Our in-depth Ashley Wilde website analysis offers some fascinating insights. We’ve analysed the site and provided strategies to help show how they could improve. And most importantly, how they can better connect with visitors and potential customers.
If you’re in the global textiles market, you will be aware of Ashley Wilde’s massive growth since the Brodin family launched the brand in 1950.
Ashley Wilde is frequently featured in major publications such as:
- Ideal Home
- Country Homes & Interiors
- Homes & Gardens
- Bridge for Design
- Country Living
- Design Insider
- FQ Magazine
- Hello! Magazine
Since Ashley Wilde’s introduction to the internet in 2000, the company has enjoyed a respectable increase in traffic, keywords and rankings.
However, since June 2019 they have been experiencing a drop in traffic. From an all-time best of 8,215 website visits to 5,242 website visits in August 2020.
That’s a 36% drop in website traffic.
In addition, 87% of Ashley Wilde site visitors in July 2020, left without clicking on a link or a button.
This bounce rate has increased by 190% since February 2020.
And the people that do stay on the website spend no more than 39 seconds before moving on!
In this article, we’ll investigate why Ashley Wilde is failing to connect with its website visitors and potential customer base.
About Ashley Wilde
Ashley Wilde is a medium-sized business with a turnover of £31.8 million in 2018. It was launched in 1950 by Ashley Leon Brodin.
The company specialises in high-quality, bespoke home furnishings. Products include towels, bed linen, cushions, throws and curtains.
By 2009, celebrities such as Kylie Minogue, Katie Price, Twiggy and Linda Barker had all partnered with Ashley Wilde. Each releasing their own line of home furnishing products.
Eleven years later, Ashley Wilde has continued to add even more celebrities and brands many more names to its illustrious list of celebrities and brands including Rita Ora, Ted Baker and Agent Provocateur.
Ashley Wilde has also received two awards from the Queen. This includes the 2009 Queen’s Award for Enterprise and the Soft Furnishings contract for the 2012 Olympics.
From Game Changer to Niche Player
In terms of website analysis, a ’Game Changer’ is a website with a high growth rate.
This is exactly what Ashley Wilde was between July 2018 and 2019. A time when they were enjoying an 807% traffic growth.
Fast forward just one year and Ashley Wilde is now a ‘Niche Player’. This is a term usually reserved for newer or smaller companies with a low growth rate.
In addition, their traffic growth dropped almost 90% between January and July 2020.
This drop is in stark contrast to its market’s overall growth between February and July 2020.
The majority of market traffic is split amongst the following 10 companies.
Below are Ashley Wilde’s industry competitors:
It shows that wayfair.co.uk is leading the way with over half of all market traffic.
When we look at Ashley Wilde’s organic competitors – the trend is the same; they are still considered a ‘Niche Player’.
And, they are still not in line with the market’s overall growth.
Here are Ashley Wilde’s Top 10 organic competitors:
Surprisingly, we do not see any of Ashley Wilde’s industry competitors in this list (e.g. Wayfair, Laura Ashley, Habitat, Made.com etc.).
All these websites seem to be lumped together due to their one common focus; curtains.
However, as a business, Ashley Wilde is much more than curtains.
This means Ashley Wilde is being sorely misunderstood.
So… why is this happening?
More than likely, Ashley Wilde is failing at the 3 C’s:
A Lack of Clarity
Let’s look at the Ashley Wilde homepage:
From here we can infer a lot about the Ashley Wilde website as a whole.
As it’s main page, a website’s homepage needs to be designed with site visitors in mind. A good homepage indicates to visitors who you are, what you offer and is easy to use. It should resonate with the target audience so that visitors feel compelled to explore the site further.
With this in mind, the biggest issue on the Ashley Wilde homepage is the welcome headline, which reads: ‘Three Generations’. It’s not aimed at a specific target audience and has little to do with Ashley Wilde or its products.
For instance, if you’re a customer looking for soft furnishings (or bespoke made-to-order curtains) and you land on this homepage, you may think you’ve clicked on the wrong site because it’s irrelevant and has no obvious connection to soft furnishings. The welcome headline does nothing at all to confirm that you are in the right place, so you’re likely to leave the site and look elsewhere.
Moreover, it’s unsurprising to learn that this page has the highest bounce rate of all the website’s pages.
This is likely because the website’s overall purpose for the visitor and the business is very unclear.
