This is the Friday Flop Fix website review. The goal of this review is to examine the mistakes a random website is making and suggest ways to fix it. I do my best every week to take on the role of a typical internet savvy consumer as I search for a review candidate. I also use the Google Chrome browser set to incognito mode so my previous browsing history does not influence the search results I see.
For today's search, I used the phrase "jewelry stores Elgin, IL" and saw these results:
Shockey Jewelers is first in the list of local businesses and it's first in the organic results. As a consumer, I'll choose this one for today's review, but before I get to the review I have to point out a few things about the results you see above.
Within the local business pack, the listing for Richard's Fine Jewelry Design and Elgin Jewelers do not have associated websites. I don't know if either of these stores actually has a website (I didn't bother to look) but I find it interesting that these businesses didn't claim their Google My Business account and add their websites. To me, this just demonstrates how far behind many jewelers are with maintaining their online identity.
There are two other jewelers appearing in the organic results, Perlman Fine Jewelry and D&M Perlman Fine Jewelry & Gifts. The former store is located south of Elgin and the latter store is north of Elgin. I assume that they appear in these results because both websites mention the town of Elgin in the store history write-up on their About Us page.
This is what the Shockey Jewelers website (http://www.shockeyjewelers.com/) looked like when I first visited:
The slogan on their home page says "Small Town Traditions... World Class Ideas." After a quick look at their antiquated website, it enforced my view that everyone needs to overcome their fear of reaching the entire world with their website.
Although this website looks pretty old with its narrow layout and small text size I was glad to see a Shop Online button in the header. Clicking that button brought me to this page:
This is an ancient (by internet standards) product catalog and checkout system. It doesn't have a shopping cart. You're supposed to enter the quantity for each item you want then click the submit button all the way at the bottom. The arrow in the above screen shot is pointing to the submit button.
Although this might have been a good system years ago, modern ecommerce methods make this look completely silly. They need to overhaul this entire setup. Out of curiosity, I tried to interact with this ecommerce system but the "click to enlarge" links all produced 404 errors, shown here:
If that wasn't bad enough, when I clicked the Submit button at the bottom of the page I found myself on this random website:
It looks like they had a secure site a while back that's been disconnected. The submit button still points to the secure site, which now redirects to a podcast website. This is a complete flop. They need to rebuild this website all over again, and make the entire site secure.
This Ancient Site
Maybe their slogan is right. Maybe they did have world class ideas at one time, but that's not the feeling I get from their website today.
Taking a stroll down memory lane, I looked their site up on the internet archive and found this:
They've had the same website since April 19, 2001! This website is nearly 16 years old! I've not come across a website that old in a long time. Although it's a shame that this site is still running, I have to give them credit for setting up an ecommerce site in 2001. Back then this site would have been a "World Class Idea," sadly though, time has passed them by.
They probably invested in this website just as the dot-com bubble was bursting back in 2000. Websites similar to this one that I was building back then easily had price tags of $25,000 or more. That was before content management systems and all the programming had to be done by hand every time. Labor costs were astronomical.
I've met several jewelers who attempted large website project way back then that still feel like they got burned, and they just do not want to try again. I would completely understand if this is how Shockey Jewelers feels, even 16 years later.
It's time to move past the bad feelings and revamp this website. Even a simple website from Wix would be better than this.
More Broken Images
I found broken images throughout the website. You can see some of them here along the left navigation area:
The red arrows in the above screen grab indicate where I found broken images. I found it very annoying that all the "click to enlarge" links lead to dead pages and 404 errors.
Over the last 16 years, I have a feeling that they switched hosting companies several times. They are currently hosting on Bluehost, but that wasn't their original hosting company since they opened in 2003. This website predates Bluehost! With each switch they probably had a website programmer transfer their files, and it seems some of their files got lost along the way.
Epic Fail and Shortsightedness
I've already mentioned that Shockey Jewelers probably feels a little discouraged by their big website attempts from 16 years ago. The dot-com bubble back then had everyone thinking of lots of dollar signs, but the only guys making the money back then were the programmers.
However, the bad experience you had with your website, regardless how old it is, is no reason to let your site malfunction and hurt your business.
In this new age, where people would rather text or email than pick up the telephone, the contact form on the website becomes very important for businesses. Here's the contact form I found:
Clicking the submit button brought me to another 404 error page. This is very disheartening to me because I know the sites I work on usually get at least 1 real customer request per week through the contact form. I have no idea how long this has been broken, but at a rate of 1 email per week and 52 per year, consider that this website has been around for 16 years, they might have already lost 520 potential customers while this was broken.
If they do nothing else on this website, they should hire a programmer to fix their contact page. Above all other things, this is the first flop that needs to be fixed.
It doesn't matter what experience you've had in the past with your website. If you are not getting any results, start over. You should not think of your website as a do-it-once project. Instead, view it as a continual learning experience because the internet changes daily.
Website programming, maintenance, hosting, social media, and online advertising are just a few of the things that are seemingly bottomless money hungry monsters related to your online identity. Someone must be in charge of keeping these things up to date, and in this case, anything newer would be better than what Shockey Jewelers is still using.
That's it for this 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.