| Some of my most popular articles are about Flash ecards and ecard websites. Many photographers, artists and animators would like to use an ecard program to allow site visitors to send ecards from their site. Of course, the ecards are made from their own photos, art and animation. What better way to advertise your talents than by giving away some free samples and allowing your friends to pass them on to their friends. |
If you search the web for ecard software, you will find a only a few. Some are free and some cost in the hundreds. However, the one I like is WebCards. For a reasonably low price, $50 USD at this time, you get the software and 6 months of unlimited updates and email/forum support, which is very good.
The installation process is basically automatic. You need to create a database and put the database specs in the config file. After that, the installation wizard does the rest. The most important feature for me is a template based system with a simple, bare bones default template. Most of my clients want their ecard system to blend with the rest of their site. As you can see, the default template can be easily customized to match an existing site.
The software has some nice features such as search engine friendly urls and Facebook login integration. The Admin area, called the Dashboard, is where you will manage the features of the program such as user memberships, search cloud keywords and the event manager/calendar. You will also upload your ecard images or FlashR swfs from this control panel. I especially like the fact that you can link to images and swfs stored outside the system. This omits the need to have several copies of your artwork stored on your site, such as one in a gallery and one for an ecard. When you create an ecard, you can link the to the image in the gallery. For your ecard jpg images the program will automatically create thumbnails. If you are using jpg images instead of Flash swf for your ecards, you can offer extras such as audio files, emoticons and poems. Of course, your users can upload personal images to add to the ecards.
The system supports multiple categories and subcategories and the address book can import contacts from GoogleTM, YahooR and LiveTM. You have the option to allow users to send free ecards or you can charge a membership fee. You can even set a price for individual ecards.
In the next few tutorials, we will install and setup the WebCards software.
WebCards Ecard Software
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WebCards screenshots used by permission.