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.
I receive the Amidon Jewelers email on a regular basis and decided to look at them with an objective eye for today.
Here's the website: http://www.amidonjewelers.com, you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
What I Liked About Their Email Marketing:
They hired an email marketing company several years ago to manage their monthly email marketing campaign. What I like about it is that they have several links from their email back to their website. Each of those links are encoded with tracking variables from Google Analytics. This month's email used these:
Using these tracking variables they will know exactly how many people clicked on links from their email to their website. I assume their email marketing is effective because they've been paying the same company for more than 2 years now.
* The site seems slow for me. Except for the home page, the rendering of every other page of the website takes longer than I'd like. This is the same website design since at least August 2011 so it might be time for a hosting upgrade and a CMS upgrade to speed things up.
* Every page of the site has a Facebook plugin on the bottom left. This plugin might also be the reason the website is very slow to respond. This type of plugin is not needed on every page and perhaps it should only be on the home page and contact pages.
What I Liked About the Site:
* They have a blog built right into their website located at http://www.amidonjewelers.com/blog/ and they are blogging at least once per week. Very good job here.
* I also found that they are including links to specific blog posts in their mane left navigation. In particular they have a navigation link that says "Happy Couples" that links to this page within their blog:
* I liked the layout of the home page that showed larger buttons, images, and text. I did find it to be a little visually noisy but it was inviting enough for me to click a link and look further.
What I Didn't Like About the Site:
* I appreciated that throughout the website there are many landing pages of information, like this one:
On that page you will see several boxes with icons and headlines, but there's only a few words to explain what you will see when clicking the [more button] that's also in each box. They've obviously gone through the trouble of setting up landing pages like this but these pages provide very little value for SEO since they are empty.
If they took the time to embellish these pages they could use them for targeted marketing. This is a clearly lost or misunderstood opportunity.
* Even though their /blog/ area is part of the website it was disassociated from the rest of the site. There was a clearly visible "Home" button at the top of the blog but it brought me back to the main home page of the blog, not the real home page.
Incorrect SEO Issues:
* I'm not sure who programmed their website but it looks like someone took a short cut for their page title and meta tags. I was initially impressed that their page titles were unique and somewhat well thought out for every page, but then I looked at their source code.
Within the source code I see that the software is using the same words for the HTML Page Title, the Meta Description, and... the Meta Keywords.
I'll be kind and simply state that Meta Keywords are a useless waste of time and labor to set up.
The Meta Description should be set up as a 150 character mini description of the page.
* I found the same title/description/keywords throughout all the product catalog pages and landing page. This needs to be reprogrammed to allow for the keywords to be turned off and the Meta Description to be uniquely editable.
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.