DSI Entertainment Systems: Case Study

Business Websites

Case studies can often come across as harsh because they are generally done to focus on the negative.

In the case of DSI Entertainment Systems, we must say that, while there is certainly room for improvement, the site is one of the more impressive ones we’ve seen on a prospect, especially given the resources they have on the site.

It’s deep. It’s updated. It’s maintained. It’s functionally designed. All great signs.

With that, let’s jump right in.

DSI Entertainment Systems needs to upgrade its website design and the technology that powers it.

Design

Overall, the design of the site is nice. The minimalist approach allows the visually appealing aspects of the site to stand out. This is good because potential customers get a great impression of what they will be paying for.

The logo needs help. This is a cutting-edge service, but the logo conjures images of the early 2000s. A rebranding is definitely needed.

This is a pretty deep site with plenty to explore, meaning that navigation is of utmost importance. The primary navigation needs trimming. A primary navigation should never contain more than seven top-level elements. We’re OK with one-level of drop downs, but think the second-level needs to go. At the point where you are adding that many links, you need to consider a more natural linking structure or custom site search. ESPN.com and The Washington Post are good examples of sites with tons of content, yet clean nav bars and good in-context linking.

If social is going to be a part of your presence, you can’t just slap some icons on your site and expect results. If these are token gestures, make the icons grey scale so they attract less attention. As it stands, they are the most colorful aspect of some pages, yet provide no context or reason for connecting on the various channels.

On the flip side, the contact information, including the contact form and telephone numbers are probably the most important aspect of the site, yet they are buried in nav and lost via small text and little contrast in the top-right of each page. A potential custom should be able to contact you as easily as possible. Consider putting a trimmed-down contact form on each page, and definitely do something to attract more attention to the phone numbers.

The consistency throughout the site is strong except for a few pages, including http://www.dsientertainment.com/index.cfm/category/27/portfolio.cfm, http://www.dsientertainment.com/index.cfm/category/29/testimonials.cfm and the various forms, which take on different looks. And most notably, the blog, which is managed through Hubspot, is significantly different.

SEO

The site has a domain authority of 4, which is good, but should be stronger for a site that has been around as long as this one has.

The site is clearly well-maintained, uses good natural linking in the content on the interior pages and emphasizes and links appropriate terms.

On-Site

- The URLs (http://www.dsientertainment.com/index.cfm/category/12/home-theater.cfm) need to be changed. Lose all the “.cfm” and digits. The old URLs should be 301 redirected to the new ones.
- On average, each site lists about 6-10 keywords. Far too many per page. The main pages should be optimized for 1-3 keywords each and blog posts should be utilized to capture the rest of the long-tail keywords.
- Many of the pages are too light on text. Generally, pages should have at least 400 words of body text
- The images should be named with the keywords of the page they’re on. For example: http://www.dsientertainment.com/images/themes/img_24_7.jpg should be http://www.dsientertainment.com/images/themes/247-customer-service.jpg
- The HTML is not semantic. Rampant use of table tags could be causing crawl errors
- Way too much Flash. There is no reason any Flash elements should be on this site
- The pages should also have canonical tags to avoid content duplication
- Many images lack alt tags
- The page title’s for many pages are too long and will get cut off

Off-Site

- At 764 links, DSI has a healthy number of links. Unfortunately, not many rank highly on authority (and three of the top links are nofollows). DSI should increase the number of links, but more importantly, the quality of their links through link requests with partners, customers and more. Oddly enough, Yahoo and Google report just 9 total backinks

Home Page

There are too many pages in the site to analyze each one, but a quick scan through every page reveals a similar theme to the home page.

SEO

Title: Home Theater-automation-audio video installation in Los Angeles & Santa Barbara
Meta Robots: index,follow
Internal Follow: 79
External Follow: 6
External Nofollow: 4

Failed HTML Validation: 25 errors 8 warnings
Failed CSS Validation: 13 errors 0 warnings

Meta Description (149 chars)

Learn about Home Theater, Home Automation-Smart Home Control & custom audio video installation from Los Angeles & Santa Barbara’s #1 audio video firm

Meta Keywords (90 chars)

home theater systems, home automation, media rooms, theatre, custom installation, Crestron

Anchor Tags (89)
Img Tags (32)
Bold/Strong Tags (5)
I/Em Tags (0)
H1 Tags (1)
H2 Tags (0)
H3 Tags (0)
H4 Tags (0)
H5 Tags (0)

Summary: The Home Page has no clear focus. The keywords are kind of all over the place and the home page is not optimized for any of them. As a rule of them, the home page should be keyword optimized for the Brand Name and variations thereof. Unique landing pages should be created for each of the keywords on this page. The heavy use of Flash and dearth of text also waste SEO strengths and opportunities.

Design

The photo gallery is nice to look at but a bit frustrating. We kept trying to click the photos to get more information about what we were looking at. Some context or story or something for each set would be really nice. As would a way to go back and advance the gallery instead of waiting for it.

The awards are good proof, but it’s almost impossible to read any one expect the large one in the middle. Could mousing over them make them bigger?

Below the awards is a call to action and some text. While the call to action is a step in the right direction, if this is really the next step you want your home-page visitor to take, you need to consider making it more prominent. The same goes for the text. This text is crucial. If I land on your page, I need to know who you are, what you do and what you want me to do next right away. The lack of prominence of this area makes it feel more like legal text.

About Cody Swann

Cody Swann is an entrepreneur, developer, strategist, banged up ex-football walk-on, retired body builder and former journalist born and raised in South Florida. He currently splits his time between his hometown of Stuart, FL and Los Angeles, CA. Cody founded Gunner Technology, a highly sought after digital agency, specializing in helping companies maximize profits through custom web development, technology efficiencies, social media strategy and search engine marketing. As a manager and developer at ESPN for nearly six years, Cody led development and vision for two of ESPN’s most popular online features: Sports Scoreboards and GameCasts. Additionally Cody oversaw all aspects of MyESPN and ESPN’s social network, ESPN Fan Profiles. Cody worked with Technology, Editorial, Sales, Marketing and relevant business stakeholders to mold ESPN’s social media strategy, develop custom applications for it and execute it. Under his direction, ESPN successfully ported large portions of its core product from a proprietary Java stack to an open source Ruby on Rails stack, capable of standing up and performing under the tremendous load world's most popular sports site delivers. Cody began forging his technological knowledge more than 10 years ago, developing and designing websites in college. His development work has included web development, web design, content writing, digital photography and digital video production for award-winning sites like Gainesville.com, GatorSports.com and ESPN.com. He has helped set digital strategy and direction for companies in the New York Times Regional Newspaper group, ESPN, ABC and Disney. He is a recognized expert in web development, social media strategy, search engine optimization, conversion optimization, analytics tracking and business planning. He has worked with large interactive media companies to small and medium sized businesses. Cody motivates and inspires creative teams to deliver superb, polished work under tight deadlines.

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