Site: Boulder Blooms, Boulder, CO
Boulder Blooms scores many points for their efforts to personalize their web presence. You can’t leave this site without feeling like you’ve connected even a little bit with the shop team. At the same time, the personal touches can leave the site feeling a little rough around the edges.
The home page real estate is mostly occupied by a large picture of the smiling staff members in an empty field with a mountain in the distance. It doesn’t hurt that the staff are easy on the eyes, too. Personal? Yes! Colorado? Heck, ya! Floral? … Sadly, no. It’s not until you scroll down past the staff image, the “Best of the Knot” text and the large statement about same day deliveries that you finally learn about the business: “Boulder Blooms is a Boulder florist specializing in incredible floral designs and fresh flowers!” Nice intro – it’s just a shame it’s located at the bottom edge of my 22″ monitor.
The folks at BB (The Bloomers?) would be better served with a smaller image that was recognizable to the eye as being related to flowers, moving the staff photo to the About Us page. The “post-it” graphic is a nice reminder to check out their add-ons, but it’s not clickable so it just frustrates more than entices.
As I tend to ramble on and on with site reviews (ask anyone who was on our last site review webinar!) I’ll skip to the good stuff in point form:
- Site is very personalized, clearly not a faceless corporation
- Ranks well in Local and Organic search results with little competition
- Most reviews of any florist in Boulder
- Address on every page
- Short bios on staff members, helps the customer get to know the people, create a personal connection
Suggested Areas For Improvement
- Design – especially the home page – doesn’t say confirm visually that this is a florist website
- Canonical Issues:
- www & non-www versions of the URL both serve content
- Home link points to index file instead of the domain name only
- Capitalized filenames – ex: Index.HTML, Arrangements.HTML – this is a bad habit that will usually lead to a lot of 404 errors for customers who naturally assume all web addresses are lower case. Most web servers are case sensitive; in this case the file names are not case sensitive which is even worse as that can lead to an infinite number of duplicate content paths. Always keep file names all lower case.
- Delivery Information link gives a 404 – page not found
- Add-Ons link goes to a page named “BB-Actual-Weddings.HTML”
- Product content is in Flash within a frame. Short of using the robots.txt file, there is hardly a better way to hide information from the search engines. Flash also leads to some accessibility issues.
- Page is not centred – on larger monitors (anything larger than a 15″ laptop) the page doesn’t look balanced. This can hurt the credibility of a company in the business of making beautiful visual gifts.
- Weddings splash page is confusing, too large and unnecessary. If your images are so big a user has to scroll around them, it’s a problem. If the only purpose for that scrolling is to get to a link that will hopefully take me where I thought I was already going, that’s not helping the situation. Try to keep the page design consistent across the whole site.
- Almost ecommerce – The whole “show a list of products then lead the user to a form and get them to choose the product name from the form” type of ecommerce was outdated 7 years ago, right along with using a third-party site for your credit card processing (PayPal & Google Checkout excepted). Privacy and security are a BIG deal with online customers. If they see the domain name changing when they are asked for credit card info, they can get spooked. Besides, it looks bush league, and from the quality of Boulder Blooms’ designs and images they are anything BUT bush league. It’s time to get real ecommerce that lets the user order on your site, from the product detail page. Don’t sell yourself short.
- The slight change in font size along with the change in alignment along the left sidebar looks out of place. Try to keep consistent in your fonts & sizes.
- The left sidebar appears mashed against the left side of the screen with no margin. This would be fixed by centring the page (see above).
- The code is a mish-mash of inline style declarations, font tags and CSS. Clean it up, switch to all CSS. It will help you remain consistent across your entire site and make style manage much easier. Additionally, clearing the code bloat can have a marginal benefit for SEO.
- Replace the MapQuest image with a live Google Map. Give the users the ability to get directions to your shop right from your page.
- Need to put some real thought into the title and description tags for every page on the site.
Someday in the (hopefully) near future we’ll have a super-awesome-cute graphic of a report card for these reviews, but for now we’ll have to make due with text. (Sorry BB – that’s the price of being an early adopter :))
- Ranking: “A” – You’re doing well with the main terms, but loosing some long-tail potential. I’d advise you to solidify your SEO efforts soon to lock in that top spot. If a competitor got serious about SEO they could catch you quickly.
- Technical: “D” – URL problems, broken link, messy code – there’s lots to fix here
- Design: “B” – I love that you’re not using a cookie cutter site, and that you’ve put some effort into personalizing the look. Try to make it a bit more “floral” without losing that uniqueness. Remember to use your on-screen real estate wisely. Look at it from a customer’s perspective.
- Usability: “C” – Navigation is simple enough, would pass the “Mom Test;” at least until Mom had to checkout. Old-school checkout process is hurting you, as are some pages with images that are taller than the user’s screen.
- Content: “A-” – Original images, nice quality, good designs, personalized text, but a little thin on material. Don’t be afraid to add a few more informational pages. Also, it’s time to free up your content from the Flash buried in the frame.
Overall score: “B-”
“BB is a hard worker who shows a lot of potential. If BB pays attention in class and continues to work hard I expect to see some excellent results and a much improved grade in the near future!”