The typical jewelry store usually displays happy couples, brides, or jewelry photos on their home page. But not this jeweler.... They show a photo of a lumberjack!
It all started with my search for "jewelers portland or" to find a candidate for today's website review. Let's take a look at LaRog Brothers...
Here's the website: http://www.larog.com/; you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
LaRog Brothers is the official jeweler of the Portland Timbers, and they've created a special Portland Timbers watch. Their marketing targets their expected customers, which is why they have a wooden watch wearing lumberjack prominently positioned on their home page. The banner on their home page looks a lot like a billboard, and I wouldn't be surprised if they have a similar one someone around the Portland area. It certainly would make sense for their marketing.
I found the rest of the home page to be disorganized, with a scattershot of topics. Quickly scrolling up and down on the home page makes it seem like this jeweler pushes their low prices and wants to buy your gold.
"Guaranteed lowest prices on GIA diamonds"
"Free gift certificate"
"Sell your diamonds private & discreet"
"Web specials on diamonds"
"30 day price guarantee!"
"Attention: Gold prices are rising. Learn how you can profit."
Sadly, their home page does not reflect the social interaction that they produce on Facebook where they have more than 5500 fans.
Speaking of social networks, they have 2 Google+ pages, one for each of their store locations, but as of this writing neither +Page had been updated since December 2011. What was the last post? Yet another invitation to sell your gold and diamonds to them.
When you put a banner on your home page, you should always pay attention to how it interacts with the rest of the design elements on the page. The Portland Timbers watch banner certainly does attract a lot of attention. In fact, the lumberjack photo was so compelling that I had complete blindness of the top navigation menu.
As I looked at the headlines on their home page, I honestly wondered if they even sold jewelry. In fact, the main top menu of their site doesn't say the word jewelry, nor does their logo. The word "jewelry" is only used 4 times on their home page in very casual ways. I think they are too casual in fact.
My feeling about the home page is that it's simply unfocused, and therefore not user friendly at all.
What I Sorta Liked About the Site:
They prominently display their Designers as the first option on their top navigation. Clicking that brings you to a landing page with logos and brief descriptions of their designers. If you click each designer name from there, you also jump to a small jewelry catalog for each designer.
I like the setup with their designer line pages, but they could improve this a little. The landing page has the same text as the product catalog pages. This information should be different. According to what Google says now, they won't consider this duplicate information, but they will think it's not very user friendly to have the same information on two pages of the site.
About their SEO:
I don't like that they are using "LaRog Brothers" as the first 2 words in all the page titles of their site. They are trying to rank too hard for their store name rather than using titles that make sense for the page.
I did a quick Google search for "site:larog.com" to see how their web pages appeared since they don't have meta descriptions on their site. It looks like Google is doing a good job at filling in those blanks for them by using their on-page information.
When I looked at their code I found it interesting that they spent a lot of time setting up pretty advanced HTML 5 markup using the instructions on this website here: http://www.heppnetz.de/projects/goodrelations/
It would have taken a very long time to do that extra work, yet no one bothered to spend 20 minutes to craft good meta descriptions for their pages.
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.