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Goingup Social - Marketing Consultancy On Md2

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#1 Daniel Gamito-Florom

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 10:41 PM

Dear Kolakube Community,

Two years ago my time in the Naval Reserve came to an end and I found myself over-educated, unemployed, and eager. After sitting around for a few months, I started my first company as chef and creative lead with a partner on Long Island. We made gourmet miniature pies, and I built the site on Wix.com; I remember I was so impressed with the shiny buttons, crazy animated Flash graphic effects, and incredibly intuitive user-interface. "Why isn't everybody a web designer?" I asked myself. Anyway, as I was to find out, the mini-pies were better than the site, and that was where I learned my first marketing lesson: the referral (or what Ludacris would call "word of mouf") is a very powerful sales tool. The pies went gangbusters, and my partner and I got exhausted. We were faced with a spork in the road: get a retail location and hire some less-than-legal helpers OR GTFO as soon as possible lest you end up packing mini-blueberry pies by hand for bride-zillas for the rest of your foreseeable youth. We chose the latter, cut our losses, and jetted off to Brazil for six months to do some volunteer work. During my time sipping coconuts and building organic gardens for a small community in southern Brazil, I contemplated the whole psychology of referral business. I started reading a lot, became fascinated with social media and blogging, and then decided to try to teach myself how to build websites and administer social media profiles. Upon our return to the states I decided to seriously pursue this whole "internet marketing" thing, but with a more holistic approach to it (less giant red exclamation marks, more social responsibility). I offered to do some free work for some friends with small/floundering businesses, and my advice not only sounded good, but IT WORKED. I was immediately hooked. That's when I knew I needed to build a business (and a well-optimized, non-Flash website). My quest for a relatively simple transition into the web-design world led me to Thesis (I never questioned building on WordPress), which led me to a lot more reading and experimentation. At one distinct moment, I decided that I needed some help putting all together, and started looking for a solution. When I found Kolakube, I knew immediately that I needn't look further. I read a little bit about Alex, saw that Chris Pearson held him in high-esteem for his work, and knew he was my man.
One download later, I was ripping along on my new company website for a socially-responsible social media management and creative brand promotion company. A few weeks later, here I am, the website is just finished, and I have a few long-term clients, with more (hopefully) on the way.
It was a bit of work, and I have to admit I am about as impressed with myself as I was in my previously naive, Flash-induced hypnotic state.
My only background in web-design is...well none. I went to school for engineering, and ended up using that knowledge to construct tasty wedding desserts. I taught myself how to manipulate raster images on The Gimp, and vector graphics on Inkscape.

I love the Thesis community for just that reason: the people who hang in this crowd are passionate, ballsy, and usually have varied backgrounds that have very little to do with what they are doing now. They are redefining themselves, and looking for a way to get it done, and Thesis gives them a way. Now with Kolakube skins, there is a whole level of functionality that is accessible to those people, and I am deeply impressed with the attention to detail & care that has been put into the construction of these skins, and the sites that are taking advantage of them.
I really look forward to seeing Alex and the Kolakube brand evolve.

As for my rig, any and all comments and suggestions are more than welcome. Thanks Sean for answering some of my noob-ish questions and not making fun of me.

Just goes to show you, you'll always end up where your heart is, if you let it.

Site: GoingUP Social

Regards,

-Dan Gamito

PS Have two full builds contracted for this summer, both of them are already in the works, both of them on MD2
Jack of all trades, master of like...two..I think?

#2 Alex

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 10:07 AM

Wow, what a story. I'm so happy to hear that you really enjoy the skins here. We work hard to deliver the best skins we can, so it means a lot to hear things like that Daniel!

I think the design you created is awesome. It's pretty bold and very unique. I especially love the content and sidebar areas. The only thing that bothers me is that white border on the left side of the post boxes. Was that intentional, or did you do that as a quick fix?
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#3 Daniel Gamito-Florom

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 11:46 AM

Alex,

If you are talking about this:

.custom .teaser {
	 border-left: 15px solid rgba(255, 255, 255, .8);
}

Definitely a quick fix to push the overall background area out to the left a bit, the margin between the edge & the text was too close for visual comfort. I am working primarily on Chrome, and tested in Safari & Firefox. Maybe I am not seeing what you are seeing, everything seems to be aligning with no visible color differences or margin issues. It could be my monitor?
EDIT: It was my monitor. Gamma & contrast are way off, I wasn't seeing MANY things...going to go just white for the background with no texture overlay.

Either way thank you for catching that, and any further advice is appreciated so much.

Look forward to any suggestions,

-Dan
Jack of all trades, master of like...two..I think?

#4 Alex

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 12:42 PM

I would just replace it with:

.custom .teaser { padding-left: 2.2em }

...just so there's not that weird white border and it is all separate from the edge.
- Alex
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#5 Daniel Gamito-Florom

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 01:11 PM

Good plan.

You don't think the texture overlay on the content area & sidebars is too much?
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#6 Alex

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 02:50 PM

That looks way better!

Yeah, I think the overlay on both boxes works great.
- Alex
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#7 relosmot

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Posted 06 July 2012 - 07:44 PM

Hey Dan,

You definitely make me feel like I need to step it up as a human being lol, great story man. It's hilarious that you created your first website with Wix because I did the same thing! Looking back I laugh at myself because of how amazing I thought the flash websites were. I found my way to WordPress and never looked back. Big-ups to Alex for being a Thesis-G and creating the Kolakube skins.

Your site looks great. I love the color combination and your logo is awesome. The social icons in the header are a nice touch as well. For some reason the only thing bothering me is the green buttons. I think they might look better in a different color.

I also like the break-up of your blog layout. The white background of your sidebar meshes really well with your post boxes.

