One of my favorite TV shows to watch with my father is the Guy Fieri show Diners Drive Ins and Dives. Guy Fieri went from an average Joe to Food Network cooking star overnight. Until recently you would not have guessed that based on his website. Guy Fieri has the same one of a kind look and cooking flare, but his website now has that same pizazz.
Fortunately for the readers of this blog the representatives of Guy Fieri, Tiv, is part of a new breed of ad agencies, but that doesn’t include search engine marketing. I was able to grab the cached version of Guy Fieri’s website, created by Hoekenga Design, which is still displaying the old website. The cached version was last updated on Apr 20, 2009 02:32:01 GMT meaning that in the past week Guy Fieri’s new website has gone live.
From a branding perspective it’s easy to see why Guy Fieri’s new website is a substantially better version. The amount of content on the new site has also exponentially increased and is ten fold easier to find from the homepage. That is where the statement stops and where the usability issues continue.
Once you leave the homepage you’re off on an adventure similar to the adventures Guy Fieri makes across the country visiting restaurants.
The Restaurants Navigation
The Inside Dish Navigation
You can clearly see that the main navigation changes on every page. What happens if I want to go from the restaurants page to the TV page? I have to scroll down to the footer and search for it. From a usability standpoint this makes navigation too hard for visitors. If I have to scroll down to the footer each and every time I want to view a different page, because the navigation bar doesn’t have what I want, then what is the point of the navigation bar? A dynamic web page is great, but dynamic main navigation is not. The navigation needs to be the anchor of the site so that users can view the main buckets of content without having to search endlessly for it.
Another usability downside is Guy Fieri’s blog is hosted off-site. You would think that with the dollars Guy Fieri is spending he could at least get a WordPress blog for his sidekick Kleetus. Instead, they are using a non-branded blogspot blog that does exactly what you don’t want it to do. . . Take you away from the main site and with no links pointing back to the Guy Fieri website. As a user, I’m probably not going to hit the back button to go back to the Guy Fieri’s website. This means the visitor is lost and the potential shopping is too.
Guy Fieri’s store is a completely different problem that needs to be fixed. Unlike the blog, Guy Fieri’s store is hosted on his website, but once you reach the store their is no other navigation other than to add things to your cart. The store is still part of the old design created by Hoekenga Design which may be why their is these usability issues. Guy Fieri’s guestbook is another page designed by Hoekenga Design that has no navigation. In addition, the site is on a sub-domain which is substantially taking away from the linking structure.
Search Engine Optimization Issues
As mentioned previously, Guy Fieri’s new and improved website is miles above his last website. However, he still is not using any search engine optimization. Guy Fieri’s website does have title tags, but this website is not using all of my 4 easy steps to guarantee you higher rankings. I don’t know what Guy Fieri would want to rank for, but I’m sure he’d like to show up for more than just his name!
Another problem Guy Fieri’s website has, is he is without an XML or HTML site map. Earlier this week I discussed the power of XML sitemaps. If Guy Fieri’s website was using a properly optimized XML sitemap I never would have been able to pull the cached version of his old site. He would also find that many of his old links are dead and not redirecting properly.
The last piece of the search engine optimization puzzle is the load time and compactness of the website code. If you view the code for Guy Fieri’s website you’ll notice that their isn’t much code, but it’s all inclusive. What I mean is he is not using a CSS page to store all of the stylistic parameters of his site. This causes the site to load much slower, and also forces the search engines to try and parse through that mumble jumble.
Social Media Networking
Enough about ripping Guy Fieri’s website usability and lack of search engine optimization techniques, lets discuss what really rocks! Guy Fieri is a Twittering machine! I think it’s a movement by Food Network, because Rachel Ray started tweeting the exact same day as Guy Fieri, to get all Food Network cooking stars on Twitter. It’s really refreshing to get that authentic feel that you get from Guy Fieri’s tweets.
I’m really interested to see how Kleetus utilizes the blog. This is the first time I’ve heard about Guy Fieri’s right hand man, but it’s a really interesting perspective that I wish we were able to have while Guy Fieri was moving up the cooking world ranks.
Guy Fieri’s New Website IS Flavor Town
Guy Fieri has taken a huge step in the right direction with his new website and social media networking. With a little bit of work he’ll have an unbeatable, eatable, site that’s chocked full of flavor and fun. If you’re a big eater like me go check out Diners Drive Ins and Dives, you wont be disappointed.