Website Redesign Completed

A little bit ago, I posted that I was working on a redesign of my website. Well, I’m happy to say, it’s completed. What has changed from the older site? Well, quite a bit actually.

For starters, the entire message of the site is different from the previous. The new message is about branding and social media; make your message the moment. This change in message is part-in-partial to the change in career path that I have undergone in the last two years. I’m no longer simply a designer, I have evolved to strategy, marketing and branding. The site’s purpose is to help explain just that; what I am all about, what I am capable of, and what qualifications I have. The site also helps explain how I might be able to help you or your business out. The redesign was to help make information about me and what I do more accessible to the public and potential clients.

Secondly, I needed to incorporate linking, personal and professional linking into my site. This is so you don’t always have to rely on what I give you on one site, but so you can research me, find out what I’m about, other places around the Internet. The linking also helps out with SEO, but I’ll get into that later.

Thirdly, the design needed to change. The mark of elegantbreakdown changed over the course of 2 years and needed to be incorporated into the new site as well as the color palette. The color is a bit intense and in your face, but you have to admit, it certainly does pop and you’ll remember it.

Coming soon, is the redesigned portfolio site to be used in conjunction with this site. The portfolio site will have the same design and aesthetic as this site and include design works that help illustrate how I can assist others visually, not just in strategy. The portfolio site will be up soon.

I had a lot of help with copy and critique on this site from friends and family. I have to give a special shout out to someone I will only refer to as “C” for the spectacular copy.

Hope you enjoy the new site. I hope you gain some sort of meaning of what I’m all about. I hope you don’t beat me up about the pink.

#GoogleBuzz Concerns

Everyone is talking about Google Buzz it seems like. I started to use the service myself today more in depth. I have to say, it’s pretty intuitive. It’s a great way to share information and updates with your friends and other users. However, there are a few things that I’m not 100% on board with.

I’m still working out the kinks in the privacy aspect of Buzz. Yes, I am aware that I can limit the privacy of my posts and such, but what if someone, who is public, starts responding to my post, does that come up in search? Probably not, but I’m still concerned about it. Or, conversely, if my friends wish to remain private, yet they respond to my public post, should that be a concern of theirs or mine? Another piece of privacy that I’m concerned about is search. Yes, my profile is set to private, yet it still can be searched for, along with everything I post, if you’re good at searching. Does my email come up in that search, or my other contact information?

Yes, Buzz is a valuable tool for communicating with your friends and other users whom you share common interest with. However, what is the frequency of posting? How fast should you return comments? Do I share my time with Twitter? Of course, these are questions that will be resolved in the coming months by monitoring the use by users. But, what I see happening is people are anxious to use the service and promote them on it. Which, is good, however, it adds another level of social media, on top of the already saturated market.

Google, during the release of the product, did state that two-way integration isn’t here just yet for Buzz and it may not come at all. However, I do believe in order to make this more useful for the social media crowd and basic consumer usage, you will need the app to communicate both ways with other platforms, specifically Facebook and Twitter. Otherwise, you are limiting growth and functionality of the site.

Let me be clear, I am sold on the whole idea of Google Buzz. I like where Google is taking their social network. However, I’m concerned with certain things that are in place right now and the practice of using it. Like I said before, I’m sure these issues will be addressed very soon and more functionality will be added into it. After all, it was just released a few days ago. I’ll keep using it and see what the trends say. Who knows, maybe I’ll only use Buzz instead of Gmail.

Please Don’t Do That On Twitter

I have been on Twitter for years now. I have made a lot of new friends, connections and networked with many in my industry. Twitter has taught me a lot about how to communicate in social media and helped me get what ever message I wanted out to the world.

Certain Twitter methods can yield great results for you and your brand. However, there are methods that can prove to be detrimental. Methods that annoy users and consequently discourage users from interacting with you and your brand, enable users to stop following you, or in the extreme cases, these detrimental methods could lead to you being reported and shut down.

This is what I’m going to focus on, the detrimental. I will focus on some methods that you should not employ while on Twitter. (Incidentally, these methods make me really annoyed too.)

Blast/Burst Posting:
Blast posting is posting tweets anywhere from every 30 seconds to every 2 minutes. Yes, Twitter is all about real time updating, however, it needs to be done in moderation. If you blast post, it becomes difficult for your followers to read what else is going on in the world from other users. Followers become annoyed and develop a negative perception of you or your brand. Burst posting is similar to blast. Bursting is posting 3-5± tweets within a small time frame (like two minutes or so), then waiting a bit, then doing it again. Followers feel the same about burst posting as they do blast.

