by Manny Hondroulis
In previous columns, I have stressed the importance of visual aids beyond
text and an occasional picture within your website. In fact, I once wrote
about how to use a video repository such as YouTube to communicate your
products and services (see page 8 in the November-December 2009 issue
of Window Film magazine). There is nothing more powerful than a visual
to describe how window film looks after its installation. And there is
no better way to portray that than to have a photo repository that is
easy to navigate and updated regularly.
Step by Step
Every window film website should have a photo gallery—one that is easy
to navigate and updated on a continuous basis. But not all window film
dealers have the HTML experience necessary to update the gallery pages
on their websites. Canned solutions such as Coppermine and Gallery are
free with hosting packages through GoDaddy and other online providers.
They install with one click of the mouse in your hosting control panel
and are easy to configure. I’ve also discovered a new solution, one that
is even easier to set up, update, and makes it easy for visitors to share
window film photos.
Flickr, a photo gallery and sharing service provided by Yahoo! is an inexpensive
(free in many cases) photo repository that you can set up in a matter
of minutes. Just visit www.flickr.com,
sign up for the service and start uploading.
After you sign up, the first step is to create a collection. Collections
can be different categories of installations such as automotive, residential,
commercial, government and decorative. Then begin uploading your pictures
and assign them to the appropriate collection. If you have multiple photos
of the same installation or project, you can create what’s called a “set”
named after the installation/project that is contained within the appropriate
collection. For example, if you upload multiple photos of an installation
at The White House, the collection would be titled “Government” and the
set would be titled “The White House.” (Remember to obtain permission
from end-users when uploading pictures and assigning photo credits.)
When you upload a photo you will have the option of tagging it with relevant
keywords. Relevant keywords include your company name, URL, telephone
number, service area, the name of the project (if you have permission
to reference it), the type of window film, and the reason it was installed.
Tagging the photo will give users the luxury of finding the photos that
matter to them by typing certain keywords into the Flickr search box.
For example, a visitor looking to have his Cadillac Escalade tinted may
want to search your photo gallery for installation photos of other Escalades.
Rather than thumbing through all of your photos one by one, he can simply
type “Escalade” in the Flickr search box and find those photos that apply.
The idea is that you have so many photos uploaded to Flickr that finding
the relevant photo can be accomplished only through an effective search
or thoughtful navigation.
such as Flickr (or Google’s Picasa) enable window film dealers without
HTML experience to create a dynamic photo gallery that can be used to
products and services. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.”
One of the best features of Flickr is that photos can be shared. By this
I mean that with a click of a button, a user can send a photo to the desired
recipient. For example, let’s say you are trying to convince a homeowner
who is unsure about window film to make a purchase. You can simply travel
to your Flickr gallery, navigate to a beautiful residential installation
photo that demonstrates the film you are promoting, click “Share,” type
in the recipient’s email address and a copy of that photo will be sent
to your prospect; you could also add a personal message to accompany the
When you configure your Flickr photo gallery, you will be prompted to
give it an alias, which will make it easy for customers to find on online.
One suggestion for this is to use your domain name as the alias. For example,
if your domain name is www.abcwindowtinting.com, then use abcwindowtinting
as the Flickr alias. The link for your photo gallery will then be www.flickr.com/abcwindowtinting.
On your website, create a link direct to your Flickr gallery so it is
accessible from your website.
Solutions such as Flickr (or Google’s Picasa) enable window film dealers
without HTML experience to create a dynamic photo gallery that can be
used to showcase their products and services. After all, a picture is
worth a thousand words.
Manny Hondroulis is marketing manager for Energy Products Distribution
in Baltimore. Mr. Hondroulis’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily
those of this magazine. If you have questions, e-mail Manny at email@example.com.
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