Critiquing Paul Downs' Website

CEO Gabriel Shaoolian's debut on New York Times' You're the Boss

Last week, we invited readers to take a look at the Web site where You’re the Boss blogger Paul Downs sells his high-end conference tables and answer the question, “Does this site work?”

The feedback poured in from around the world, from Web professionals and from casual observers. And the verdict? Paul Downs builds magnificent conference tables but his Web site could be better.

The most common complaint was that the photographs of the conference tables were unattractive and failed to do justice to the quality of the craftsmanship. Other issues raised included weak search-engine optimization, unclear messaging and failure to take full advantage of two real strengths: a fantastic client list and strong testimonials.


Reader Emily Brackett was effusive in her praise: “I was pretty amazed by these conference tables. They are gorgeous. The boat-shape of many of them seems so fluid and graceful. The inlays are very unique.”

The problem that jumped out at many of the people who critiqued the site (including me) was the relatively poor quality of the photographs. This comes as no surprise to Mr. Downs, who actually apologizes for the poor photography in the answer to one of his frequently asked questions. The consensus among readers seems to be that professional photographs, preferably taken in the offices of his customers, would be well worth the investment.

Read more on the New York Times

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