Today I'm peeking into Louisville, KY to find a local jeweler for a website review. The idea is to find someone who's making a few mistakes with their website that you can learn from. Follow along and hopefully you'll find this website review insightful and useful.
Here's the website: http://www.gumerjewelry.com/
you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
What I Didn't Like About the Site:
* First of all I was surprised that this site is stuck at an 800px width. This was a common website design size circa 2007, but now website are at least 1000px wide or even adjust to the width of your screen no matter how big or small it is.
* The bottom left corner of every page shows a button to visit Gumer's eBay store. Their store doesn't have any items for sale at the time of this review, which I find misleading. You should never include a button or banner ad of any type on your website unless the page it links to shows something of interest.
* I recognize this website as one of those cookie-cutter sites provided by a vendor. The entire setup of the site resembles a high speed turn around by the web developer hired by that vendor with absolutely zero care if it was the right or wrong approach for the jeweler.
* At the bottom of every page of the site there's a link for Graduation Ideas. For a moment I thought that maybe they were a little behind on updating their website; after all, graduation season should be over by now, right? I checked the time stamp on the graduation page and found it to be January 7, 2010. Maybe there's a monthly graduation in Louisville, KY?
* This is a rhetorical question but I'm going to ask it anyway... Why is there a hit counter on the bottom right of all the pages? Hit counters like that went out of style in 1999. Why would you want to show your competition how many (or few) people have visited your website? The answer is that you shouldn't. Ever.
The navigation of the product catalog is awful. When you click on the Exclusive Jewelry link on the top right you are brought to a pleasing looking landing page with thumbnail images to represent 11 different jewelry categories. Here's where I am:
Click any of those thumbnails and you are brought immediately to a product detail page. On any other credible jewelry website I would expect to click on the link to see the Bridal Sets category and see a table of product to click on. Not on this website! On this site they bypass any thought of an organized group of product and they jump directly to the first bridal set item.
That first item says it's "Page 1/97"... 1 of 97 items? Where are the other 96 items? I don't see a "Next" link or any way to find the other products... then I scrolled down to the bottom and found a cluster of numbers 1 through 97. I also found the "First | Previous | Next | Last" links down there too. Sadly when you click any of those links the page refreshes and jumps to an anchor point at the top of the current product image.
What a mess! I'd love to see the bounce rate on this website. My guess is that it's up above 70%.
What I Liked About the Site:
* I tried to honestly find some redeeming qualities for this website. The only thing I like about it is the slideshow on the home page. It's the only aesthetically pleasing design element of the entire site; thankfully it was updated only a few months before this review. It's the only recent update I can find on the website.
Incorrect SEO Issues:
* Every page of the website, including the products in the catalog, has the exact same page title. Here it is:
Gumer & Co. Jewelry in Louisville, Kentucky, KY: jewelry store, bridal jewelry, engagement rings, wedding bands, diamond jewelry, loose diamonds, rings, custom jewelry, retail jewelry, certified loose diamonds, jewelry repairs.
That page title is 228 characters long when it should be 65 at most. It's also stuffed with 11 keyword phrases separated by commas. Stuffing your page titles with keywords is bad for your ranking. Don't do it.
* Every page of the website, including the products in the catalog, has the exact same meta description, and it's the exact same as the page title shown above. The meta description should only be 150 characters and it should be a brief description each individual page.
* Every page of the site has the same keyword stuffed meta keywords. As I've said over and over again, meta keywords are not used by search engines. They are not used in positive ranking at all. In fact there were reports from years ago that Google used them to negatively rank website based on the amount of keywords stuffed into them. Gumer has 857 characters and 107 words stuffed into their meta keywords.
* The footer of every page includes an example of black hat SEO. They included a descriptive sentence of the website in a small text size that closely matches the background color. Obviously the intent of this is to spam the search engines because it's difficult for any normal person to read it.
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.