For this week's jewelry website review, I'm venturing over to Des Moines, Iowa. The goal of this website review is to find different things that you can learn from to improve your own jewelry website.
I started my search this week in Google with the phrase "jewelers des moines," witch returned a local list of 7 retail stores. I chose the first one on the list: Josephs Jewelers
Here's the website: http://www.josephsjewelers.com; you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
I felt very conflicted by my initial reaction to the home page and 3 things I found there.
1. The main title of the page starts with "Without Question, Josephs," which turns out to be their slogan. I'd like to say that, without question, the first 2 words in the title tag of your home page are the most important keywords of your website. Placing your slogan there might seem like a good idea, but I would love to see an A/B test with the phrase "Jewelry Store Des Moines, Iowa" instead.
2. They have a slide show of images which, I think, nicely portrays the customer experience with owning jewelry. Each image has the message "what is true love worth? everything." I think this pulls the customers in.
3. Then they have a block of copy below the images that is supposed to hook in the customer further... Well, that's what it's supposed to do even if they don't realize that's what home page text is for. Josephs Jewelers opened in 1871 and they are pretty proud of that fact. They used that entire opening paragraph to explain how good they are and how long they have been around. I know more marketing flair could be added to that sales copy (because it is actually sales copy) to hook the customers in a much better way.
The usability problems I found are subtle and they are all worth a little bit of A/B testing to see if there is a benefit.
* The top menu is a little confusing. All of the menu items change color when you hover over them, which usually indicated a link to another page. However, the menu items with dropdown navigation are not clickable. This is subtle, but if they used a click tracker, they would probably find a high number of people clicking on their menu multiple times before they figured out how it works.
* The gallery of products has 3 dropdown lists inviting you to search through the different categories. I found this to be a waste of my time, and a little frustrating. In this new age of AJAX scripts I expected the page to refresh every time I changed one of the options in the dropdown lists. They probably would fare better with a different type of navigation or just adding the AJAX scripts. My personal preference is a navigation menu that would fully change based on the selections.
Oops, I Found a Problem...
I mentioned above that I didn't like the way their top menu navigation worked. Thanks to a search in Google, I discovered that their menu is (probably) broken.
The words in the top menu that don't link to anything are GALLERY, IDEAL CUT, CARE, and TRADITION. But I found these pages in a Google search:
GALLERY - http://www.josephsjewelers.com/gallery/
IDEAL CUT - http://www.josephsjewelers.com/ideal_cut/
CARE - http://www.josephsjewelers.com/care/
TRADITION - http://www.josephsjewelers.com/tradition/
Their programmer should look at this and reconnect those pages to the menu. These pages would work as good target landing pages for online ads, and maybe that's why they exist without being linked on their website.
Oops, I Found Something They Completely Overlooked...
Their top menu uses the phrase "Ideal Cut," which, as any jeweler knows, refers to extremely high quality characteristics of a diamond. But does the customer know that? I searched their site for the phrase "ideal cut" to see if it was defined at all.
Their top menu uses the phrase and then links to pages that explain the 4C's of diamond, but no where do they specifically explain what "ideal" means. It wasn't even explained on the hidden landing page I found ( http://www.josephsjewelers.com/ideal_cut/ ) even though the URL specifically said "ideal_cut."
This finding is rather silly, but it points out how easy it is for you to overlook the importance of explaining industry phrases to your customers. Don't assume they know what you are saying.
Josephs should spend a little time reviewing the keywords they rank for and make sure that their website includes keyword phrases that are important to them. Since they missed this obvious one I have to assume there are more.
Incorrect SEO Issues:
* Every page of their site has the same meta description. This is always bad for SEO and Google won't put up with it. Instead of showing this repetitive description in SERPs, Google was showing this randomly generated description: "Ideal Cut. Cut Color Clarity Carat. Care. Ask the Experts Gold Palladium Pearls Pewter Platinum Precious Gems Sterling Silver Titanium Tungsten Carbide"
They can correct this by spending about 15 minutes on each page and customize each description.
* Since this store has been around since 1871 I have to assume that they were involved with the internet from the earliest days, i.e. 1993. This might give them an excuse for still having meta keywords on their website. They have these keywords on every page of their site: "jewelry, des moines jewelry, des moines jeweler, iowa jewelry, iowa jeweler, anniversary ring, wedding ring, anniversary gifts, gemstones"
Sadly, the truth is that their website went live on August 23, 2000 and by that time the meta keyword was already phased out as a useful SEO method. Google and Bing do not use meta keywords as part of their ranking algorithms so there's no use wasting your time on this.
The better method is to add more content to the website that includes those words.
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.