A Lack of Focus on Conversions
Similarly, before you scroll down the page, there are only three possible actions to take:
- Read a Covid-19 update
- Use the menu
- Watch a video
The current design doesn’t focus on the people who are likely to come to the website and takes a more internalised view of the business, which is confusing.
There is no primary call to action (or CTA). CTAs are actions that are focused on attaining leads or sales, such as, ‘Shop Now’ or ‘View Products’.
As a result, the website has no lead generation functionality.
Ashley Wilde is missing the opportunity to connect with future buyers.
A Lack of Optimised Content
Another consideration is the lack of optimised content.
Keywords Per Page
Here are Ashley Wilde’s Top 3 pages based on the number of keywords being ranked for:
The majority of Ashley Wilde’s keywords appear on a page that lists their product stockists:
This page accounts for 21% of the website’s keywords (317 out of 1534). However, it accounts for less than 2% of the website’s traffic.
The page with the second-highest number of keywords is the ‘Ready-Made Curtains’ page with 72 keywords:
This is the third most important page on the website in terms of traffic.
Curtains? Where have we seen curtains before?
Ah yes! The vast majority of organic competitors for the Ashley Wilde website specialise in curtains.
But, is Curtains what Ashley Wilde really wants to be known for?
Product Keywords Analysis
In this section, let’s look at products listed in Ashley Wilde’s drop down menu.
This is a screenshot of the Ashley Wilde products menu:
To make that a bit clearer, we have listed them below in a bulleted list:
- Ashley Wilde Fabrics
- KAI Fabrics
- KAI Contract Fabrics
- Ready-Made Curtains
- Made to Measure Curtains
We don’t believe that the order of this list of products is arbitrary.
In fact, it is almost guaranteed that this list is in order of importance.
A Broken Content Strategy
Yet, when we analyse these product keywords we find that the order of importance based solely on the website’s content is vastly different.
The table below breaks down the results of our Product Keyword Analysis.
For each product keyword e.g. “Ashley Wilde Fabrics”, we begin by counting the number of pages containing the product keyword.
Using this number we are able to calculate the percentage of all pages that mention that product keyword. As well as, the percentage of all keywords.
For example, the first product menu item is “Ashley Wilde Fabrics” but as we can see from the table, less than 2 percent (12 pages) contain any mention of those three words.
In comparison, when we analyse the 6th and 7th product menu items: “Ready-Made Curtains” and “Made to Measure Curtains” we can see that almost half of the pages on the Ashley Wilde website mention the word curtain.
266 pages in total.
So, when we order these product keywords based on the number of pages containing those keywords.
The order of importance (from a content point of view) results in a very different list:
- Ashley Wilde Fabrics
- KAI Fabrics
- KAI Contract Fabrics
Again, maybe this is the main focus of Ashley Wilde’s marketing strategy – to be known for Curtains above everything else and use the website to distribute traffic to its stockists.
However, even if this is the case, Ashley Wilde manufactures and sells a lot more than curtains and it would make sense that content would cover all products in equal measures.
A Broken Customer Experience
Ok, let’s imagine that ‘Curtains’ are Ashley Wilde’s main product.
Let’s imagine that the main reason why people predominantly visit the website is to buy or potentially buy curtains.
What does that customer experience look like?
Well, let’s imagine a customer based in Hertfordshire (where Ashley Wilde is based).
This customer wants to buy some ready-made curtains from a company in or near to Hertfordshire.
They are not particularly bothered if the business is online or has a physical location.
However, they would prefer an in-store option so that they can feel the material and view the product in person.
That said, this customer is perfectly happy to receive samples at their home – ahead of their purchase too.
The first thing they do is enter the search term ‘ready made curtains hertfordshire’ into their search engine and this is what they see:
Ashley Wilde does not appear in either the Ads section or the organic section of the first page results.
Which actually makes total sense because Ashley Wilde only has 4 pages ranking for keywords.
These pages all include the keyword ‘ready made curtains’ but the highest position they rank for is 34!
Look at the combined monthly traffic volume for these 4 pages. It’s easy to understand why Ashley Wilde is losing traffic:
The Reasons Why Ashley Wilde is Failing to Connect with Its Website’s Visitors
Clearly, the Ashley Wilde website is not purely a B2C website. Nor is it a B2B website.
Ashley Wilde is positioned within the medium to the high luxury range. However, the site is practically invisible to its target audience.
I’ve outlined the following reasons for this below:
No Clear Offering
Ashley Wilde isn’t clear about what it offers.
Visitors may leave the site without solving their initial problem because it does not seem relevant to them.
