Ecommerce Marketing Checkup: FairyHomesAndGardens

In this installment of the Ecommerce Marketing Checkup, our team of experts sprinkle some marketing fairy dust on FairyHomesAndGardens. Check out this post to see what you can learn from this magical business.


Every month, Volusion assembles a cross-functional team of marketing professionals to take a quick look at a Volusion store and provide recommendations for taking their business to the next level. In this round, our team explored the enchanting world of FairyHomesAndGardens, a fun online store featuring fairy homes and other whimsical accessories for the garden.

FairyHomesAndGardens has experienced over 90% growth in online traffic over the last year and it’s easy to see why. The website design is engaging, and the featured products are fun, unique and affordable. Our team of experts, however, spotted some opportunities for increasing the site’s online visibility for even greater success.

What did our ecommerce marketing experts have to say? Check out their recommendations below.


Conversion optimization: Make it easy, keep the shopper engaged and get the conversion

“ is very well designed – enchanting and exciting fairy lovers with playful elements across its site. With some improvements to the navigation and category naming structure, they can achieve the ROI they’re looking for.”
-Kate Pierce, Search Marketing Manager


The following analysis recognizes what’s helping FairyHomesAndGardens convert shoppers to buyers, as well as highlights some areas for improvement.


Positive influences on conversion rates

  • Engaging design improves user experience
    • Their web design portrays a distinct brand voice, creating an air of excitement and whimsy around their products.
  • Critical shopping information is above the fold
    • The most important information, like product categories and their free shipping offer, are showing above the fold, while less critical (though still helpful and engaging) information is below the fold. This is a great layout for the site because it doesn’t mix the calls-to-action. Visitors are primarily encouraged to shop while getting a feel for this business’ passion for all things fairy.
  • Using vZoom makes it easy to view product details
    • FairyHomesAndGardens is utilizing vZoom, which is great for shoppers because it gives them a close look at the intricate detailing on these small products.
  • Security builds trust
    • The SSL is installed, visible and clickable, which helps instill confidence in their business.
  • Free shipping converts
    • The free shipping offer is automatically applying the shipping discount when a shopper’s cart total hits the $100 threshold, which creates a more seamless customer experience than requiring that shoppers enter a promo code to receive free shipping. Automatic free shipping also tends to lead to more conversions since shoppers get to bypass the roadblock of remembering a promo code.


Areas for improvement to increase conversions

  • Use descriptive, search-optimized category names
    • All categories and sub-categories should have intuitive, keyword-related names. That way, not only will first-time visitors have an easy time finding what they want, but Google will look more favorably on your site as well.  To illustrate this point, let’s take the “Fairy Abodes” category for example. The search volume for the keyword “Fairy Abodes” isn’t very impressive. On the other hand, the search volume for “Fairy Homes” is booming. The same could be said of “Fairy Out Buildings” versus “Fairy Villages.” Thus, FairyHomesAndGardens should revisit their category names and make sure they accurately describe their products while also appealing to search engines.
  • Use high quality images
    • Photos should be included for all categories and products. Category and product images are always important, but these products are so visual that they’re even more crucial to success. Not having a photo significantly reduces the chance that their products will be purchased.
  • Avoid empty categories
    • FairyHomesAndGardens will want to avoid displaying any completely empty categories because they lead visitors to a dead end.  Instead, FairyHomesAndGardens can simply insert a quick message saying that the category is either out of stock or coming soon. They can even use this messaging to strengthen their brand and market their products (ex. “Having the right foliage to showcase your fairy homes can put the finishing touch on your fairy garden masterpiece. Soon we’ll be providing all greenery to create a picture-perfect fairy haven, so check back often!”)
  • Create a custom 404 page
    • The FairyHomesAndGardens site is so well designed that their generic error page comes as a bit of a shock.  However, a custom 404 page that reflects their branding, reassures their visitors and redirects any wanderers back to safety will fix that right up.
  • Use vivid product descriptions throughout the site
    • Some of FairyHomesAndGardens’ product descriptions are very thorough, complete with information on the materials used, product dimensions, packaging information and even tips on preserving them. On the other end of the spectrum, they also have product descriptions that are only the product name. We know it can be a lengthy process to get all product descriptions up to that level of detail, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.
  • Improve the Featured Artist category structure
    • Right now, the Featured Artist tab is a little confusing. The Featured Artist tab should only contain “About <name of artist>” and “Creations by <name of artist>” because having so many categories under the artist is confusing (especially given the fact that categories like Cottages and Furniture are also featured elsewhere on the site).
  • Prepare for the gift giving season today
    • FairyHomesAndGardens can get a head start on preparing for the seasonal rush by featuring any holiday-themed products in their “Top Sellers” section.


