Since April 2013, I've reviewed 190 different websites and made a countless number of suggestions for updating each one. Today, and for the next few weeks, I'm going to revisit a few of those old websites to see what's new and if they've made progress.
If they have made progress, it's not because I told them what to do. The disclaimer at the bottom of all my reviews says that I don't write these to solicit business, and the only way they will find out about the review is if they search for their name online. Fewer than 5 in 190 have ever reached out to me and thanked me for the improvement advice.
This morning, I'm on my way to Orlando with my mother to celebrate her 70th birthday. Walt Disney World is her favorite place on Earth, so we'll be spending the next 2 weeks there together. Feel free to follow our adventures on my Instagram account @matthewperosi to see the Goofy (and Mickey) stuff we get into.
In honor of my trip to Orlando, I'm revisiting one of the retail jewelers I reviewed back in June 2014, which was the last time we were in Disney World: Tharoo & Co Jewelers and their website http://www.tharooco.com/
Revisiting My Query
Back on June 27, 2014, I used the search query "jewelry stores in Orlando" and saw these results:
In June 2014, Tharoo was first in the Google Local listings, but not today. They don't even appear in the Google Local listing, in fact, they are listed last in the organic results as you can see here:
I'll attempt to figure out why they dropped so far in the ranking...
Can't Reach The Website
There was something seriously wrong with their website on the day I wrote this review. I thought that they might be out of business because for several hours I was getting the message "This site can't be reached" while trying to look their site up:
According to Google search, the store was still in business so I kept trying to reach the site. Eventually, I got to the site, but even then it was very slow.
This technical difficulty could be why Google is ranking the site so poorly now. Google uses site speed and uptime as part of their ranking factors, which is why you you'll get alerts from Google Search Console if they detect a technical problem like this with your site. The longer technical issues like this continue the further down Google will drop a website in the ranking.
Home Page Changes
The biggest difference between the Tharoo home page from June 2014 and today is that they removed the popup invitation to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. This combined then and now screen show points out the other changes:
(click to enlarge)
The red arrows point to the main areas that people will look at when they visit the website, which include the hero photos and the written text. They have 6 images in the hero image rotation. They should change all these out on a regular basis but several of them are exactly the same as 2014.
The written text on the home page is almost exactly the same. They tweaked some of the old text to include a few more designer names, and they added a paragraph detailing that they now sell Pandora jewelry.
I found it interesting that they changed their social media icons on the top right of their website. They added Google+ and updated the Facebook icon. Although, all 5 icons are at least 1 year out of date already and need updating yet again. Speaking of out of date, so are all of their social media accounts. The last time they posted to Google+ and Facebook was July 4, 2016 (17 weeks ago), their last Tweet was June 10, 2016 (21 weeks ago),and the last time they posted to YouTube was over a year ago.
The top navigation menu of their site changed a little bit. I do like that they changed their "Specials" button to now say "Special Offers" with a red background.
If your website is popular, you might not want to change the design too quickly because you will disorient your regular visitors, however, you should at least consider a slow redesign over time. That redesign can be accomplished through A/B testing color changes and small layout changes.
Duplicate Content Persists
In June 2014, I identified that Tharoo was paying Blue Star Applications to build their website and populate their content. That hasn't changed, the duplicate education information on their website still exists on their education pages. Here's a then-and-now screen shot:
(click to enlarge)
According to my notes, there were more than 23 websites sharing that same education information in 2014, but now I can only find 4 other sites with the same information. Perhaps those 19 websites realized that duplicate content on different websites is bad for ranking and they removed the Blue Star information, or they've simply redesigned their sites over the last 2 years.
I also found it interesting that the old Blue Star Applications website wasn't functioning correctly either. The new Blue Star website looks nothing like the old one, which leads me to believe that Tharoo has declined Blue Star's website upgrade offers.
I've been programming websites for a very long time; in fact, I started in 1993. Since then, I've either directly programmed or been the team leader for development of more than 700 websites, 500 of which were jewelry related.
The reality of websites is that they are never completed, and that's because there are changes to your business every day. Your website should reflect the changes in business practices, staff, and inventory as soon as you implement those changes in your store.
The cost of website creation has also changed a lot over the years. What once required a budget of $50,000 for a simple website in 1995 had dropped to about $12,000 in 2003 and can now be created with as little as $1,500.
When you buy something for $50,000 or $12,000 you will naturally have high expectations for some type of ROI. Sadly, a website will never produce any ROI unless you continually promote it, which most retail jewelers don't do. They simply do not have the ability to dedicate the labor or hire a marketing company to do that for them.
Over the years, I've had many jewelers accuse me of trying to churn their websites just to make an extra buck. It's quite insulting to be told that I'm money greedy when I spend so much time to freely educate. The reality is that all technology changes continually and your website programmer is trying to keep up with those changes and offer the best benefit to you with those upgrade offers.
Speaking of free education and advice, for those of you who feel that your current website isn't returning on your investment, then the only person to blame is yourself. You've hired a website company to build a website and make it run, not to promote it. Most people, not just jewelers, believe all the hype they've heard over the years and expect a website designer to also run and promote their website. That's just not true.
It seems like Tharoo & Co is not paying attention to their online identity at all. They haven't updated their social accounts and I found promotions on their website from (I assume) December 2015.
Your website needs to stay relevant with new content on a regular basis. You can't just let it sit there. Every time you change something in your store, that change needs to be reflected online. Product inventory is a big part of those changes, but event, staff, and service updates are also important.
Lastly, the next time your website developer offers you an upgrade, swallow your attitude and incorrect beliefs, and listen to reason, otherwise your website is likely to die a slow death just like Tharoo & Co is.
That's it for this week's re-review. Remember to follow me on Instagram if you want to see my family vacation pics. I'll still be in Orlando next week and I'll be doing a re-review of another jeweler down here in the Orlando area.
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.