Photos are one of the key drivers in boosting sales and conversions of your Shopify e-commerce store. Compelling images convince consumers to purchase merchandise and to browse through other product selections. It is critical for online merchants to present and maintain good images of their products.
The quality of images may affect load time. Photos of bigger file sizes take longer to open and load on Web browsers. This can be frustrating for an online shopper who may be in a hurry to make a purchase or who is excited to go through your product catalogue. This is why entrepreneurs who run an online store must learn and master the skill of image optimization.
What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization refers to the process of compressing an image’s file size without compromising the image’s visual quality. This will reduce loading time on a browser. Files can be compressed into various formats including GIF, JPEG, and PNG. Because compressed files load faster, e-commerce website owners can be sure that their optimized images will attract more potential buyers and will boost sales.
Aside from increasing sales and profits, image optimization also affects an e-commerce site’s rankings in search engines. Image optimization is a criteria considered by search engines in evaluating a website’s value. Thus, the more optimized images you provide on a page, the better you are likely to perform in terms of search rankings.
In addition, it can also drive traffic to your site through image searches. Internet users who search for product images are likely to find your photos. When the images catch their attention, they will most probably be convinced to visit your e-commerce site.
Image optimization is a vital sales strategy that you should not overlook. Here are some important tips to help you maximize the potential of your merchandise images to generate higher sales on Shopify:
Select high-quality images
Image quality refers to an evaluation of how accurately an image represents the actual subject. It is affected by several factors such as brightness, contrast, resolution, and color. The more illustrative of the product an image is, the higher its quality.
Since one of your goals as a merchant, is to build customer loyalty, it is important to maintain the integrity of your product images. This will earn your customers’ trust in your brand and will encourage them to return to your e-store to purchase other items. To do this, you must select only high-quality images that best represent the strongest features of your products.
Use original photos
Make sure to use and post only original, unique photos. Borrowing or stealing photos from other sites to be used on your e-store is absolutely discouraged. This could get you sued for copyright infringement. In addition, it would be tantamount to marketing fraud as you are deceiving your customers as to the appearance and quality of the actual merchandise your store offers. This is an unscrupulous business practice that is detrimental for your brand’s reputation.
Also, be sure to check that other site owners are not using your photos on their websites. Randomly run some image searches to check if your product images appear elsewhere. If they do, then act promptly and address the infringement issue immediately.
Optimize image filenames for SEO
Your image filenames affect your website’s rankings. Online entrepreneurs are encouraged to add a relevant keyword or phrase in the filename of the product image. This will improve the site’s chances of showing up when users enter a keyword in search engines.
It is recommended that your image filenames contain words appropriately descriptive of the product image. To be optimized for SEO, they should also include relevant keywords. If several keywords are used, separate them by using hyphens. Avoid linking or joining the keywords together. It is crucial to use the appropriate keywords to intensify search engine traffic.
Set up intelligent alt tags
Alt attributes or alt tags are alternatives for the images when the browser cannot display them, such as in cases when browsers limit image displays for more efficient load time. Alt tags provide descriptive information about the image.
Using the appropriate alt tags contribute considerable SEO value to your website. As keywords are associated with images, incorporating a keyword into an alt tag will increase the probability that your merchandise products will show up in image searches results on Google.
Alt tags should contain a combination of relevant keywords and descriptive words that pertain to the product image. They should not exceed 150 characters, as suggested in this article.
It is strongly suggested that you use an alt tag for every product image on your website. This may be time consuming especially when you have to review large catalogue selections and several webpages. You can be sure though that your efforts will pay off because this will considerably improve your e-commerce site’s SEO value.
However, be sure not use alt tags for decorative images. Doing this will be construed as over-optimization for which Google prescribes certain sanctions.
Decorative images are those that have no relevance to the merchandise but are made part of the website for presentation and aesthetic purposes. These images may include background photos, buttons, borders, and other design elements. As these do not affect your products or your SEO value, there is no need to add alt tags on these images.
Use title tags
Title tags or “title elements,” as they are technically called, describe the title of a document. They are similar to alt tags but they are employed to describe to a link rather than an image.