PPC advertising: Missed opportunities

“Pay per click advertising is a quick way to spread your message to those who aren’t necessarily looking for your website. With the right keyword strategy and a sprinkle of fairy dust, FairyHomesAndGardens is sure to make real magic with a PPC campaign.”
-Chelsea Cepeda, Search Marketing Specialist


The suggestions below are recommendations for FairyHomesAndGardens that will help them create a successful PPC campaign.


  • Define your campaign focus
    • FairyHomesAndGardens should consider beginning a campaign on products that are known to be best sellers. Starting here can ensure a want or need for the product as well as the likelihood of there being search volume to advertise on. Be sure to identify the product and who is most likely to buy. Doing so can help determine what FairyHomesAndGardens’ audience are looking for, how they might think online and how FairyHomesAndGardens can steer their advertising efforts.
  • Use the right keywords
    • Google AdWords has great resources to assist FairyHomesAndGardens when incorporating new keywords into the campaign and analyzing advertising competitiveness. When beginning keyword research first start out with either the Keyword Planner or Keyword Tool, whichever is available in the AdWords account. Keep in mind that general keywords like “fairy” or “fairies” may sound appealing, but should not be added to positive keyword lists as they can cause more damage than good in a PPC account. Try using more specific keywords such as “fairy garden homes,” “fairy garden house,” “fairy garden cottages,” etc. These terms speak specifically to FairyHomeAndGarden’s core audience.
    • Remember: It never hurts to be as specific as possible. For example, adding a keyword like “rustic fairy garden houses for sale” is going to attract searchers looking for that specific product. Be sure to also add spelling variations into your campaign. While most people will probably type “fairy” there is still a substantial amount of traffic out there for “faerie” keywords. They may not have the highest traffic volumes, but competition is lower which means the clicks will be less expensive.
    • After the initial keyword research, check back in the account to review additional keyword resources such as the Opportunities tab and Search Query report. In the Opportunities tab, AdWords will automatically review current keyword lists and make suggestions regarding new terms that may be relevant to the account. With the Search Query report, FairyHomesAndGardens can review specific terms that their existing keywords have triggered. This report will be chalk full of fairy related keywords that FairyHomesAndGardens’ audience would have specifically searched. 5fhagppcresults
  • Don’t be afraid to negate keywords
    • When it comes to PPC, negative keywords can be your best friend. They help deflect searches that could hinder conversion rate and cause excess spend. FairyHomesAndGardens should try negating keywords that first come to mind when thinking of fairies. When someone thinks of fairies, they may think of dolls, toys and “make your own fairy” kits. By adding these terms as negative keywords, FairyHomesAndGardens can make sure that anyone looking for “fairy dolls,” “fairy toys” and “fairy kits” won’t see the ads. Another thing FairyHomesAndGardens can do is use Google’s Keyword Planner to insert a few positive keywords and see if anything pops up that isn’t sold on the website. If so, they can negate those keywords from their campaign as well. Bonus tip: Chances are that if Google thinks an irrelevant keyword should be added to the positive keyword list, then it’s safe to say your ad may be shown, potentially wasting money.
  • Have fun with your ad text
    • Ad text is the most creative part of a PPC campaign. FairyHomesAndGardens can try adding a bit of flare to ads by allowing the brand to shine through. In addition to showing the brands personality, FairyHomesAndGardens should remember to include any promotions or sales to entice a potential customer to click on an ad. Testing ad text is a great way to analyze how customers are interacting with campaigns. Make sure to write a few different variations and check back often. Once FairyHomesAndGardens has determined which ads perform best and why, they can pause the lower performer and write a new ad based on the winning aspects they’ve identified.
  • Monitor campaign performance
    • Lastly, once FairyHomesAndGardens has established their PPC efforts they should ensure that the campaign is never left on autopilot. Leaving PPC campaigns on autopilot puts ads at risk of falling off the page and making your account go stale. Keep in mind that search traffic, search behavior and search engines change constantly, so the FairyHomesAndGardens’ account should always be as up to date as possible and optimized often to ensure success.


