Honesty is the Best Policy

Honesty is the Best Policy

I recently posted about a project that I undertook for You've Got Pen on Your Face (YGPOYF) , in which I built them an entire new website in Shopify. This came on the back of a frantic voice note that YGPOYF owner, Frankie, sent me over instagram in December 2023. She had engaged a firm to re-design her Squarespace website, and take care of their SEO while they were at it. I'd met and worked with Frankie before on her SEO for Faire, optimising her product listings and giving her an insight into SEO basics. From this knowledge I had previously shared, Frankie knew enough to know that some of the advice and content she was being given by this IT company was wrong.

Wanting a second opinion, Frankie reached out to me to confirm her suspicions - the IT firm was misleading her, and also blaming her for the content being poorly written. The firm "didn't know anything about the greeting card industry" so apparently they had decided it was fine to just send through nonsensical bullshit content for the meta descriptions.

After confirming that this was unacceptable, Frankie returned to the firm to question their provided content, only to be lied to again and told that it was correct. Not only was it not following SEO basic guidelines, but also the content didn't even make sense. My suspicions were that it was made using AI, but this was just a suspicion.

Upon being confronted for the poor quality of work, the firm told Frankie she was free to go with someone else and would get a full refund of everything she had paid so far, which was very kind of them. Frankie then reached back out to me to do the work for her.

We discusses the limitations of Squarespace, namely its cap on how many products you can have live (up to 200) before paying larger fees, and we decided that building a whole new Shopify store was the way to go. So that's what I did! Slowly over the coming months, we developed a brand new store that would include all of Frankie's products and be optimised for SEO from the foundations.

Part of the reason for how long the project took was the time difference - I was in Australia at the time, so we had about 2 hours in the morning and evening of cross-over time that were workable. Frankie also had some other commitments like trade shows, holidays and family events to factor in, and we were more focused on getting the website done correctly, rather than quickly.

In the end, now Frankie's website is up and running, looking gorgeous and working like a charm. You can check out her range of retro birthday cards, gift wrap and other hand drawn greeting cards on the new website.

Now, a month after publishing the website live, it is already ranking for almost 40 keywords in the UK, including being on the first page of results for 10 of those. And this is just the beginning! With further growth to come with each new design, new content added and new backlinks like the ones I've added above, the YGPOYF website will only continue to thrive. You can read Frankie's review of my service on the SEO Bitch reviews page.

What matters most to me about this whole experience was that I was able to offer an honest and helpful service and advice to Frankie. I was outraged on her behalf at the way that she was being treated by this other IT firm, who took it for granted that she didn't know anything about SEO and therefore could say absolutely whatever they wanted.

It boggles my mind how many other small businesses have experienced something like this. So many firms that are paying for monthly 'maintenance fees' in the hundreds of pounds that are simply hemorrhaging money as there is literally no maintenance to be done on a Shopify or Squarespace website. If this is you, please reach out to me immediately for advice on what to do about it.

The only ongoing fees you should ever be paying to an SEO firm should be able to supply a list of actual changes being made, whether thats fixing broken links, adding new pages, products or content, or developing backlinks. With simple and fairly static websites like those often run by small product-based or service-based businesses, there isn't a whole lot of other maintenance to do.

If you'd like to find out how to ensure your website is working hard for you, I recommend an SEO Audit, which is my most popular service. You can also book a free consultation call with me at any time to chat about your business, learn a bit about SEO and get some advice on how to improve your online presence. I am proud to offer SEO for small creative businesses on a foundation of honesty and transparency, and I'm excited to join you on this journey!

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