Critique Part One: General Internet Presence

The Problem: isn’t taking advantage of branding opportunities on video and social networking sites.

The Fix: Aside from the videos I found on YouTube and Google Video (which are a great start), very little appears externally to distinguish the authenticity of the brand and the shop in other venues. I recommend the store create more compelling content and get it out there.

The Problem: Daddies Board Shop isn’t leveraging strong relationships with existing customers.

The Fix: The store should take greater advantage of social networks and meet-ups. shows only six people bookmarked the site — which means the content should be more bookmark-worthy. Nor did I see evidence of similar efforts conducted on sites like Digg, Dandelife, MySpace and others. The store should post upcoming events on sites like, Eventful or coordinate meet-ups at its physical location.

The Problem: With so many friends, why the lack of links?

The Fix: From the photos posted on the site, it appears that Daddies Board Shop has a lot of friends — they’re just not linking to store’s site. Daddies Board Shop should take advantage of those relationships by encouraging more inbound links. The more creatively the store encourages those links through useful, engaging content and services, the more fruit those links will bear.

On a positive note: Daddies Board Shop does a great job using available Web tools for viral promotion. The site has a few solid long-standing content and directory links that draw traffic. It has recently added more updated resources, such as blogs and videos, to gain additional ground.

I’m impressed with the effort put into reassuring customers “it’s safe to shop here.” The SiteSafe icon and BizRate certification are small examples of that, and those little things can go a long way both in conversions as well as search rankings.

The Critique Project

Melanie Loveland and her son Dan built a business together around a mutual passion — snowboarding. What started as a small, brick-and-mortar store in Portland, Ore., has evolved into a full-fledged multichannel merchant. It was a process the owners didn’t foresee when the business started in 1995.

Their business has seen dynamic change in the seven years since it launched a website. Daddies Board Shop now generates 80 percent of its sales through online channels and only 20 percent at the Portland store.

In February, when Practical eCommerce offered a once-in-a-lifetime complimentary website critique to one lucky recipient, Dan (along with many other website owners) petitioned for the critique — and his site was selected.

As part of the critique, five firms took an intensive look at to analyze its problems, the opportunities for search engine optimization, its general Internet presence, site search, pay-per-click advertising and customer experience/usability. The firms were:

  • Search Engine Optimization: Netconcepts, Stephan Spencer, President.
  • General Internet Presence: Red Door Interactive, Reid Carr, President.
  • Site Search: SLI Systems, Shaun Ryan, CEO.
  • Pay-per-click Advertising: Key Relevance, Christine Churchill, President.
  • Customer Experience/Usability: Optimal Usability, Richard Kerr, Usability Consultant.
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