Ashley Wilde’s homepage does not use valuable keywords either. This means it fails to rank on its target audience’s search intent.
This is evident from the title and meta description:
The meta description won’t have much of a bearing on the position of Ashley Wilde’s website in the search engine results.
However, it does influence the person doing the searching and the text in the meta description helps them decide whether or not to click through to the website.
“Ashley Wilde has specialised in refined furnishing fabrics and home decor products for decades, with a reputation for exceptional quality and service”.
In a way, this sounds great but from a purely commercial point of view it does not explain in any clear way exactly what Ashley Wilde sells or manufactures – or for who.
In addition to this, the page title uses the terms ‘Refined Furnishing Fabrics’.
But how many people use this as a search term?
Let’s do a quick check…
Similarly, let’s look at ‘Furnishing Fabrics’:
That’s a bit better…
A monthly volume of 880 is not too shabby considering that this is just one keyword.
Google trends also shows consistent traffic here too:
“Interest over time: Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. A score of 0 means there was not enough data for this term.”
Notice where interest has piqued over the last 12 months…the United Kingdom.
Yet, despite these positives Ashley Wilde is still missing key opportunities.
One such opportunity is their SERP (Search Engine Results Page) snippet. Ashley Wilde fails to optimise this for important keywords or phrases.
For example here is the SERP snippet for their ‘Fabrics’ product category page:
They haven’t used the phrases ’Refined Furnishing Fabrics’ or even ’Furnishing Fabrics’ that already exist in their welcome headline. Just ‘Fabrics’.
What about that welcome headline?
The welcome headline doesn’t even have an H1 Tag. It’s an H2 tag, meaning search engines will not give it the attention it should have were it a H1 tag.
As for the welcome headline copy, it reads ‘Three Generations’ which has no bearing on the site itself.
’Three Generations’ doesn’t mean a great deal to a potential B2B partner or customer looking for a supplier.
It doesn’t explicitly state:
“The UK’s Number 1 Supplier of Refined Furnishings Fabrics Based in Hertfordshire, England”
So, What Exactly Does Ashley Wilde’s Website Sell?
Even though it might be hard for a customer to find Ashley Wilde’s curtains via Google.
Let’s imagine that they somehow stumble upon Ashley Wilde’s ‘Ready Made Curtains’ category page.
The customer browses through their selection…
And, they take an immediate liking to the ‘Ashwell Bronze Curtains’.
This customer clicks through to the ‘Ashwell Bronze Curtains’ product page…envisioning the curtains in their home.
It’s decided. The customer wants to buy these curtains.
They look for the ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Add to Basket’ button but it’s nowhere to be found.
Wait…the customer can’t actually buy them?
The Ashley Wilde website only offers 6 possible next actions.
But, a ‘Buy’ option is not one of them.
This is what the customer can do next:
- Look at photos of the ready-made curtains I desire
- Return to the curtain ‘collections’ category
- View stockists
- Visit the general brochures archive page
- Use the menu
- View “related” curtains
But they cannot purchase the curtains!
In that case, their only option is to visit the stockists page.
Remember, this customer wants to purchase from a business in Hertfordshire.
When they landed on the site, they just wanted to buy some curtains.
But now they are on a treasure hunt.
There is no information that tells them the number of stockists in Hertfordshire.
This means they will have to wade through 29 stockists.
Fortunately, the list is reduced because rather surprisingly, only 8 of them have a website.
I can imagine that this customer will give up and go elsewhere.
Shopping online shouldn’t be this difficult.
But there is one last option before they leave the site – a fabric sample.
What About a Fabric Sample?
Unfortunately, this customer cannot buy the Ashwell Bronze Curtains directly from the Ashley Wilde website.
It is left to them to contact each of the 29 stockists separately.
However, it would be perfectly acceptable if they could get a sample of the fabric used to make the ‘Ashwell Bronze Curtains’.
But even this is not as simple as it would seem.
Even though the ‘About’ page states that 2000 samples are dispatched per day, there is no obvious way to order a fabric sample.
The end result of all of this is probably a potential customer giving up. They’ll leave the site feeling unfulfilled and unlikely to return in future.
The Site Is Not Optimised For Conversions
Another issue with the site is that it is not optimised with conversion in mind.
The Ashley Wilde website suffers from an 87% bounce rate. This means only 1 in 10 people stay on the website after they navigate to it.
That might not be as bad as it sounds except, they only stay for 39 seconds.
The website was not built with these customers in mind.
