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BD Web Awards
Best Online Retail Site
The company lives up to its PoolDawg name with its bold and fun style. Have you noticed a bulldog hanging out at BCA, APA or WPBA tournaments? We've solved the mystery. Meet Frank T. Dawg, the PoolDawg mascot that also has his own blog. Since Artemis is the goddess of animals, she takes an instant liking to Frank.
Online retail sites love to abuse billiard-related keywords in hopes visitors search their way to the website. Many of them also suffer from a bad case of choice - overwhelming visitors and scaring them almost as much as Medusa's serpents. Although PoolDawg welcomes dogs of all kinds, the company remembers it also serves humans. The website reflects that by relying on categories, intuitive navigation and plenty of content - including advice from professional player Liz Ford.
With links to Facebook and Twitter on the website, the dawgs at PoolDawg regularly interact with customers and pool fans on the social networks. PoolDawg beats out all of its competitors in the coliseum by doing many things right and ducking the problems that sent others to face Cerberus, the three-headed dog.
Runner-up Online Retail Site
Pool Cue Guru
Explore the "about us" and "customer service" pages, and we feel like we have stepped into a mom-and-pop shop. The mom and pop behind Pool Cue Guru are a husband and wife team who excel in creating a personal experience and customer service. Like PoolDawg, Pool Cue Guru connects to social networks.
The owners of Pool Cue Guru started in the skateboard business. They also loved to shoot pool, which compelled them to expand and enter the billiard business. Aphrodite, of course, as goddess of love, admires the owners for pursuing their passions.
Aside from the company pages, Pool Cue Guru has little branding or personality to support its efficient and organized design. Yet Pool Cue Guru's Facebook page logo oozes personality. Add that logo to the website, and it'll provide instant character. With the company's information in the footer, it takes little work to spot the many bothersome keyword links right below.
Best Billiard Room Site
The Broken Rack
This continues to be one of our favorite categories because these sites radiate personality, branding and fun. Easy-to-find address and phone number? Check. Hours? Check. Menu? Check. Too bad there are no express trains in Olympus to take us to California for the delicious-sounding Pineapple Express drink. God of wine and celebrations, Dionysus heads straight for the Broken Rack to try the drink and join the party.
Getting around the site is a breeze, which puts Hermes out of a job. The site lists league and tournament information, explains how table time works and makes it easy to get instant directions. It is only five million miles from Olympus, give or take. We are so there - after we finish meeting with Zeus and company.
Runner-up Billiard Room Site
Slate uses red like the Broken Rack, yet it gives off a completely different vibe that's all its own. Between the photo and video galleries, we can almost feel and experience the atmosphere in Slate. Only a sleek and modern-looking site can tear Apollo, god of light and music, away from the heavenly Mount Olympus.
The address and phone number are one of the most important features needed on billiard-room sites, and Slate displays the info on every page. Slate's misstep comes in not displaying the hours or much of the menu, plus the inconsistent font size and type. The website also goes overboard on animation and keywords. The hours show up on its Facebook page, but it needs to be clearly evident on the website.
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