The internet of things (IoT) now connects so much of daily life it's hard to remember what things were like 23 years ago when it was just in its infancy. New internet connected devices are announced every day that will undoubtedly shape our futures of personal life and how we reach customers and conduct business. Although there are plenty of new tech toys announced every week, it's the smartphone which has changed how we manage our daily lives.
With all these changes happening in the world around us, it's hard to imagine that anyone trying to run a business would not explore new ideas for internet marketing and not even embrace social media.
Considering the number of start-up businesses that ask for my help to understand social media and websites, I'm still surprised by the numbers of existing businesses that simply shrug it off as if it's just a passing fad.
Every Friday, I usually dissect a random jewelry website to show what it is doing wrong and how everyone can learn from those mistakes. There are usually some redeeming qualities in every bad website I come across.
This week, I started my search for "jewelers in eureka, CA" and found one with such an abysmal online footprint that I need to make an example out of them. I don't often find such a good example of bad online practices.
Abraxas Jewelers is the name of the store and their website is http://www.abraxasjewelers.com/.
This is what the home page looked like when I visited:
(click to enlarge)
The home page is filled with a mix of 11 staff, product, and store photos staggered along the top and right side. I found the layout to be old, ugly, and reminiscent of how Microsoft Publisher created websites back in the late 90s and early 2000s.
According to the source code of the websitem it was build with iWeb 3.0.4, which is an old WYSIWYG web design program that Apple discontinued in 2011. Those WYSIWYG editors can generate clean HTML source code for the best and worst website designs that you can come up with. This design is among the worst I've seen in a while.
In addition to the random layout of photos, there's a box of links at the top for all their product categories. It's functional, but it's ugly by today's standards.
Including the Home page and the Blog, there are 24 links in the top navigation. 22 of those links jump to product photo galleries that look like this one:
That's the actual size of their galleries. I also found the product images to be inconsistent from gallery to gallery. The above image was one of the larger photos I found, but most of them were a bit smaller. There was no zoom feature either.
Even though I don't like the layout, these photo galleries wouldn't be so bad if they included a description for each product. What metal is it made of? How many diamonds are there? What's the finish? Answering simple questions like this would help Google understand that these are jewelry photos and would help match random customer search queries.
I'm not sure "outdated" is the right description for this blog because I'm pretty sure they never used it in the first place. This is a screen shot from the only blog post on the site dated July 22, 2009:
A business blog should never be allowed to flounder, and you should simply remove the visible dates if you don't update it often enough. Some good ways to use your blog would be to add new stories about how you helped customers, product reviews, and publishing any other information that might not fit anywhere else around your website.
In this particular case, it seems like the store owner might have had the best intentions, but didn't follow through.
The home page of the Abraxas Jewelers website says they've been in business for 37 years. It's hard to believe that any local business would be around since before the internet and completely ignore social media; but that's what these guys are doing.
Without an official business page, Facebook created an "unofficial page" for the store. This is what it looks like:
I have to assume that the lack of internet usage means they are spending their entire advertising budget on offline ads. Offline ads are still an important part of a holistic overall marketing plan, but you should not choose one method or another. Online ads and offline ads should be planned out to complement one another.
I can't say what the future holds for Abraxas Jewelers, but unless they are planning on retiring in a few years they should update their website, get social, and think about all the new internet tools to help them keep their business alive.
That's it for this week's lambasting; 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.