It’s far too focused on the internal view of the business and ignores the external reality of it.
For a buyer there is no clear, obvious and satisfying path to purchase.
There’s also no primary call to action to support them e.g. a contact sales button in the header.
Moreover, there’s too much clicking and scrolling required to find contact information.
For a potential customer at the decision-making stage of their journey, there is nothing to interact with on the website.
There is no useful lead generation functionality.
No Profitable Content Strategy
That lack of clarity I mentioned earlier is evident when you consider the website as a collection of content.
It is a basic brochure website.
“A brochure website is a reflection of the early Internet. They’re extremely light on features, lack engagement, and put an unhealthy emphasis on aesthetics to drive its success.”
And, it lacks content.
The website has no blog.
A lack of optimised content means it provides little value to its customers. It also means search engines will infer little value to the site when Google tries to rank it.
It’s no wonder that stockist page holds the majority of the website’s keywords.
There is a ‘news’ section but this essentially a gallery of press clippings. Each accompanied by as few words as possible.
For example, the following page has nine words in total. Nine!
The Ashley Wilde website has no landing pages.
There is no strategy behind the website’s sitemap.
There is clearly no content strategy at all!
The Ashley Wilde website may be a good-looking example of an early internet website – where the focus is clearly on how great the business is.
But it lacks functionality and isn’t optimised for user experience. Only having a total of nine words on the Stylist magazine page is a missed keyword optimisation opportunity. Which in today’s marketplace, is a sure fire way to lose business.
No Traffic Strategy
Let’s look at the site traffic through the lens of its competitors.
This is how Ashley Wilde’s organic competitors fashioninteriors.co.uk,
curtainfabricstore.co.uk and curtainsmadesimple.co.uk acquire their traffic:
A mixture of Direct, Search and Paid traffic.
In comparison, this is how Ashley Wilde’s industry competitors such as wayfair.co.uk, Made.com or lauraashley.com acquire their traffic:
Once again, there’s a mixture of Direct, Search and Paid traffic.
Where does Ashley Wilde get its traffic from?
Unsurprisingly, 100% of Ashley Wilde’s traffic comes from Search.
And with 87% of that traffic leaving within seconds of landing on the website, it’s clear this website doesn’t have any focus as to what they want visitors to do.
No Proactive Backlinking Strategy
Backlinks are a vital component when it comes to ranking high in the search engines.
Even more important is the quality of those backlinks.
Ashley Wilde has 3700 backlinks from 458 referring domains.
Unfortunately, 66% of those referring domains have low domain authority.
40% of Ashley Wilde’s referring domains have domain authority scores less than 10.
Here is an example of one of Ashley Wilde’s referring domains with a domain authority less than 10:
Here is another example:
Only 59 (12%) of Ashley Wilde’s referring domains have IP addresses based in the UK.
Out of those 59 referring domains with UK based IP addresses, the one providing the most backlinks (103) is ashleywildegroup.co.uk.
My guess is there was a URL change from co.uk to .com.
Ashley Wilde has lost 1500 backlinks.
In addition, out of the 3700 backlinks they do have, 27% are from patstextiles.co.uk. This is a website with a domain authority score of just 16.
Ashley Wilde certainly has their work cut out for them but it is not at all insurmountable.
Let’s take a look at the priority areas that require improvement.
The priority areas that require improvement are:
- A clear marketing message
- Deciding who the target market
- Conversion optimisation
- On-site SEO
- Off-site SEO
- Traffic acquisition
With just a little bit of work on just one or two of these areas, Ashley Wilde should start to see significant improvement to their key metrics.
This would start to help them move towards having a site which is clear and has the ability to turn traffic into sales.
From there, they could start to work on other areas such as content marketing, paid and social media towards a common goal.
We would then recommend making these changes and measuring the impact a few months later.
We would then recommend revisiting their competitors once the site is aligned towards a logical end goal. For example: ranking for ‘bespoke curtains Hertfordshire‘.
After completing competitor analysis, we will be able to establish a marketing strategy to help them grow and beat their competitors.
Do you want an honest and upfront conversation about your business?
We work with hundreds of companies who are looking to understand how best to grow their businesses online.
Our analysis and strategies provide practical and logical roadmaps to help companies understand where they are currently, what growth is possible and how to get there.
We want to provide companies with focused growth and to ensure they have marketing campaigns that are completely aligned to agreed goals.
If you would like to have a conversation about your company, then submit your details for a personalised competitor report or get in touch.