Friday, 13 August 2010

Website Reviews – Do you Tick all the Boxes? Case Study – Parable Designs

Website reviews are one of the things that I do that I enjoy the most, as having written about over 2,500 online retailers for my books and for www.thesiteguide.com, I’ve become extremely picky about other people’s sites and fast at spotting where there could be improvements – frequently simple things that could make a big difference to conversion rates and therefore ROI which, after all, is all we really care about.

Parable Home Page

Recently I offered a free website review on Twitter which was nabbed by www.parabledesigns.co.uk about whom I knew nothing. Now I’ve been totally pipped to the post here as I meant to take some screen shots of the original site but left it for a week and they’ve been so quick to update the site that I missed my chance. So these screenshots are as the site is now.

The whole idea of a review is that when you’re a small or medium sized online retailer in the hands of your web developer you will imagine that they know everything and it’s hard to stand outside and be objective.

Frankly no one knows everything and web design is moving forward all the time but when you have a website there are standard boxes that need to be ticked or the site will not work as well as it could. There are enough problems with products and photography and merchandising but the framework for good web design is quite simple and it amazes me how often things that should be done aren’t, and others are desperately crying out to be changed without anyone realising.

My aim is not to criticize but quite simply to make sure that all the boxes are ticked, and to offer advice where they’re not.

In short I suggested that Parable could do with the following:
Parable 3

A mission statement in the header area

Moving some of of the Utilities to the header area

Reducing the depth of the home page,

Shortening the text and adding in linked keywords and phrases

Changing some of the prices which were in red to black or grey

Losing the underlining of all links to category and subcategory pages

Regularising the design of some of the pages and making more use of grids

Improving the photographs to make the more in line with the luxury element of the brand, and how to do this.

Suggesting other services that could be offered
Basic SEO.

This is a two page review cut down (as I was sure you wouldn’t want to read the whole thing) and I’m waiting to hear how the improvements have worked for them. The first impression of the changes they’re made has been great.

If you’d be interested in having your website reviewed please contact me at mailto:phd@thesiteguide.com or click here for more details.