What career path did you take to get to where you are today?
I started out in 1993 as a graphic designer, straight out of school at 16 years old - using a Macintosh 128K with a green screen to produce advertisements for local businesses. I then went on to design and produce golf books for a local advertising agency. Followed by a stint in reprographics in 1996 and then producing monthly newsletters for the likes of the NHS & CBI for a company called Loudhailer.
In 1998, we built a website/search engine for luxury goods and services which was very successful - so much so that Harrods hired the whole team to relocate to London and build them a website. I learned so much during this period - the internet was in its infancy but we really did capture the essence of what it was like to shop in the physical store - it really was way ahead of its time.
In 2001 we had our first child (Charlie) on the way and decided to move back up north. I jointly set up a web and graphic design agency called Freebird - this grew quickly and is where my love for designing and building websites grew further - I also absolutely love designing corporate IDs and helping businesses understand how to market themselves better to attract the right type of customers. You're probably thinking, how did you end up at NVC then? Well, out of the blue I was offered a role at NetVoucherCodes by my brother-in-law in 2011. It was a very difficult decision to jump ship from the business I had worked so hard to build.
However, it was a great opportunity to work on something completely new and hone my SEO skills - whilst looking after all the design aspects of NetVoucherCodes and developing it as a brand. And I’m so glad I made the decision to move, as I’m now fortunate to have lots of complementary skill sets that work together.
Over the years, my role has changed significantly. I now head up our SEO & Content teams - I really do love my job, I think of the whole team as a family, and now my youngest son Kieron has joined the team, most of them in fact are!
But what I get the most satisfaction out of these days is training and developing the younger members of the team. I think back to the people who helped me along the way and I still hold them in high regard in helping me in my career - hopefully, one day I'll be held in the same regard by the people I work with now. I also get to design things every now and again and I've definitely still got it - you never lose that eye for design even if I'm ancient now (45).
What does your day-to-day look like?
Data analysis, consumer search trends, project management boards, meetings, analytics, ideation, training - a real mix depending on the time of the week, month or year! SEO has a hand in the general day-to-day of all our teams - so it’s important that I communicate information with teams to keep everyone focussed. I always try to motivate my teams and keep pushing us forward along our product roadmap - and continue to grow our brand over time by improving our content output and rankings. My laptop definitely clocks some miles up around the office!
What makes NetVoucherCodes a great place to work?
Team spirit and togetherness. Sometimes it feels like we’re the underdog (which I love to be honest) it gives me the additional drive to be the best. I also love the fact that everyone lives and breathes what we do - It does feel good to have saved people millions of pounds over the years. The main thing for me though is that we’re based in the North West close to the sea and the fact I get to work with my two sons on some days - it’s had a great impact on our relationships. Finishing work at 4:30 pm an hour earlier than everyone else every day isn't too bad either!
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I'm a bit of a geek when it comes to digging into search data and analysing consumer shopping trends. I Love how new trends are emerging constantly, and I use these insights to come up with new content ideas that can help our users save money. It also gives our content real-world data to back up what we are suggesting.
Being a designer for so many years also gives me great insight into how important a great user experience is when building our brand. I enjoy designing new features on NetVoucherCodes - it's great being an all-rounder, it makes each day different!