Jewelry Website Designers celebrates its 10th year in business with the arrival of 2019. Since its beginnings, this boutique site developer has emerged as a premiere website designer for the jewelry industry.
It’s pretty straightforward, according to Marlene Murphy, who leads the back-end development for the company. First of all, it’s a woman owned and operated business. And who knows more about the subtle nuances of communicating about jewelry than women who wear it? Secondly, gemologist/journalist Diana Jarrett spearheads the front-end development, creating the design aesthetics and of course the SEO driven content. This insider’s dynamic gives Jewelry Website Designers, or JWD, the edge over other developers who don’t understand the unique aspects of the jewelry trade - both B2B and B2C.
In the last decade, JWD has seen abundant changes in the industry, how our trade moves product, and of course how the internet itself has evolved. This progress has impacted how websites are constructed - and it has changed site visitors’ expectations on how a site should perform and what it should look like.
Marlene takes a glimpse back in time to where we were a decade ago.
• Many internet users were still laboring with slow dial-up connections. Even cable access was profoundly slow by today’s standards.
• Standard computer monitors were small and bulky with limited screen size (maximum of 960 pixels wide). Websites couldn’t exceed 980 pixels and had to be built with something called “tables” which were invisible cell blocks restraining content.
• Type fonts suitable for the web were extremely limited; only about 22 in all. To display on a webpage, the font had to be installed on the user’s computer. So, visitors using a Mac had a different display than visitors using a PC. If a user didn’t have special fonts installed on their computer, the browser would display whatever it wanted as a default (like a different serif font or different sans-serif font). Fancy fonts would not be displayed unless by chance the user happened to have them pre-installed.
• Colors were also limited to just 286 web-safe colors. Today we can use literally thousands of different shades.
• New flat screens were just entering the market offering greater screen size so websites could be viewed on a large display.
• iPads and iPhones were invented allowing full websites to display on these smaller mobile devices. Website designs now had to become “fluid” by expanding or contracting according to the viewing monitor’s size, (a revolutionary concept when it was introduced) not limited to 960 pixels (too large for smartphone viewport and too small for big screen monitor).
Fast forward to today; Mobile devices represents well over 50% of internet user’s main connectivity. Google will penalize rankings of websites that aren’t mobile-friendly or better, mobile responsive.
Every website owner should be concerned with this simple acronym - SEO, meaning search engine optimization, of course. Even though most people understand what SEO stands for, their grasp of what it means may be limited. In brief, SEO expresses certain internet activity whose aim is to improve search engine rankings. Internet search results produced by major browsers displays links to pages it considers relevant, trustworthy and commanding. Website owners definitely want browsers to rank their site highest in search results.
Changes to SEO during the last decade have been innumerable. Here are the most important ones to know:
• Keyword stuffing in content is now penalized. Google places a premium on valuable, original content and penalizes sites with duplicate - or lifted (from other sites) content. Google uses AI - artificial intelligence - to search for text written in normal speech patterns. In the old days the web developer could just repeat the same phrases in the content over and over, whether it made sense or not. In those earlier days, merely having search terms found multiple times on a page would improve its search ranking, but the opposite is true now. Content must be original or suffer penalties in ranking.
• Speaking of duplicate content, web pages which have not been assigned a canonical name (one official name to be used for that specific page) can be viewed using 4 different URLs (http://www., http://domainname.com/, https://www.domain.com/, https://domainname.com) and will appear to Google as duplicate pages and therefore duplicate content. And duplicate content will be penalized.
• Keywords could be hidden by making the font color the same as the background - Uh oh! Not so good today. Google caught on to that too.
• Link exchanges were overdone with the creation of “link farms’ where website owners could buy or exchange links to their site to make it look more popular and improve its page ranking. Page Rank no longer exists in Google and Google knows whether a link is being exchanged (cancelling each other out) and whether the link comes from the same genre.
For example, a link from an Auto Repair shop to a jewelry store website would be penalized. Links from recognized organizations (domain names ending in .org) carry more weight than .com sites.
How do all these enormous changes impact jewelry websites? In fact, a lot. As a business owner, even before you make a sale, you need to be found online by your market. They need to learn from your updated website that you are relevant to their needs - and that you understand their shopping preferences. Many of your customers are shopping during work, or while traveling, or even at restaurants or friends’ homes. You want them to access your products intuitively and quickly to increase the conversion rate from looky-loo to bona fide loyal customer.
You take your car in for a checkup and routine service - but what about your online presence?