Shopping feeds: Better images, titles & categorization

“Businesses that have planted a strong foundation in their Shopping Feeds have the opportunity to see their revenue fly fairy high through this relatively new marketing channel, and FairyHomesAndGardens is no exception.”
Andrew McLeod, Shopping Feeds Specialist


FairyHomesAndGardens has a strong Shopping Feeds foundation, but by tinkering a few of their product attributes, they can capitalize on their Shopping Feeds exposure.


  • Submit descriptive product titles
    • Many of the products on Fairy Homes like “Set of 4 Miniature Garden Fairies” have specific, descriptive product titles that encourage customers to explore more. However, that’s not the case all across the board, so they’ll want to revise products with broad titles to be more descriptive. For example, with the product title “Country Church” it’s not immediately clear that the product is a garden ornament. Remember that the shopping engines can only show what you submit to them, so to include enough information that shoppers can tell exactly what your products are before clicking through to your site.
  • Provide quality images without watermarks
    • Most of FairyHomesAndGardens’ product photos are fantastic. They’re large, high resolution images that help their products stand out on shopping engine search results. Unfortunately, most of their images also contain watermarks of their website’s name. Although these watermarks are pretty transparent and don’t affect the image’s visual appeal, shopping engines have begun to disapprove images that contain watermarks since they’re technically a violation of their policies. FairyHomesAndGardens can still use watermarked images on their website, but should provide shopping engines with images that don’t contain watermarks.
  • Categorize products appropriately
    • Shopping engines require you to organize your products into categories that fit their taxonomy. This will help shopping engines show your products to the right users. FairyHomesAndGardens has categorized their products under “Home & Garden > Décor,” but they can actually get more specific and categorize their products under “Home & Garden > Decor > Lawn Ornaments.” This strategy allows FairyHomesAndGardens’ products to increase their prominence on shopping engine search results.


SEO: Never underestimate strong tags and content

“SEO really comes down to three things: relevancy, authority and engagement, and FairyHomesAndGardens is doing a fantastic job of engaging their organic visitors. The store’s organic bounce rate is one of the best I have seen and the average time on site exceeds three minutes. Search engines typically interpret this sort of behavior as a sign of quality and reward it. So, big kudos on that achievement. That said, I see some opportunities for improvement regarding their Meta tags and content strategy.”
-Alison Garrison, SEO Manager


The suggestions below are recommendations for improving FairyHomesAndGardens’ visibility in the search engines’ organic search results.


  • Correct duplicate Meta tag issues
    • The site is currently using the exact same tags in the Default Values and Home Page fields. Unfortunately, this means that the home page’s tags are duplicated on every page that doesn’t have the SEO tags filled in, leaving FairyHomesAndGardens with 72 duplicate Title tags and 163 duplicate Meta descriptions.
      7fhagmetatagsSearch engines want unique Meta tags on every page, with the home page and all major landing pages being the most critical to a site’s SEO health. For this reason, we think FairyHomesAndGardens would greatly benefit from crafting a unique Title tag and Meta description for the home page, then tackling the other duplicated tags as they see fit.
  • Craft keyword rich Title tags and compelling Meta descriptions
    • Since the Title tag is the most valuable SEO real estate on a webpage, it should contain several important keywords specific to that page. Meta Descriptions aren’t critical to ranking, so keywords are of less importance. However, these descriptions do affect click-through rates, which in turn can influence your site SEO performance. FairyHomesAndGardens will want to include compelling marketing copy in the Meta description that convinces searchers to click through to their site.
    • As it’s currently crafted, the home page Title tag and Meta description look like this in search engine results:
      We noticed that the current Title tag contains a tagline. While taglines are excellent marketing tools, the Title tag is not a good home for them. Instead, this tag should target keywords in a way the reads nicely and clearly communicates the page’s content. Meta descriptions, on the other hand, are a great place for marketing copy. It’s also a great place to draw-in both new customers and loyal fans alike. The current description targets shoppers who are new to the fairy home market, but perhaps the marketing message could be crafted to be more inclusive and compelling.  For example:
      After determining the perfect home page Title tag and Meta description, FairyHomesAndGardens can repeat this exercise for all primary landing pages to reap even more SEO benefits.
  • Include keyword-rich, crawlable content
    • It’s no secret that search engines favor websites that consistently publish useful, unique content, whether on the website itself or on the company blog. We were pleased to see that FairyHomesAndGardens has a blog, but a little dismayed to see it hadn’t been updated since March 2012. Thankfully, September 2013 is the perfect time to make a comeback, and we’re hoping to see FairyHomesAndGardens commit to posting regular blogs on topics that appeal to their target market. For example, lists of clever garden décor ideas, artist profiles, product launch announcements, “best of” posts such as “Best Gifts for Fantasy Fans” or “5 Best Gardening Accessories for Children” and so on. The idea is for them to create regular content that potential customers will want to read and share, while also increasing their site’s keyword relevancy.
  • Ensure the correct sitemap is submitted to Google Webmaster Tools
    • FairyHomesAndGardens’ Webmaster Tools account showed that only a single URL in the sitemap had been successfully indexed, which isn’t quite ideal.
      This is likely due to the /v/sitemap.xml sitemap being declared, which may be old and outdated. Thankfully, the Volusion software automatically generates a sitemap on their behalf located at /sitemap.xml. Whenever they add new products, this sitemap will dynamically update. Our SEO gnomes manually submitted that sitemap on their behalf and now 263 URL’s have been successfully indexed.  (Disclaimer: No gnomes were harmed in the submission of this sitemap.)
  • Network to increase inbound link profile
    • FairyHomesAndGardens inbound link profile is a little lonely and would greatly benefit from some online networking. Link building has changed drastically in the past two years. Effective link building now revolves around the strategic use of social media and content creation to naturally generate inbound links. It’s also beneficial to network with highly relevant bloggers, industry partners and associations to earn high quality, relevant links back to your store.


