Three sites, two weeks, one cohesive look and feel across the board.
Internationally bestselling author Michael Covel hired us to breathe new life into his three business websites: TurtleTrader, Trend Following, and MichaelCovel.com. In order to remain competitive in his industry, he wanted all three sites to launch August 1st — only two weeks after we were to start the project — so we dropped everything and made the seemingly impossible task happen.
One Cohesive Design
The previous sites were all designed at different times and all had different structures, and because of this Covel’s business identities weren’t consistent. Our primary goal when tackling the design of the three sites was to unite all three under one design framework. This was done to both decrease our development/production time, and to ease future site updates now that they were based on the same structural CSS markup.
The new designs were united under a similar site structure, with blocked-out areas designated for specific types of content across all three sites:
To move visitors across all three sites a bit easier, the top part of all three websites was converted into a sitewide navigation for TurtleTrader, Trend Following, and MichaelCovel.com, with “you are here” indicators changing based on
body ID tags and the inherited stylesheet.
To bring some much-needed visual and personal flair to each website, a strong header image was added to separate the two navigation areas, and also for easy site identification that wasn’t present before. Our favorite header amongst the three would be the T-Rex skull on Covel’s personal weblog. Yes, he actually has that in his house. Yes, you can own one too if you follow his trend following trading advice.
Apart from the sitewide navigation that brings you to all three sites, each individual site has its own specific sections and needed its own navigation. We chose a simple tabbed navigation look that was easy to update and maintain, and also worked well across browsers without too much CSS trickery.
New Sitewide Advertisements
The right column of every site now has advertisements — before the ad area wasn’t clearly defined across the previous designs. To compliment the third-party ads, we designed two new internal advertisements that sit on top of the third-party ones to advertise Covel’s book and trend following trading course.
Category & Sub-Navigation
All three of his websites are run with MovableType, so the side column mainly lists categories and date-based archives of all his content. His sites are used to promote his book and courses, so naturally the goal would be to highlight product-specific entries in order to drive traffic.
Before & After
(MichaelCovel.com above, TurtleTrader.com below)
Three different sites in 14 days? We knew it could be done, but we also knew it would take a great deal of our resources to make it happen. While in its own twisted way it was fun to work with this kind of deadline I don’t think we would want to tackle such a task again. Sleeping isn’t overrated, and we figured that out the hard way.
This project wouldn’t have been successful had it not been for our client’s faith in our work, considering the extremely tight (two weeks) deadline from start to finish, and the communication hurdles encountered in those 14 days. A big thanks goes to Michael Covel for bringing us on and sticking with the impossible all the way through the end.
If the timeline was less abbreviated, we could have worked more on simplifying the information architecture of the three sites, but for the time we were given we feel we were pretty successful. With that being said, I don’t recommend anyone trying this at home!