have a cluster of keywords on the home page of their blog. This is called a "keyword cloud" and Google now views this as keyword stuffing.
* It looks like the programming of the "www" part of the website was updated and the top menu programming of the blog website wasn't. There's a "Design Studio" button on the top menu that links to
on the main website but on the blog that same button links to:
I applaud them for CORRECTLY setting up a 301 redirect to jump the users from the old to the new location, but by now they should have reprogrammed their blog with the updated top menu.
In all the sites I've reviewed so far, this is the best I've seen in a long while. Even though their website is highly ranked right now they don't have a lot of written content on the catalog product detail pages and the Collections pages. They do have lots of content on their Education pages and their blog, and that seems to be boosting their ranking.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the appearance and usability of this site.
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.