Welcome to my weekly random website review. In these reviews, I search for website candidates that have problems (aka flops) with their website, and I suggest fixes to make them better. This week, I'm taking a drive down to Accomack County, Virginia in search for a jewelry store. Accomack is near the famous Route 13 Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel that I once had the pleasure, and slight fright, to drive over. There are fewer businesses in the individual towns of this seaside community, which is why it's better to use the county name to search in this area. It's also a good test to see how well Google can correctly pigeonhole business into the county.
I started my Google search with the phrase "jewelry stores Accomack, VA" and was given these results:
The Google Local listings and map of Accomack wasn't very helpful surfacing the local businesses in the small tourist communities. Although it did suggest 3 stores in the local list, all the surfaced organic results were online business directories that listed businesses by county.
I decided to choose Island Butterfly jewelry located in Chincoteague Island, VA, famous for their Chincoteague Ponies and annual Pony Swim.
This Island Butterfly Jewelry & Jubilee website is http://www.shopislandbutterfly.com/. This is what it looked like when I visited:
(click to enlarge)
This is a very simple looking website that is easy to explore. Like many other jewelers in tourist areas, it looks like they set this website up to supplement their sales through the winter months and keep in touch with the customers they meet over the summer.
I found the website very easy to navigate and the ecommerce options inviting, especially with their message of "Free Shipping. All day Everyday" posted all over their website. I also liked this message that I found on their shopping cart page: "Nervous to pay on internet??? Never fear just call us and ordering is quick and simple with payment taken over phone 757-894-2512"
The fix is easy. Add these overhead pages to the website and include links on the shopping cart page or in the footer of every page of the site.
I was happily surprised to find out that their website was mobile device aware. Most websites now are built using mobile responsive techniques, which usually lead to very poor user experiences. Theirs, however, is able to sense the difference between my laptop computer and my iPhone and gave me a mobile version of the site as you see here:
(click to enlarge)
I quickly tested the functionality of their mobile shopping cart and how it leads to the mobile version of the PayPal checkout. It works nicely.
Although the page layout of their mobile site is device aware, some of the content wasn't. For example, you can see here how their online payment message is showing incorrect line breaks when viewed on a smartphone:
This flop might not be fixable unless they have the power to enter different content for their mobile website.
Another flop I noticed on the mobile site was the lack of a link to their home page. I expected the top logo to be a link to their home page, but it's not. I also expected to find a home page link in their mobile navigation, but that too was missing. Links back to the home page allow online shoppers to quickly start over and get their bearings before looking into another category.
This flop is probably just an oversight in their mobile navigation and should be easily fixable.
Home Page Links
The home page shown on desktop computers has several product photos. At the time of this writing, there were 8 specific product photos and 3 photos representing categories.
The category link for Gifts linked to the correct page and the category link for Accessories also worked, but the photo representing the jewelry category wasn't working. That's an easy flop to fix.
When I hovered over each of the 8 product photos, I saw a popup with the photo image name as shown here:
I give them credit for that popup feature because most websites don't bother to activate it, however I would have preferred to see a caption below each image without the need for the hover.
I was also disappointed, and felt mislead by the 8 jewelry product photos on the home page. Three of the photos were not linked and the rest of the photos linked to jewelry categories instead of directly to the item in the photo. I also couldn't even locate the earrings shown in the above photo when I clicked on them. I consider this functionality to be a flop. Photos showing a single image should link to the product details for that item rather than to the general product category they belong to.
The last topic I'll cover for today is their search engine optimization. For all the good ways they've built their site, they flopped in a big way with how their product catalog works. They are using the hash-bang technique (#!) to display the different pages of their product catalog and their product detail pages.
Google would only be able to see the first part:
but not the next part:
Although Google can now read the full URL they still have trouble interpreting what's on the screen. Here's the screen shot for the above Wild Horse Pendant URL:
Here's how Google shows that URL in the SERPs:
If Google was able to read the page correctly, it probably would have included the description "Designed by Peter Stone. Sterling Silver. Chain sold separately.", but it didn't. Instead, it grabbed the text from the footer of the home page that says "All photos are not allowed to be duplicated or reused Island Butterfly LLC 2015 contact us - firstname.lastname@example.org"
In this case, using the hash-bang technique is yielding unexpected results. This is a flopped setup.
That's it for this week's review; I'll see you next time...
FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm giving them these flop fix ideas. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this Nugget if they use Google Alerts or examine their Google Analytics and Google Search Console. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This #FridayFlopFix is completely impartial and all my comments are based on previous experience in my website design and marketing agency, and from my personal research data.