In the salon business, photo images are important for marketing, a customer resource, and a general catalog of what you have done over the years. We have photos in our gallery as old as 11 years, and as recent as yesterday.
We are able to manage all of them very easily using the photo-specific tools Flickr and 22slides.com. By manage, I mean we take them and upload them. Our photos are then able to be viewed on a desktop, tablet, or smart phone. We have come to realize, by utilizing Google Analytics, that almost 50% of our website traffic is from smart phones. So, the fact that our customers and potential customers are able to easily view our gallery on their phones is huge.
At our salon, we use 22slides.com to manage our photo gallery. Here's how we do it.
Go to Flickr.com and set up a premium account. The current cost is $6.95 per quarter (less than $2 per month). Once your Flickr account is set up you can begin uploading your photos. You have unlimited uploads with a Flickr premium account. Next, go to 22slides.com and set up your account with them. The current monthly cost of a 22slides.com account is $10.00. After setting up these two accounts, go to the add-on page at 22slides.com and coordinate your Flickr account to your 22slides.com account. Now, whenever you upload a photo to Flickr, it automatically and immediately shows up in your gallery on your web page. It really is that simple. You also want to enable mobile optimization on the add on page in 22slides.com. Then, your photos will be optimized to whatever device your customer/potential customer is viewing them on....which is very important.
Some other benefits and things to consider:
You can build your entire website at 22slides.com. It's very easy to do. We just elect to use it for the photo gallery. You can connect your Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even your Dropbox account to immediately update to your website. For example, when we post a photo to Instagram it shows up on our Instagram account as well as our website automatically and immediately (you can view our Instagram page here). You can also block people from downloading your photos for their own personal use if you would like. One other feature that is great with 22slides.com is the ability for you to easily put in your Google Analytics code into every webpage.
As you acquire more photos, it's probably a good idea to organize them into sets on Flickr, but it's not necessary. Also, you can easily add descriptions and tags to improve your Search Engine Optimization, but it is not necessary.
Your website is very important to your image. Photos are the easiest way to keep it updated and current. At our salon we consistently get positive feedback from new customers(and existing ones) who see our photos online, and tell us that is why they decided to give us a try. Why not spend 10 to 15 minutes per week to get more customers?
Jeff Demaree has owned award winning hair salon WiP downtown with his wife Kimberly in Indianapolis for the past 11 years. He also is the host of the Salon Business Podcast, which helps hairdressers and salon owners grow their business with insightful interviews from salon industry experts.