Get the most out of your WinCustomize submissions
On one of the episodes of the WinCustomize SkinCast, we touched on how some of us look for skins to feature, and gave some tips on getting featured and getting more downloads. This is especially useful for new users who have just started skinning, or are considering picking it up. I wanted to put some of these tips into a guide, and also offer some suggestions and guidelines for when you do upload a skin to WinCustomize.
- Previews. Make sure to have a preview of at least 1024x768 for submissions such as wallpapers, .dreams. logons, etc. Smaller previews can be made for items like CursorFX themes, Icons, etc., but be sure that you do include a preview with the upload, or otherwise it will be rejected. When doing a preview of your skin, there really isn’t a set way to design them, but keep a few things in mind.
- Make sure the preview matches what the skin really looks like.
- Just don’t take a quick screenshot. The preview itself is the first thing people will see about your skin, so you want it to make a great first impression. Take some time and design a preview that really shows off the skin.
- Files. If you need to upload a pack or something that contains more than one element, you have to use the .zip format, no .rar.
- Clear Description. Too many skins get uploaded that have little or no description. A good tip is to give as much relevant information as possible about your submission. Does your wallpaper have multiple resolutions? Is the skin compatible with both XP and Vista? Are there color variations? Let people know what they are downloading.
- Rips. This is a particularly sensitive area, but I wanted to emphasize that not everyone knows the rules about this, so today we can make this clear. Ripping (or Rips) is basically taking someone else’s work and distributing it without the authors permission. If you upload something to WinCustomize it must be your own work, or you must have the written permission from the original author included. This includes any type of modification to someone’s work as well. If you are also wanting to create and upload a matching skin based off another persons work, you still need to have their permission included.
- Test the Skin. Before you upload, you might also want to consider having friends or other members of the community give your skin a test to make sure there are no issues. The forums on WinCustomize are a great place to ask for assistance and even more tips.
- Use Sub-Styles and .Zips. This is particularly true for WindowBlinds skins, wallpapers, and logons, but can apply to pretty much any skin or theme. If you have multiple variations of a skin, for example, a WindowBlinds skin that has several different colors. These need to either be included as sub-styles or multiple files in a .zip. If it’s a wallpaper that has several resolutions, those would also need to be included in a single pack.
Tips for Getting Featured
- Good Previews. The preview tips above are very important for this. If your preview doesn’t show off your skin well, there’s less of a chance of someone actually downloading it to see that it is a perfect skin to feature.
- Promote Yourself. Every member of WinCustomize can have their own personal page with their own personal domain. For instance, mine is islanddog.wincustomize.com. As you see on my page, my Skins Gallery is listed, along with a guestbook where other members can leave comments, there is a photo gallery I can upload images to, and more. You can include your personal URL in forums signatures, e-mail signatures, and anything else to get people to come visit your gallery.
- Recommend a Skin. If you see a skin you like, or you think yours is good enough to be featured in various articles, drop myself or a site moderator a PM. We always welcome feedback from the community.