Social media: Reconnect as soon as possible

“FairyHomesAndGardens once had a community of raving fans and followers on Facebook, but the brand stopped using the channel. By reconnecting with their audience and offering an online utopia for fairy lovers, FairyHomesAndGardens can foster a community that is loyal, engaged and excited to spread the word about their brand.”
-Cindy Day, Social Media Expert


Below are some suggestions on how FairyHomesAndGardens can reinvigorate their social following and better connect with their customers.


  • Rebuilding trust
    • Constant engagement is key. It’s the one thing that we can’t stress enough. To rebuild trusted relationships with their social following, FairyHomesAndGardens needs to make a long-term commitment to delivering value to their community. The first step would be to build a social media strategy for the channels that they choose to focus on. After spending some time on their website and getting a good feel for their target audience, we recommended they focus on Facebook and Pinterest to start.
    • The owners of FairyHomesAndGardens cited time as the major roadblock to managing their social media presence. We recommend they check out a management tool like Hoosuite to make things easier.
    • While their Twitter account is still getting back on its feet, the Twitter button should be removed from the FairyHomesAndGardens site. It can be added back once their account is back in full swing and tweeting frequently.
  • Facebook: Reconnect with your community
    • Since it has been awhile since FairyHomesAndGardens has been active on Facebook, it would be a good idea to start off with a post that explains and apologizes for the extended time away with a promise of commitment going forward. By being honest and transparent, FairyHomeAndGardens can start earning  back the trust of those who may have  missed them, as well as humanize their brand.
    • The “About” section should be completely filled out, using keywords in order to optimize for both search engines and Facebook’s graph search. For the short description, it’s best to create a succinct statement (around 155 characters) to describe the business, including the website URL. This will ensure that the URL is always visible, making it as easy for customers to visit the site.
    • Ideally, posts should happen at least once a day, and every post should encourage conversation and engagement. Historically, FairyHomesAndGardens’  Facebook fans have engaged with pictures of their products, so the brand should continue utilizing their gorgeous product photos to encourage comments. Other kinds of posts that they can try are questions, fill in the blanks, “caption this photo,” etc. They could even ask the community to “name this product” before releasing a new product to the store. Interaction like that is the epitome of a brand really valuing its community’s ideas, and it’s that kind of appreciation that will connect with customers on deepr level.
    • FairyHomesAndGardens’ community has many shared interests such as gardening, crafts, fantasy, cooking, nature and more, so they could post articles, pictures, videos, infographics and other online content that relates to these interests. (Always being sure to cite their sources, of course.)
    • In order to learn more about their customers and connect with them on a more emotional level, FairyHomesAndGardens can encourage people to share their stories, pictures andvideos while also asking them questions. On the bright side, this community lends itself well to sharing and connecting, so it shouldn’t be hard to generate this engagement.
  • Pinterest: Diversify and get involved
    • Pinterest represents a great opportunity for FairyHomesAndGardens because it’s a place where the brand can establish expertise, reach a large, image focused audience and drive traffic to their site. This social network is particularly useful for brands that don’t have the time to create a lot of content because it mostly revolves around sharing the content of others. Currently, FairyHomesAndGardens has 10 boards, eight of which are about fairies. They should feel free to create additional boards such as quotes, beautifully landscaped gardens, DIY garden crafts and so on. In order to reach more people as well as boards that will be helpful to their users such as how-tos and recipes.
    • The brand should add a Pinterest button to their website so people know they can connect with them there, and look at other accounts such as Better Homes and Gardens for some “Pinspiration.”


