My Blog, vlog and random thoughts

Articles, Videos and Thoughts from Kevin Smith

5 things I have learned from marketing in a drop ship model

There are pros and cons to having a drop ship business or any business for that matter. Yet, this article is not a drop ship bashing piece, nor a pro affiliate marketing gusher. I will only be discussing a few key marketing tactics that I used to build a brand and sell more drop shipped products. For the last 2 years I have been the sole marketer for a large drop-ship e-commerce store and I have learned a few key things along the way. At any time there are between 30,000 and 40,000 products in our religious store. Even though these products are all related through a certain faith, it is my opinion that it is way too many products to properly give great customer service. This leads me into the first point: Know your product and provide great customer service. The store sells anything from statues to rosaries to communion dresses. It takes a special individual to understand the unique benefits of each product without even seeing them in person. Over the past 2 years we ramped up the amount of products we would order to get a hands on experience with the product and learn everything there is to know about them. This not only helped the customer service department, but also was very helpful in marketing them through email, social and in creating killer product descriptions. Find where your customers hang out This really goes without saying in any business. Our target market is a woman that is between 45 and 65. Let me tell you one thing, she is not on Instagram, snapchat or KIK!...

4 Days North of June

This video was shot on an iPhone5 and edited on the same phone! Just a family video commemorating the 4th of July weekend at Lake...

Lee Brothers Cup in Greensboro North Carolina

This was my daughter’s first tournament in Tae Kwon Do. I love what the Lee Brothers do for Tae Kwon Do in North Carolina! The events they hold and organize are always top notch. I wanted to show a little bit of it in this fun video. Shot with and iPhone and edited with Final Cut...

My Version of an Ice Bucket Challenge Video

Nominated by Brian Hnat. Challenging Rafael Asencio and Kevin Evans. Do you have what it takes? #strikeoutals Whenever it comes to a little bit of video fun, I tend to take it farther than you really need to go. In this video, I used my iPhone 6 and a GoPro camera to do the filming. I used Final Cut Pro to edit the video and sourced a bit of music… hopefully Vanilla Ice isn’t too upset! I am pretty amazed at the quality the GoPro camera puts out in such a small package. It is also super versatile with the cases and accessories you can...

Video & Youtube Channel Management

For the past 16 months, I have had so much fun creating, editing and publishing helpful product reviews, fun, factual & DIY videos for our store. Take a look!...

Wireframing Client Email

This is a wireframe I put together to help our team conceptualize the automation for a client throughout the life of our relationship. We found that keeping our clients in the loop was very time consuming during the production of their website. It would be ideal to receive this report every week during the build of their new website and every month after the site has launched. Keeping the client happy would be far less cost than having to replace the client in our rotation. We also built in a way to up-sell the client on services that they could benefit from after reviewing their analytics. This would be a soft sell and have an option for them to contact their consultant directly without receiving a cold call. Our lawyer clients were very busy and hard to get on the phone at times. Having a quick glance at where they stand in their internet marketing is a great way to save their time and ours as well. One of the pain points for our build team was receiving assets like images, content and approvals from the client. This email also shows the client what we are waiting for from them. Giving them an option to log into our system and upload any of the assets we needed to stay within the time frame promised for the project launch. The emails would continue to remind the client that these important assets are needed or their launch date will be moved back. Ongoing Relationship Building Showing the continued work on A/B testing and value added by staying with our company was...

Shredding With Dexter

Skating with my GSD rescue, Dexter. This is the only way I can get him the exercise he needs. When I run with him, he just walks beside me with disappointment in his...

Why Google Search Causes Designer Migraines

Is it fair for Google to penalize websites for pushing text based content below the fold? In the age of video, fast internet connections and dynamic images, why would Google create an algorithm that punishes certain markets for giving their users what they demand? Or are they really even punishing them? As a designer, it would be nice to know exactly what this algorithm considers content. Can Google Discern Ads from relevant images? Let’s say I own a photography company that has a website showing off my images. When a user searches for a photography studio on the web, they find my site and all they see is small images beside a few paragraphs of text. Do you think they will hire me to shoot their wedding? Photography is usually sold by large, bold and exciting images that captivate the audience. And with only 2.6 seconds to keep their attention, I cannot sell them with blocks of text. To shove text above the fold would only take away from the experience that the user is seeking. And photography is not the only market that uses images to captivate an audience. Do these images count as “ads” or will Google make the distinction and treat my site fairly? “Rather than scrolling down the page past a slew of ads, users want to see content right away.” Although I do not disagree with this quote, I find myself wondering who it applies to. As you can see here, YouTube has a huge block of ads at the top of their homepage. Do you think they will be penalized? Don’t get me...

