I can't remember you how many times I've had people ask me how I come up with so many topics for my Daily Golden Nuggets. I certainly wasn't born with the gift of gab, but somehow I figured out how to transform from the quiet kid in the corner to someone who won't shut up. Every time I think I'm going to run out of topics, I say to myself "well it's time to dig back into all the tracking data to pull out some easy numbers."
What I never seem to remember is that digging into that data takes forever!
Back in March 2012 (18 months ago!) I created a new way to gather tracking data into one unified bucket that removes all personal information as it's being collected. This saved me a lot of time from manually gathering data from my server farm and removing this personal information by hand. I thought I was being pretty clever with making my job easier.
What's that they say about using technology to make a job easier? Every time I make my job easier in one way, I find that I suddenly have so much more opportunity to add even more difficult work onto my plate!
And so, my data collection methods improved so much that I'm now able to grind out more statistical information about jewelry websites than I ever thought possible.
Want to know what the most popular type of page someone is looking at on a Sunday afternoon from their iPhone 4? Sure, I can tell you that.
Want to know what types of jewelry people were browsing during the blackout of last season's Super Bowl? Yeah I can find that out now too.
Most of the time I'm looking for more prosaic stats like the recent discovery that 35% of jewelry website visitors are using smartphones. Another recent good finding is that you should create specific sub-sections of your product catalog that use a designer's name in the URL.
Then of course I still find myself surprised to see that all those Yellow Pages websites just won't go away even though everyone is canceling their paid ads. The Yellow Pages' mastery of SEO proves that you can get yourself ranked highly even with the most useless websites.
On the other hand, there's a lot of data that I don't report about because the numbers are not high enough. I'm constantly seeing what I consider to be serious online marketing mistakes by many retail jewelers. I'm not sure if I should blame these mistakes on good salesman who sold those service or uneducated jewelers that were tricked into buying them.
For example, the latest Yellow Pages tactic is to register an alternative domain name for a jeweler and copy information from their website to create a 1-page alternative site. Seriously? When I see this I have to fight back the urge to call that jeweler and simply say "Listen, pay me the $80 per month that you are paying to the Yellow Pages and I will guarantee and increase in traffic to your site!" I /never/ make guarantees but this is an easy one because those blasted alternative YP abomination sites are already pulling valuable traffic away from the jeweler.
I've come across other online marketing companies that create additional types of bastardized websites for jewelers. These are big marketing firms that say they will increase exposure but all their really doing is pulling visitor traffic away from the main site without any lead generation or potential for sales. Again, I want to call these jewelers and tell them I'm willing to accept all the money they are throwing away.
In March 2013 I was at the MJSA Expo in NYC where I finally had a chance to attend one of Eugene Brill's seminars. During this seminar he did live reviews of a few jewelry websites for attendees. Brilliant! Why didn't I think of that??? No matter how much I think I know, I'm always willing to learn from others, so I'd like to credit Eugene as my inspiration for starting my own weekly website review which I began back on April 19, 2013.
Every week I randomly choose a city to find the next review recipient. I want to let you in on a little secret about what I see... I NEVER EVER see a website built by any of my competitors in the jewelry industry. I do see plenty of websites built by local designers and even sloppy systems like GoDaddy.
What does this tell me? Basically there's an entire group of jewelers who are spending a lot of money without any reasonable return. I've mentioned the names of my competitors many times during the last 3 years. They are good companies to use when you don't want to do anything yourself or when you want rapid solutions. Regretfully, the fact is that all those websites are either invisible to Google or are so poorly constructed that Google ignores what it finds.
Managing all the raw data certainly gives me a unique understanding of what works and what doesn't. Other than pure visitor tracking I'm starting to include usability tracking results in my Daily Nugget information. When I see what other website designers are doing for retail jewelers I usually have to bite my tongue and not say anything. I have to assume that other web programming companies are looking at the stats for the website they create, right? Aren't they learning anything by reviewing their own work?
I'm not sure how other companies can continue to make mistakes and sell website services that have such low results. Are they just in it for the profits they can get from jewelers who know no better? I want to stand on top of a tall building and yell out (to quote Meatloaf) "Just what do you think you're doing, boy!?" But I don't do that because there probably would be some type of group attack against me as a fraud even though everything I write is backed up by my own research which can be proven. I give my business partner and Nugget Editor, George Blair IV, a lot of credit for controlling my assertive throttle most of the time. ["Hi, everyone" -- George]
I don't use the Daily Golden Nugget as a sales tool for myself or my company and my honest hope is that all my readers realize how much legitimate research time goes into every one of them. The Nugget from last Tuesday took more than 7 hours to grind through data just to create a crummy top 10 list. I keep wondering if I should hire an intern to churn this data.
With every passing day, I'm becoming more of a curator of big website data for the jewelry industry. I certainly didn't realize the responsibility that came with this endeavor when I started 3 years ago but I'm enjoying sharing my findings and I'm hoping that all my readers are learning something. I am well aware that most jewelers don't have the time to put my ideas to use but that won't stop me from continuing this journey in hopes that they will eventually refer back to this massive library I'm written.
If you've read down this far in today's diatribe then I really do thank you for listening. The best present that you could give to me today, on my birthday, is to tell all your jewelry industry friends about what I'm trying to accomplish here. If you're friends with other jewelers on Facebook, Google+, or even through your buying group, don't you think they would be interested in finding out about the secrets you've discovered here?
Again, thank you for reading.
Matthew A Perosi