Job well done my friend, keep up the good work!

-Tom
I'm Tom. My Work: Webpage Journey

#8 ngee key

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:26 AM

Hey Dan,

Thanks for sharing with us your interesting story. I always shared with my coaching clients. We only live once, why not make it more meaningful and fulfilling. So congrats on your business venture, I am sure it will be an exciting journey.

I took a look at your site and I was visually impressed by the colors, fonts, blog posts, logo, social media icons and the navigation. You seems to have all the talent to make Alex's skins look even better. Guess I need to work my bums off to improve my website as it is way far behind. Hope to learn a thing or two from you to improve my site.

Well done and keep up your dreams :)

Cheers,
Ngee Key

#9 Daniel Gamito-Florom

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:50 AM

@Tom, I think you are doing just fine my friend. Keep digging deep and shedding all that isn't authentically you, and you'll find your niche sooner than you realize. Thanks for your generous complements, and I will definitely re-assess the green buttons on the site, for the sake of continuity. My initial thought was to slap them on the site as a contrasting color that would send eyes to the links and encourage conversions. I am considering split-testing in the near future with different wording/color combinations. I've yet to check out your site(s) but be sure I will soon.

@Ngee, I appreciate your kindness, and your flattering complements. Coaching eh? I'll definitely have to check out your site too when I get a chance. I saw briefly that you are in Singapore; I had a lot of good times there passing through when I was in the Navy. To this day one of the cleanest cities I have ever been to in my life, and the chili-crabs weren't bad either. About your site in general (haven't seen it yet) don't freak out about aesthetics too much, remember what it is there for: to convert customers! Configuration and ease of use is just as-if not more important.

@Alex, thanks again man.

-Dan
Jack of all trades, master of like...two..I think?

#10 relosmot

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 01:52 AM

Dan,

I agree with you 100% about using a contrasting color combination, I even like the green buttons. I think it's just the shade of green that bothers me. The buttons look good, I just tend to have OCD and it sucks because it can be very counterproductive lol. I think a few shades towards blue/green might mesh/contrast well.

Either way, your site looks great.

-Tom
I'm Tom. My Work: Webpage Journey

#11 Sean Davis

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:16 AM

That's a great story, Daniel. There's something about military service that does one of two things to most people. Either they a) get complacent and just stick with it.... not challenging themselves to do more when the opportunity arises. Or 2) they leave the service and continue to keep a high standard with everything... including life. That usually leads to building business and writing your own future. Glad to be in the same club, my man.

As for the site, just like everyone else, I think it looks outstanding! Everyone has already given the pointers I would have said except for one. And this is really just a matter of opinion but something that I have learned along the way.

I used to think up color schemes for my sites and I would just dive right into them. I'd get generic backgrounds and all that good stuff. But for my color scheme, every link, icon, headline, important text, button, etc. would have to fit the scheme.

What I always ended up with was a 2-3 colored site. For example, your logo is the yellowish color and so are the menu links. Back in the day, I just HAD to have the menu links fit the color scheme because I would fear that people wouldn't realize I even had a color scheme! But then I realized that not every item on the screen had to be my main colors. So I started making the menu links more generic... like black or really dark gray. And I'd give them a hover state to make the color scheme.

What this did was...

1) Keep me from having too many unrelated elements on a given page use the same color... which takes away from the importance each element would have had if it was one of the only few elements with that color. (Think taking notes in a textbook in school and every line on the page gets highlighted. Now, it's all regular text again.)

2) It allowed me guide the visitor through a sequence of events on each page. Starting in the top left with my logo, they wouldn't see my color scheme jump out again until the next action I wanted them to take... like an optin. Take a look at a screenshot of my site. Though the turquoise-ish color is the big part of my scheme... you only see it here for very specific reasons. The logo must have it... get right down to requesting a quote... sign up for my email list... or read more of my articles which will lead you to more strategically used colors.

Notice my menu links are just regular old black... even the far right link wasn't special enough to get the color treatment. It's important so I made it stand out. But it's not important enough to get the main color.

So I guess what I'm saying is that colors have the ability to cry wolf... so you should consider using them sparingly. When people see them, they have to have faith that it's an important item AND you have to quickly tell them what purpose that item serves.

I'm rambling!!! :)
I no longer work for Kolakube! Alex is still my buddy and all is good in the hood. But please don't private message me for help. Thanks. :)

#12 Daniel Gamito-Florom

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:06 PM

@Sean,

Complacency was certainly something that I was slipping into, and something many of my peers simply didn't even know was happening to them. You don't see many military advertisements preaching entrepreneurship as a great exit strategy; instead you see a lot of subservient "you WILL get a GREAT JOB after your service contract ends, people would be STUPID not to hire you!" Just one system to another, and that's why I know battle-hardened NCO's who are now stocking shelves at Best Buy. (I ramble too)

I really like how clean your site is, will seriously consider what you wrote about color theory in regards to page elements. I tend to be liberal with vibrancy, but I think a bit of strategic constraint could be a good idea. Will play around and see what I can come up with, excellent points my friend.
Jack of all trades, master of like...two..I think?

#13 relosmot

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 06:32 PM

Hey man, I'm pretty sure if you activate the javascript library on your homepage the "enter your email" will disappear when you click it. I don't know if you want that or not but I figured I would let you know.
I'm Tom. My Work: Webpage Journey

#14 Seth Waite

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 07:53 PM

I like where you are going with this. I agree with Sean above that often the variety of colors is overwhelming and a bit hard to focus on. I would use 1 or 2 less colors for text, background, etc. Also, the quote you have at the bottom of the sidebar is the most compelling information you have on your homepage. I would definitely put that higher up on the page and lead with that information.





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