Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Web site review: " What would Google do?"

Web site review: In every issue of our print publication, the Internet Marketing Report, we review a site. Here's the latest review.

ScienceLab scores 95% on Hubspot.com’s Web site grader.

That’s a great result for any site, but even more impressive for a site selling mostly to businesses.

Its secret? It seems to follow Google’s corporate rules on site usability, including:

  • “Focus on the user and all else will follow.” ScienceLab is carefully optimized with keywords and page titles to attract search engine traffic. But it hasn’t added keywords in a way that sacrifices the quality of the copy. The content is highly readable.

    For example, this description of a fragrance extraction kit: “Don’t just stop and smell the roses – extract their fragrance.” The site’s also easy to navigate and find products. In one spot, the site gives prospects a little A to Z touch pad to find products alphabetically.

  • “It’s better to do one thing really, really well.” There’s little chance a prospect for lab equipment arriving at ScienceLab.com would be confused. The name of the site is clear, and graphics reinforce the message, “Your source for Lab Equipment & Chemicals.” So
    does the image of the technician wearing lab garb.

  • You can be serious without a suit” -- and wearing a lab coat.
    This site's content is written with a light touch, adding jokes where appropriate and avoiding too many technical terms. That makes a dry subject more palatable.

    • Slow-loading images drag down this site’s performance and appeal

      There’s no such thing as a perfect site and ScienceLab.com is no exception.

      The site follows many of the principles Google says pay off in good search results and user experience. But it seems to be neglecting these:

      Too slow, too conservative

      • “Fast is better than slow.” The site took .75 seconds to load, according to a free test by Iwebtool.com. That’s much slower than the recommended speed of .04 seconds. One reason it loads slowly is that it has too many big images. That may cost it sales. Visitors with slow connections may click off in frustration. ScienceLab could try reducing the size of online images.

      • “Dare to innovate.” This site doesn’t do anything with social media to keep customers engaged and informed. It lacks basics like a blog or even Really Simple Syndication (RSS) to alert buyers to updates. A blog or even a forum where buyers could exchange ideas could help traffic and loyalty.

      • “Design for the world.” A big site like this probably gets significant traffic from overseas prospects, but it doesn’t do anything to help them. Solution: add a translation button.

      By the way, I wrote this review before reading Jeff Jarvis' What Would Google Do? I love the book. It's inspiring, funny and easy to read.

      Read more of our reviews here. Or email Julie Power on jpower@pbp.com if you'd like my team to review your site.


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