Stand Up To Work Or Die

You would be amazed at how rewarding it is to work on your computer while standing on your own 2 feet. About 6 months ago, I built a stand up desk in my home office. The idea was first planted in my head as a tiny seed by a co-worker who has truly earned my respect over the years. A few years ago, I visited our main office in Berea, Kentucky for a team wide conference and first laid my eyes on a colleague standing behind his desk in the corner of the room. My first impression was, “What are you thinking!”. I figured that it would be tiring to stand at your desk all day. Later I found out that it is just the opposite. Here is a great info graphic on the detriments of sitting all day. The Benefits Standing up to work allows me to keep moving during the work day. Standing back from my screen to review a design, moving between screens on my desktop, or even just taking a quick walk break to keep fresh. Before I built this desk, I was finding that my back was aching after every 10 hour work day due to the gravitational push on my spine. My posture was pretty much non-existent and was causing problems in other areas of my life. I now have more energy at the end of the day, my posture has vastly improved and I am even more productive in my work. When I stand during video meetings with clients, it gives me a feeling of power and confidence. This even comes across...

Is It A Great Time To Be A Designer

Wow, it is a great time to be a web designer! Why? It is said that a website has a shelf life of 2 years before you need a refresh. If you asked me, I would say that time is more like 1 year. With all the changes in technology, design trends and conversion tactics, you should really keep an eye on your site every week. You should test, re-test and tweak your site to be optimal for conversion, no matter what kind of site you maintain. But in the end, normal people don’t have the means to keep up with such an arduous task. So they hire “designers”. But I design things! I don’t watch the stats, conversion, bounce rates and all that boring stuff. As a designer, why do I need to worry about these things? I just want to make things pretty and drink lattes. If you think like this, you are the definition of a modern day starving artist. Throughout time, artists have created beautiful works of art and reveled in the ideal that they are making the world better just by applying paint to canvas. Singing songs to the trees. Writing poems for lovers. Now I ask, did any of those artists leave a lasting impression on society? Yes, a few did exactly that! But those few knew how to convert! Michelangelo convinced the church that they needed his art to persuade the masses to convert to Christianity. Dali knew that people wanted to break away from reality and find a fantasy world that he could provide. Monet gave subtle beauty to a picture...

The Future Is In Your Pocket

I once had a dream that I would own a phone that allowed me to access my email, read websites, send photos and do all sorts of things that I could only do chained to my desk. Now that Apple has made my dream come true, it is time to dream on. I constantly think about the absolute best way to live and work at home and on the go sans throwing out my back. Working at home has its advantages, but when I need to take it on the road, I have to lug around a HUGE laptop, mouse, cables, iPhone, bag, camera, storage device, etc. etc. Now here is what I want, and I want it now! Think about this. Stick a 1T SD card in my iphone, I would actually have 2, one for back up. Make the operating system a full Snow Leopard or whatever animal is in stock at the time. Allow me to dock this powerhouse into any monitor and the touch screen becomes the trackpad or a mouse. Of course I would have to figure out a solution for the keyboard, but hey what else do they have to do over in Cupertino? Now this awesome piece of craftiness would be my main machine, my phone, my mobile computing device and a little slice of FREAKING WICKEDNESS! I would always be online if needed by way of 8G or whatever network AT&T decided I should be on. I would also have my work with me at all times just in case a needy client was to call me while I was chillin...

Thoughts On CMS

I am a big proponent of using content management systems to build and update your website for several reasons. The biggest reason is the ease of updating your design every year without having to move all of your content every time. The smallest would be convenience in the general maintenance of the site without having to rely on a professional that may be very busy at your time of need. The main CMS that I have become relatively comfortable with is WordPress. I use thematic to design my projects due to the child theme capabilities. This allows me to alter the theme without destroying the main theme code base, which may need to be upgraded at any time during the life of the website. WordPress has a huge developer and plugin base to choose from currently and can be customized to fit your needs from a small sites to large sites. One thing that you must keep in mind is that these developers are not all controlled by WordPress and do not always work together to create a seamless product. I have found that many of the plugins may or may not work with other plugins running or with new updated versions of WordPress. You have to be very careful when adding new functionality into your site as well as when you update to a new version. It is truly best to know a well versed PHP developer to help you sort out some of these issues. If you use WordPress, you need to also be aware of security issues and how to prevent someone from hacking yours or...

Blender 3D Mac Program

I love modeling in 3D. I have always had a skill for understanding 3 dimensional space. Knowing what the other side of the fence should look like. I currently downloaded a great bit of software that is open source for the mac called Blender. Blender is an open source program, but they do accept donations. It seems to be very robust in modeling and also has animation capabilities. Even though it took some time to learn the interface, there are plenty of tutorials up on YouTube. I have included my first model of a disc golf basket here. I modeled this after Innova’s Discatcher Pro basket. I used materials found on the Blender materials website to create the metal and paint effects. If you would like to download my Blender file, click...

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The 411 on Kevin

Father to a wonderful daughter. Husband to a beautiful wife. Designer to any who need excellent quality, on-time production and forward thinking.

I am interested in developing crisp and powerful designs with photoshop, wordpress, video and print mediums.

I currently spend my work hours trying to leave my employer better than they were when I joined the team in 2014.

Curriculum Vitae