This site showcases the (mostly) digital work of Andrew DiFiore from both Virtual Arts Studios and answerYES Interactive as well as random thoughts and experimental projects too volatile to be contained anywhere else.

 
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    If your web presence has become so out-dated that you rather say you don’t have a website then it might be time to call a professional. And if you’re going to call a professional, you might as well call the best (I don’t recommend waiting this long though). Such was the case with CONNECT Computer, an IT company based in Fairfield County that provides comprehensive network solutions, application hosting, and disaster recovery and business continuity.

    answerYES redesigned the entire website under the Umbraco open-source ASP.Net CMS with search-friendly site architecture and copy. We added new client-centric features like Live Chat and Citrix Assist for remote assistance. We setup CONNECT on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, and provided on-site training to their sales team.

    In addition, CONNECT has retained answerYES for ongoing SEO, link building, and content development. We manage the company’s editorial calendar which includes social media updates and a monthly newsletter. Within the first 30 days of launch the new website generated over 1,000 unique visits. It consistently earns top-page ranking on Google for target keywords within the company’s local market. And this is just the beginning.

    It was already October when the owners of Greenwich Pool Service approached us with the idea to sell kiln dried firewood strictly through the Web as a means to offset their Summer business. Fortunately, it has been a warm start to autumn and because their target market for firewood was the same as for pool services, coming late to the game had little or no impact. Still, we had to design a logo and build an ecommerce website in record time (we opted to use Google Checkout for the ecommerce). Within two weeks Fire It Up Firewood was online and open for business!

    To help spread the word, we did an email and a direct mail invitation to the company’s existing customers as well as an ongoing Google AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign that has already yielded high conversion rates. In addition, our smart approach to organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has placed Fire It Up Firewood at the top of search engine results pages for highly coveted key phrases like kiln dried firewood and firewood delivery within a week of launch. Needless to say, we hit this one out of the park and our client was pretty impressed. We aim to impress.

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    I recently launched the ecommerce site for start-up cookie company StaceyLu Confections based out of Weston, CT. They specialize in custom-made cookies for corporate and private events. I was hired to do logo design, website design and development (used osCommerce as the ecommerce platform), and to design a newsletter template for Constant Contact.

    In addition to the server-side stats I also enabled Google Analytics (you can never have too many metrics when it comes to tracking your return on investment). Along with this came server-side search engine optimization (SEO) which includes something relatively new, submitting XML sitemaps to Google (and others). I used the free sitemap generator XML-Sitemaps.com for StaceyLu (for small shops the free version is more than adequate). The site has been live for a few weeks now so go buy a cookie already.

    Aside: when asked to do the newsletter design I decided to take the plunge and learn the special Constant Contact mark-up language for creating email templates. Already familiar with XML I didn’t have any problem getting up to speed and creating the first newsletter using my new StaceyLu template. Ahh, but here’s the rub, Constant Contact does NOT allow you to keep your custom template on their server so it would be available the next time around. To do this, you have to pay them $600! Given I did all the work, this felt like a crude bait and switch. A workaround is to upload the template code each time you compose a newsletter but this is not a practical thing to ask a client to do (who was taking over the task).┬áNeedless to say, I was a bit peeved. I ended up redoing the newsletter using one of Constant Contact’s built-in templates (not nearly as chic). Going to use MailChimp next time!

    {Ed. Note 12/19/06: I was interviewed by The Hour (Norwalk, CT) about my viral marketing campaigns and the StaceyLu website was pictured along with the article. Free publicity for StaceyLu but honestly not sure why the paper grabbed that picture, it has nothing to do with viral marketing. }

    {Ed. Note 3/30/10: StaceyLu is no longer a cookie company. The site is being converted into a blog about “personal growth” or something like that. It has been many years, often are the whims of start-up entrepreneurs. Still, it was interesting work at the time. }

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