One of the common errors in the English language is the confusion between the words Champagne and Champaign.
Champagne is a region in France where the sparkling wine, champagne, comes from. Those French "regions" are similar to states in the US. Although there are vineyards all over the world that produce sparkling wine, it's not "champagne" unless the grapes were grown, and the wine was produced in that region of France. The capital city of Champagne is Epernay, which I visited a few years ago. I've included a photo below.
It's common to raise your glass and enjoy a toast with champagne at a wedding, but if you want to "enjoy Champaign," you'd have to travel to Illinois, because it's not an alcoholic drink. It's a city. In fact it's primarily a college city of about 83,000.
And when it comes to colleges... that's where a lot of romances start. So for today's Daily Golden Nugget website review, I'm going to take a look at the jewelers in Champaign, IL to see exactly what options those college students are given.
Here are the results I saw when I did a Google search for "jewelers Champaign, Illinois":
Even though Christopher's Fine Jewelry Design is at the top of the list for local results, my attention was immediately drawn to the first organic listing for "Champaign Jewelers" simply because those are the words I typed into search.
One of the common things I'm always telling retail jewelers, is that bricks and mortar stores named after their home town have an automatic boost in visibility and ranking simply because their store name matches the common search phrase. I'm certainly not suggesting that you should change your business name to match your town name; I'm just saying that those of you who chose town names are automatically placed a little higher.
Here's what the http://wwvv.champaignjewelers.com/ home page looked like:
(click to enlarge)
This is an extremely simple looking website, but before I dive into the particulars, I want you to look back at that URL I'm showing you above. Carefully look. Take notice how it says wwvv.champaignjewelers.com rather than www.champaignjewelers.com. That's w-w-v-v rather than w-w-w.
I'm not sure why they would choose such an unusual website address. I tried typing in the www and then just champaignjewelers.com and they both redirected to the wwvv version of their address.
Admittedly, you can choose to set up your website any way you like, but it's silly to do something that's outside the normal naming conventions that everyone is used to. In fact, the wwvv looks intentionally deceiving. Although it appears that they are correctly doing 301 redirects of their domain name, I'm sure this has led to quite a few link building issues.
Let's now take a look at the six product photos they have on their home page shown in this image:
(click to view larger)
The infinity ring on the bottom right was the first one I noticed. The second one I noticed was the bracelet in the bottom center. These items didn't stand out because they were attractive or interesting, but because their "shadows" were wrong. The shadows go up instead of down. In PhotoShop terms, this means they created a "-90 degree drop shadow" when they should have created a shadow with an angle between 60 and 130 degrees.
Shadows in nature always cast downward and away, not up. In fact, when I worked as a professional theatre lighting designer, there was only a few occasions when I needed to light an object from below in order to cast a shadow upward. It never looked natural.
Your takeaway on product lighting is that the shadows should cast downward.
I need to talk a little more about this infinity ring photo. While examining the photo, I discovered that it is not hosted on the chanpaignjewelers.com website. It's hosted in an image subdirectory of their website programmer. Here's the specific URL:
Hosting your images on another server or website is a bad practice. It used to be a really good idea, and perhaps it is still a reasonable idea for large online photo galleries, but it's unwise for retail jewelers. The reason is because Google has an image spider that looks for images and it will typically attribute them to the domain they are hosted on. I suppose I should also mention that the image file name should be something better than 22 numbers strung together.
I discovered one last issue with this infinity ring when I clicked on it from the home page. You can see it here:
(click to view larger)
The product seems to no longer in their online database, even though you can still add it to the shopping cart.
I noticed a lot of other designer, SEO, and usability issues with their website but I don't' have enough room here to cover them all.
It's a little disheartening that they actively post to their Facebook page but have chosen to let their website flounder like this.
My closing thoughts are that they might want to do some study on who their local target audience is, and then build a website experience that serves the expectations of that audience. They have a Facebook post from June 20, 2014 showing more than 1000 new engagement rings, so I'm thinking they are hoping to target the college students in the city.
I'll make a guess here and say that the potential bridal customer in Champaign, IL will be completely turned off by their website. It's not visually appealing, and it has a bunch of content issues that all lead to customer disappointment.
That's it for this week's review; I'll leave you with a photo I took in Epernay, Champaign France.
A photo from Epernay, the capital of the
Champagne region of France. Not
to be confused with Champaign, IL
(click to view larger)
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.