Title tags are intended to provide short yet accurate descriptions of the content of a particular webpage. They are used by search engines to display brief previews of a given webpage.
When composing a title tag, be sure to use your main keyword and consider the visitor’s interest. Because title tags are brief, the words used must be able to arrest the visitor’s attention. Crafting it in this manner, will drive increased click rates.
Google only displays the initial 50-60 words so be sure to keep your title tags within this range to ensure they are displayed fully,
Title tags are critical to the SEO value of a website. Hence, like alt tags, they should be written intelligently.
Reduce file sizes without compromising image quality
It is important to compress files properly. This will ensure that although your images will load faster, they will still display a visually appealing quality. File sizes that are too small will present low-quality photos and this will negatively impact your conversions.
In e-commerce, it is recommended that your image file size does not exceed 70kb. For Shopify, the suggested dimensions are 1024 x 1024 at 72 dots per inch resolution (dpi) but the platform is known to support product images of dimensions up to 2048 x 2048, as reported in an article.
The most convenient way to resize images is to use Adobe Photoshop’s “Save for Web” command. You can adjust the image to the lowest file size but make sure to test the image quality before you decide to upload the photo on your site.
If you don’t have this software installed, you have the option to use their online editing application which is available at photoshop.com. You can also use other online image editing tools such as Pixlr, FotoFlexer, Fotor, LunaPic, and similar tools.
Use the appropriate file type
As mentioned earlier, there are three common file formats: JPEG, GIF, and PNG. However, these formats should be used at the appropriate situations as each type affects the image differently.
JPEG is an old file type and is the format most commonly resorted to. It compresses images relatively well as it doesn’t cause significant alteration of image quality though it effectively reduces file sizes.
GIF presents images of lower quality as compared to JPEG. This format is ideal for icons, animations, and decorative images. GIF doesn’t translate complex images of varied colors as well as JPEG. As such, its use should be reserved for simple images.
PNG images are popular alternatives to GIFs because the PNG format supports more colors than GIF. The drawback is that PNG file sizes are bigger than JPEGs.
Overall, JPEG is the best choice for photos because it provides the best quality from among the three formats and supplies the smallest file size.
Provide different size versions of a photo
To enhance the shopper’s browsing experience, you can provide both large and small versions of a single product image.
This doesn’t mean you can shrink the image dimensions through the source code or further reduce the file size. It means you should ideally provide two files of the same image but with different sizes or dimensions. Use the smaller-sized photo to be displayed on the webpage but provide a larger-sized version that the user can click on at his option.
You can also use this strategy through pop-ups. Be careful not to use the larger image on the webpage itself as this will slow down loading time. In addition, make sure not to use the same file name or alt tags for both files.
Allow users to zoom in the image
For some merchandise, detailed close-ups are significant. This applies to products where fabric, patterns, or manufacturing details are important criteria for a consumer to consider a purchase. For instance, your customer would want to verify if a particular handbag on your inventory contains the legitimate label it purports to have been manufactured by.
Thus, it is important to integrate the zoom-in functionality. You can provide an option for a “click-to-zoom” or incorporate a mouse over. Of course, you have the option to take several close-up shots and post them separately.
Post product images taken at different angles
Buyers want to see photos of a product taken from various angles. Since they cannot tangible touch the product, they want to be able to imagine the actual merchandise based on the photos you provide.
For instance, in the earlier example of the handbag, online shoppers would be interested to check the front view for design details. They might also be interested to know if the handbag includes a back zipper or if the interior provides several inner compartments.
Consider your customer’s needs and provide various views of the handbag: frontal, back, and interior. Showing images taken from several angles assists the consumer in making a decision to purchase the merchandise.
These are just some of the practical tips to increase the traffic and sales of your Shopify e-commerce site. When you’re done renovating your website to reflect these changes, make sure to verify the effectiveness of your modifications with a couple of e-commerce testing software or split testing techniques to evaluate the overall effect.
As e-commerce trends are constantly moving and changing to cope with market demands and to accommodate the conceivable necessities of consumers, digital stores must likewise ensure that they can keep up with the growing progress of the online business. Upgrade your Shopify store now, and don’t get left behind!