Delia Online relaunch goes sour
Delia Smith relaunched her site last wednesday - the new one is here. She / her new hosts seem to be having problems.
Maybe she's been taking lessons from the ABCe relaunch? Anyway, here are some of her biggest issues ...
They've deleted all the old forums and lots of people's saved recipes
This is utter host-moving, site-relaunching madness.
The old forums: deleted
They're not migrating the old forum posts prior to the relaunch to the new site - that's 10s of thousands of postings from the old version of the site.
I really can't conceive of what would make someone do this when they relaunched a site.
Maybe it's related to the fact that when the site relaunched, people were forced to choose a new password.
According to this page: "when the new site is launched, you will have to supply a new password as, for data protection reasons, we can't transfer your existing passwords over."
Smells fishier than fish-pie recipe to me. What has data protection got to do with this? More likely, they didn't want to spend the time / money to port over the database of old posts and passwords. So they're just going to delete everyone's postings.
Someone who doesn't realise the old site hasn't actually been turned off yet, has pointed out that it's all OK as you can still access the old forums ... via the google cache. Oh. My. God. They do know the cache will eventually disappear. And is that really the way to handle a site migration!??
Saved recipes: deleted
The (old and new) site lets you save recipes in your own personal online recipe book - so you can build up a nice collection of ones you like.
However, confusion over passwords has led to some people reregistering.
As a result, they've lost their profiles and recipes.
They didn't actually have to do this, but it wasn't clear - an email was supposed to go out, but not everyone got it.
As a result, people have reregistered - losing their old profiles. So some people have lost their entire history of saved recipes - one described herself as 'devastated' as a result. The rest are just really annoyed.
Again, this could all have been annoyed if they hadn't just wiped the slate clean with the relaunch.
Oh look, they're selling links
This page is a sponsored 'advertisement promotion'.
I'm going to gloss over the fact that the breadcrumb trail says this: "peppadewTM: naturally south african" (yes, with the TM) but they don't use the TM in the copy.
However, they are giving a dofollow link to peppadew.com to someone who has paid to advertise on their site.
Paid links are in violation of Google's guidelines. These aren't law, obviously. But they are if you don't want to get booted out of Google's index ...
Also, if you're going to have a link to a money off voucher on this page, maybe don't point the link to http:/// as this won't really work ...
OMG - there are adverts in the breadcrumb trail
Have you come across Vibrant? They do those annoying double underline adverts where when you mouseover, a big box appears selling something. They call it 'in-text advertising'. I call it really annoying.
Anyway, Delia has used it in the breadcrumb trail.
Yes, in a world's first, they've turned keywords in the breadcrumb trail into clickable adverts. Words almost fail me. I know I said I couldn't conceive of something earlier. But really. Linking words in your breadcrumb trail to an advert ...
(You may have noticed the word honey double underlines in that earlier screenshot - yes, they're linking people's usernames to adverts as well!)
Oh look, there's the old site at the same time!
For some reason, they've left the old site there while running the new one. That should really confuse everyone - google certainly seems confused as it's currently returning both. Let's hope it doesn't think the new site is duplicate content and remove it from the index...
There is a tiny message on the old home page that says "The launch has been delayed by a few days: look out for the new site any day now!" Except it is launched ...
None of the other pages on the old version have this message, so you can happily browse the old site without realising the new one is there... Still, at least it means you can access the old forum posts for now.
Sort out the www and non-www versions
Surely they should do better than serve up 'Bad Request (Invalid Hostname) when you visit the former? Try a redirect, people.
Sloppy title writing
Can I suggest a simple rule for the title - the bit of meta data that Google uses to show in the results.
It's usually best to go: 'Page name - Section name - Site name', or some similar rule. On your home page, try something like: 'Site name - short summary of proposition'.
Here's what not to do: 'Something random and different each time'.
And it's rarely a good idea to go 'Site name - page name' (as it makes it hard to scan results in Google as they all start the same, plus Google treats the keywords at the front of the title as more important).
However, the relaunched site has titles like this:
- Delia Online - Ingredients (even though the section is actually called ingredients with a lower case i)
- Delia Online - community (I do so love random capitalisation)
- Delia Online - how-to-cook (this is my personal favourite - random hyphenation. I mean, do people check this stuff when they relaunch sites? No? Just me then.)
I suppose they're consistently inconsistent, which is good. We have both Recipes and equipment (so there's more than one one upper case and more than one lower case example), and also news-and-features, too - maybe the rule is that all multi-word sections are hyphenated and lower case. Maybe they just didn't think about it? Who knows.
The ones in the forums are good, too - every single one has the title of 'Delia Online -'. That'll look great in Google.
The first link in the massive header is pointing to the wrong place
The header is massive - about 450 pixels deep. What on earth is all that white space for?
Also the list of links for June (which are part of the header - yes you see that massive white hole on EVERY PAGE) are a bit odd.
The top one is to 'Seasonal recipes to cook this month'. This takes you to a gallery page with examples such as 'beat the credit crunch' and 'Chocolate to make you melt'.
Are these seasonal?
I'm presuming they meant to point to the 'What should you be cooking this month' page.
More testing required ...