Did we miss anything? Check out FairyHomesAndGardens and leave your tips below

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If you are interested in having your store reviewed by our team, comment below with your store URL.

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30 Responses to “Ecommerce Marketing Checkup: FairyHomesAndGardens”

  1. Sheila

    I’m really struggling with traffic as well and have quite a few abandoned cards .Could you add ? Thank you very much!

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Hi Shelia. Your store’s been added to the list of possible stores to review next. Thanks for reaching out!

  2. Jo

    can you add my site to the list ?
    thanks for your help!

  3. Ronna Moore

    I could use some clarification on your last suggestion to add a pinterest button to my website. I have a pinterest button for each individual item. Do you have something else in mind? A pinterest button for my website in general? How does that work?

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Hi Ronna,
      Here’s what Cindy had to say:
      A pinterest button for your overall website is exactly what I was thinking. 🙂 At the top of your website (on the right hand side), I see links to your Twitter and Facebook. I think adding a Pinterest link to that same area would be an excellent idea. If you got the Twitter and Facebook buttons added via custom design, then you’d want to do the same to get that Pinterest link added.

      • Ronna Moore

        Thank you. I will have my web designer do that. Actually, I don’t use twitter and no use fooling myself to think that I will so perhaps I can replace one with the other.

  4. Nathan

    I would love my site to be reviewed, please could you add us to the mix? many thanks

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Absolutely! Catwalk Glamour has been added to our list of possible candidates. 😀 Thanks for reading!

  5. Todd

    We are struggling with traffic and could really use a review at

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Thanks for reaching out, Todd! Your store’s been added to the list of possible candidates.

  6. Ronna Moore

    I really appreciate the check-up. Lots of good advice. I am a little confused though. If only 1 URL was indexed due to a bad sitemap, how have I been experiencing such organic growth?

    • Alison Garrison

      Great to hear from you, Ronna! Thankfully, Google discovered your webpages through other methods (i.e. crawling the site through HTML links). They didn’t absolutely require a sitemap, but submitting a sitemap is a best SEO practice because it gives the search engines a comprehensive road map of your site. If Google had somehow missed any significant pages, the sitemap would help it find them. A sitemap also has the added plus of increasing the likelihood that new pages will be indexed quickly. As you noticed, your site has experienced exponential organic growth because of your hard work and great products – despite the incorrect sitemap. The new sitemap will only bolster your current success! 🙂

  7. Leanne Edwards

    A very helpful article, we will definitely be making changes to our website following your advice. We would love to have our store reviewed:

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Glad you liked it, Leanne! 🙂 Consider Love from Rosie officially added to the list.

  8. Imran muhammad Qureshi

    This information is very useful & will be going through with my website ( to check all the mistakes i have done with it.

  9. Celesta

    Thanks for the great info. Question: Where would I locate the tool for discovering duplicate Meta tag issues?

  10. Will Brown

    Custom 404 Page?

    Hate to burst the bubble but that is a standard IIS 404 page.

    • Gracelyn Tan

      You’re right that their current 404 page is standard. That’s why we recommended FairyHomesAndGardens consider creating a custom 404 page for a more cohesive and user-friendly shopping experience. Thanks for reading and commenting, Will!

  11. Darci

    • Gracelyn Tan

      Thanks, Darci! Your store’s been added to the list of possible candidates. 🙂

      • Jo

        Hi can you tell me how to check for duplicate meta tags other than manually going through my site – i’d love for my site to be considered too 🙂

        • Alison Garrison

          Hello, Jo. The best way to check for duplicate tags (in my opinion) is to verify your Google Webmaster Tools account. Once you do that, log into your account and go to Search Appearance > HTML Improvements and Google will provide you with Tag and Content information, including any duplicate Meta tags. With Webmaster Tools, you can also submit your sitemap, review your traffic and impressions, and identify crawling errors (which is why I recommend it so highly :)). Happy selling!


    These checkup articles are enormously helpful. I will be going through my own site point by point to incoporate many of these suggestions. Thanks for all the insights!

  13. Alex

    I recommend having their phone number and business hours posted at the top of every page on the site. And posting their business hours on their contact us page, so customers know what days and hours to call.


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