Site Review – A Vanity Fair Florist

Site: A Vanity Fair Florist, Sacramento, CA

A Vanity Fair Florist in Sacramento writes:

I don’t know how I can rank higher on Google. I’m happy with my ranking on yahoo, but I’m aware that most people use google more than yahoo.
I appreciate your review of my site.

They are currently #3 on Yahoo! for “Sacramento Florist,” but are a distant second page result on Google and don’t appear in the Google Local box. Clearly, something needs to be fixed.

First impression: Here we go again. Sadly, this is another florist website like so many others with poor architecture, dated design and no unique content. It’s a textbook case for what to improve in online marketing.

The Good:

  • Business name & address in text on every page
  • Decent ranking in Yahoo! & Yahoo! Local

To Improve:

  • The design is clearly dated and doesn’t lend the customer with a sense of confidence that they are dealing with a contemporary business
  • Business name and slogan are in an image with no Alt Text – search engines can’t read images, and neither can visually impaired customers / those with screen readers / customers on mobile phones with images turned off (for speed & cost). Not having Alt Text is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and could potentially lead to legal action.
  • Logo doesn’t link to home page – users assume it will
  • Duplicate content all over the place:
    • Home link is an image, and links to “/default.asp” which is a common cause of duplicate content issues.
    • WWW and non-WWW versions of the URL are not redirected
    • Google doesn’t think the majority of the site is worth displaying in their index:
    • But look – the site’s host has nearly 900 pages indexed under the Vanity Fair name!
      (These problems are common to all sites hosted by this provider)
    • Did you notice that almost all the pages have the same title? No wonder Google doesn’t index them
  • Sadly, the quality of content on Vanity Fair’s site at the moment is so poor that not even their About Us page is indexed
  • The site’s code is a mess
  • Ecommerce is handled through the providers checkout system – this out-dated method of checkout and can scare customers when the domain changes just before requesting personal info. That the web host maintains a publicly accessible copy of the site to support this checkout is akin sabotage.

All in all, this is a site in desparate need of a complete overhaul. I can’t be certain, but if I had to guess I’d say this is a classic case of a florist being sold a poor quality site with no guidance and support from their provider. While the site suffers from a lack of content from the florist, the technical aspects of the site are suffering so badly that it’s unlikely much could be redeemed through better content.

One blessing for A Vanity Fair is that competition in Sacramento is so low that it will be relatively easy to achieve competitive rankings with a little work.

Start with a plan: What do you want to do with the site? What image of your business do you want to portray? What is your message to your customers? What actions do you want them to take? What information do you want to deliver?

Once you have a plan, get a new design: Update the style and design of your site. Seek out a contemporary look – whether you offer traditional or modern and artsy designs, you can still have an updated look to your site that won’t turn visitors away.

Get real guidance from your web provider: Make sure your platform allows you to update your site content at will, then update it. Don’t be afraid to get advice on the proper use of Title and Meta tags.

Claim your local listing on Google, Yahoo! & MSN, register with Google Webmaster Tools and add the proper sitemaps. Solicit more reviews from your customer. Write about and link to neighbouring businesses. Publish some locally themed content on your site. Ask local businesses to link to you.


  1. Ranking: “C” – Second page on Google organic, first page Yahoo! organic & local
  2. Technical: “E” – I’m reserving “F” for a broken site. This one isn’t broken, but it’s not doing the florist any favours
  3. Design: “D” – Might have been stylish about 6 years ago, but its dated and flat look will turn off many a customer.
  4. Usability: “B-” – There really isn’t much to do on this site, so I can’t mark it too low; however what the site does do is marred by a poor checkout experience and missing logo link.
  5. Content: “D+” – There is no content other than one About Us page that isn’t indexed, and products (mostly TF images).  Some of the product descriptions are customized, so Vanity Fair gets some bonus points!

Overall Score: “D”

“A Vanity Fair’s website is like the kid at the back of the class who really want’s to do well and participate, but doesn’t quite know what to do. Given some time and extra attention, there is potential for improvement.”

3 thoughts on “Site Review – A Vanity Fair Florist”

  1. @Florita – This is really a case where it may be more efficient to start from scratch. Nearly every element of the site needs to be overhauled – you might want to consider this as an opportunity for a fresh new start.

  2. They sure had a lot of things to improve on! Their code wasn’t that good and their content was poor. On top of that, Ecommerce was handled through the providers checkout system and of course this was scaring people away! I’m curious how much of your advice they followed?

    And I can’t understand why their About Us page was not indexed? I really can’t comprehend this. It’s so lucky that you gave them a hand or they would have probably be out of business in a year just because of their bad website and SEO skills. That’s why it’s better to consult a professional when things aren’t in your expertise area.

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