This is a no brainer. Do not spam, at all, period. Spam on Twitter usually comes in the form of a user that follows you in the hope you follow them back to read all their advertisement tweets from some sort of API they have developed. Common spam users will offer “how to get more followers,” “check out my pics,” or “how to make money tweeting.” Users on Twitter tend to be ‘seekers’ of information. They seek out the info they want from users that provide it. If they wanted to learn how to make money tweeting, they will follow you, not the other way around.

Typically, the overall vibe on Twitter is a happy one. No one likes it when you put someone down, argue with other users or whatever. People who are negative on Twitter are not completely called out about it, but they do become quarantined from other users. Your Twitter profile is an extension of yourself or your brand. To remain positive in any and all circumstances will result in a positive association of yourself or your brand.

Check Out My Blog:
Another annoying bit of Twitter is when users, who are either added by you or add you themselves, direct message you to check out their blog or website. “Hi, nice to meet you. Check out my site.” I can’t tell you how many people tell me to do that. Again, Twitter users are seekers of information, they will seek the info out if they want to. Especially, when most likely, that information will be in your profile anyway. When you message someone on Twitter, make it as personable as possible. Which leads me to the next annoyance.

Scheduled/Auto Tweets:
Scheduling your tweets can take away a sense of personality to your Twitter profile. I’m not saying that services like Hootsuite are all bad, quite the opposite. What I am saying is, using automatic tweets only for your profile’s tweets becomes detrimental when trying to develop an audience of followers. Followers like the interaction, they hunger for it. It is ok to, at times, use tweet schedulers for relaying informational links and product launches. However, solely using schedulers, auto responders, and auto tweets separates you from your followers and thus the message becomes lost in a sea of information.

Twitter bots, oh man, these are nasty little programs. They vary in their application. Sometimes they show up if you tweet a certain word and they retweet you or send you a direct message. Other times they seek you out based upon your tweets and profile to send you specific messages for their advertisers. These bots become annoying and reflect negatively on anything they tweet about. Let’s say, I tweet about Obama. I will get a retweet about Obama with a link inside it. And let’s say, I get four retweets about that. That becomes annoying and congestive. Also, since they are retweeting me, my followers get annoyed. Again, Twitter is a land of seekers, if they want the info, they’ll find it.

So, there is the list. Yes, most of these annoy me a great deal. But, I’d like to think it’s a good look into what not to do in the Twitter world. Keep this in mind: remain positive, encourage interaction and be personable.

Followers, Following, Tweets – It’s Not Always A Numbers Game

When it comes to Twitter, many users are so focused on either how many people they’re following, or how many people are following them or how many tweets they have. We live in a world of numbers and it can be difficult to separate yourself from trying to get the larger number. Perhaps the number isn’t what’s important, it’s how that number is relative to your account.

We have a desire to be popular. We want more people to listen and care about what we are saying. A higher follower count will make it seem that you have a lot of followers, but are they really following what you have to say? Are they robots/spambots? This is not to say that you don’t ideally want a high number of followers. What I am saying is you have to know WHY you want more followers. What do you want out of Twitter? The number isn’t everything to all users when they look at your profile. It may feel like you are popular, but do you actually communicate with all those followers, or are they just a number.

One client of mine wanted a strong follower/following ratio on their Twitter page. They wanted more followers than who they are following. I can see the reasoning, but in the end, who cares. You will want to follow those who provide the best content and the most engaging relationships. If that is more than who are following you, so be it. Social media is about the sharing of information and the formulation of relationships. You’re sharing information with your followers, why not share the information from them as well? This will help your account build relationships.

Yes, some accounts have five digit numbers of tweets, some only have three digit counts. Quantity is important in tweeting, however nowhere near as important as quality of the tweets. Think of it this way, would you enjoy following someone who tweets about every mundane thing in their life, every minute? Usually you don’t. However, those who tweet valuable information and insight are the ones you can’t take your eye off of. Basically, it’s great to have a high number of tweets, but make them count.

In social media, numbers are valuable, but they’re not the whole story. You need to have the content, value and relationships along with those numbers to build a strong social media presence.