andrealoft

Welcome to the new version of The{Naked}Elephant. The process so far has been very exciting. The improvements, the growing, the learning, the mistakes… all of it. Now that we have gone through all this transformation I thought it would be cool to share what’s behind it and make you part of the whole thing, after all, this is about sharing, right?

There are a few concepts behind the reasons to make such a dramatic change. The other thing I should say is that if you think this is it, you’re wrong. I’m permanently wearing my learning hat, stuff changes so fast out there and… I’m not afraid to make mistakes.

So here are the points behind my elephant’s transformation:

Don’t sit on your idea for too long

The way businesses are built has changed forever so if you still thinking the old fashion way, you need to get up to date. After decades of hearing that the most important tool in a company is the business plan, turns out that today business plans are for suckers. By the time you finish collecting all the facts for your plan, people out there launched your same idea in half the time.

It is very clear to me that if I keep working on improving and perfecting that idea, I would probably fall into a never-ending process, so I’m not afraid to go out there even if I don’t feel 100%. I will get the rest as I go. Put together a solid BASIC idea, make it look good enough and… rock ‘n roll. If you are going to fail, don’t fail after 8 months of building your plan and losing your shirt, fail after a month of testing your idea.

Test. Test. Test.

The Crowdsourcing concept

If you’re not familiar with the term, it has become one of the most popular segments of social media and it is based on not only listening to your client but also giving that client the power to suggest, ask or complaint about a product or service in public. Just a few years ago, this was unthinkable and now companies are even taking and implementing consumer ideas. We even have platforms like GetSatisfaction that turned this concept into a social media thing by putting on your face… but what I want to talk about here is the concept.

I listen to friends, colleagues, clients my grandma and complete strangers. I listen to the beautiful stuff a lot of people say and it makes feel awesome, but I also need to listen to the not so positive stuff that is still nicely delivered, because that where the most change is going to come from. In fact, I don’t even wait, I ask for it.

And that gives me the tools to tweak and fine tune my work.

Analytics are no pretty charts…

Sometimes we try to ignore them or we don’t even bother learning what they mean. They’re not complicated, spend some time to learn the basics (I’m not saying you should become an expert…) and tweak your site little by little. But again, let’s take the concept, you need to collect some kind of data to then compare. How else are you going to know what is giving you better results.

Looking at how many visits you got in the month is nice, but when I started paying attention to things like the bounce rate, average time on site and the traffic sources, I started realizing a few things, then just apply your common sense… when I added video the average time on site increased dramatically, the pages with more text are making people leave the site, etc.

You can’t take this kind of advice from anybody, this is stuff you need to understand. Test new stuff, make mistakes, change again, observe the results again. Keep testing.

Simplify your messages

Sometimes anxiety makes me throw all the meat on the grill (it sounds beautiful in Spanish…). Get rid of the clutter, it confuses your visitor. It’s like the uncomfortable silence, if there is an empty space in the site we immediately feel the need to fill it up with info. I cleaned a lot and what I’m trying this time is giving my visitor 3 things to do on my site, get to know me better, know what I do and hire me. Of course this is a blog, so anything else I have to say will be delivered as posts.

If I deliver my messages straight out and I get rid of the filling, the whole experience will be more satisfying and more relaxed. We also cleaned the busy sidebars and relocated everything on the footer…

A little makeover to the technology department

Disqus Comment System, LinkWithin providing visual post recommendations, Facebook Connect…

Why? Because technology gives you more connectivity, it simplifies things, it lets you manage conversations better, it provides your visitor with great overall experience and because it makes you look good. The same way we implement new technologies in any business, but we need to be careful not complicate the lives of our clients, employees or vendors. Technology can be tricky sometimes.

So those are the concepts behind all these changes. My anxiety cooled off with time and experience and here is my new blog, much more relaxed but still growing.

Obviously thanks to SocialMouths and Francisco, who’s always telling me “If you want to learn anything, you need to be a little patient”, it’s just his way of saying “shut up and listen…”

Share your thoughts in the comments.