This Is What I Do: A Behind The Scenes Of The{Naked}Elephant

behind the scenes

I have been thinking lately on finding better ways to explain what I do since I don’t really claim to be a designer, a developer or a writer. I have a couple of ideas I’m doing this week, the first one is offering FREE 1-Hour consultation calls to have one-on-one interactions and have people ask whatever they want with no strings attached. I already posted that to my Facebook Profile. The second idea was to redo the About Me page so the message can provide more clarity…

And lastly, since the{naked}elephant was just massively re-designed and re-launched, I thought it would be cool to show people what’s behind it and that way show what the hell is it that I do. So here it is:

Chasing Simplicity

While the information provided in the original site was valuable, the site had too many sections that were mostly readable with no interaction needed on the user’s side, which makes it a one-way channel.

This time we wanted simplicity to be one of the main ingredients, clean the clutter and get the whole site naked to its key messages. Besides the blog, which is now the homepage of the site, there are only 3 sections: Get To Know Me, What I Do and Hire Me, of course there is the Contact page with a lot less visibility…  What else do you need to know, right? The rest of what you have to say comes through your postings.

Clarity in your Key Messages

what i do I always tell people not to focus on the sections the website is going to have, focus on your key messages instead and then worry about how they are going to be displayed. Question everything, if you don’t, how are you going to provide answers to your visitor. Think about what your business is, why did you start it? for what? the benefits you offer or how you are different. These answers are going to provide answers that will help identify what you want to put out there.

I think the{naked}elephant is honestly representing who Andrea is, even in little details, if you know her then you know she does get distracted by shiny objects.

Call To Action

book me now Tell your visitor what you want them to do, make it very obvious. If you sell products, want people to sign-up for your e-book or whatever you do, that end-user visiting your site needs to know what to do or he/she will look around and surf away…

You have 3 things to do here, get to know Andrea, what she does and hire one of her services. If you want to discuss things contact her, and when you go to the contact page, she tells you that the best way to do so is email. Don’t be afraid to be upfront and informal, this is not a financial document.

Brand Consistency

Andrea It has always been there. It’s very tempting to change your Facebook profile pictures every 2 weeks because you get bored, people should remember your face and when they visit another network, know it’s you…

You should be recognizable everywhere I go, from one network to another, if a person goes from your site to your Twitter. Sometimes I don’t even know if I’m still with the same person.

When I did the photo shoot (I admire and respect photographers and in no way I intend to consider myself one) I took different variations thinking of the future, I have pictures in different places and wearing different stuff so I can spice things up a little from time to time without going too far from the brand.

Spreading Awesomeness and getting some traffic back to the site

As I mentioned on my previous post 5 Social Tools To Help You Spread Your Awesomeness Outside Your Site, it is important to come out and play, spread you content out there and bring some traffic back to your site. Hold on! while you might be tempted to go to as many places as possible, most of those efforts are going to be wasted, first, analyze your traffic, test a few places and compare results, then do it again. This a test, test, test game…

Andrea's Twitter

After trying different things, Andrea now focuses on Facebook, Twitter, Digg (I’m writing a post about it…), a little StumbleUpon and then making direct connections with people offline. Is it time to stop to testing? Of course not, you’re always testing, even if everything is running smoothly. I just started a Flickr profile… let’s see what happens.

Technology makes a better user experience (and makes you look good…)

disqus I added a couple of things to create a better experience for the visitor:

  • We implemented the Disqus commenting system which takes the conversation to whole new level, now the site has Facebook Connect or you can also comment as a guest only.
  • I integrated LinkWithin that recommends related posts within the site and it helps you increase readership, average time on site and lower your bounce rate.
  • The site is now running on Thesis Framework 1.6, only the most robust WordPress theme available.
  • I added the blog to NetworkedBlogs and integarted the application to the Facebook Fan Page and now you can see the blog feed in one of the tabs. Of course her Twitter feed was there already.

networkedblogs

To recap what I did for this t{n}e makeover…

  • Design (including all graphics and layout).
  • I took the photos.
  • Site development.
  • Created and deployed the personal brand.
  • Created all social media accounts, profiles, channels, etc.
  • Analytics and all that stuff in the back-end that you don’t get to see.

The Key: Partnership

This whole process is a co-creation, when you have a very clear concept of your business core values, it is very easy to communicate, to lead and to build something that really represents you. In this case, that is exactly what Andrea does and it is clearly translated into the site. This makes the whole thing easier on my side. I have to admit that sometimes she sees things that I don’t but then again… creative development is her middle name!

So feel free to make comments or suggestions… this is not over yet.