How often do you search for something online? How many of your searches end up in the image search tab of Google? If on both of these questions you've answered with "a lot" you are not alone - according to eMarketer 75% of internet users search for visual content before taking a purchase decision! Realising that can help your business A LOT! How? Great visual content can get a whole new traffic channel to your website! A channel full of people who already know what they want and who like your content even before they access your website - how great is that?
Of course, as always, there are some hidden traps on your way. E.g. using many images on your website can slow down your page - I will discuss these in this article as well, so in the end you should have a clear view of what to do and what not to do when optimizing your images - so your website can get the traffic it deserves!
It's always the easiest to learn by looking at an example, so I will use one to discuss the points below. Let's say I'm selling antiques in my e-shop and happen to have a magnifying glass as one of my products. What do I do first to ensure the best experience for my customers and more visits to my webshop? Here's a few tips:
What photo will do the job?
First and foremost you need to make sure that your product image is relevant and clearly shows the product you have to offer. In my case, I want to sell a magnifying glass, so the image I use to promote my product should only be of the particular magnifying glass - try not to add anything to the picture - no decorations, no people in the background. Customers like clear pictures of what they are getting - this way there will be no confusion what it is that you are actually selling.
I should also make sure that the image is clearly visible by not making it too dark or too bright
it has to be of good quality, so no pixelated photos will do
Take time to change your photo's file name, so it won't just consist of long string of numbers and letters that don't mean anything to the users. Keep it simple and on topic. Think of what would you search for if you were the one looking for this product. As for our example I'm going to write: antique-magnifying-glass - so exactly what my photo presents. Remember to use hyphens (-) instead of blank spaces between the words, like in the example.
Instead of: DSC475920.jpg
Similarly to the file name, the alt text should be describing your product, so people looking for similar items will be able to find it among their Google image search. Never forget to use your targeted keyword in the alt description!
Make sure your alt text is not too long, it should on average be around 10-15 words. There's no need to use words like "or", "and", "is" or "the" - focus on the most significant words that describe your product best.
Going back to my example, in the magnifying glass case I would write
alt="antique magnifying glass cheap"/>
To be able to edit alt (alternative) text for your photos, simply click twice on the photo if you're using Shopify, or click on it twice and go to edit if you're using Wordpress. Below you can see an example from Shopify:
File size = loading speed
Always make sure the images you put on your website don't have too big file size, since that can easily affect your pages' loading speed. When a page loads for more than 3 seconds it will make many users resign and find the product they are looking for somewhere else. Loading speed is also one of the rules within Google algorithm used to rank pages. So it can significantly affect your visibility online if your page is too slow.
It's perfect if you can get all your photos to be around 100kb or less. If you need them to be of bigger size, remember that a page's total size should not exceed 2MB. For easy and fast compression you can use one of the many sites available online, such as:
These sites are made to compress your images in a way so they still look clear and are not pixelated but are often more than 50% smaller in size.
Responsive images for mobile
If possible, make your images responsive. According to Statista 50,3% of all the web traffic in 2017 came from mobiles and it's expected to rise up to 52,2% in 2018. So more than half of the total searches come from mobile! That's why it's crucial for your images to be responsive, meaning that they should adjust their size to the dimensions of the screen they are being looked at on.
To share or not to share
Even though it may seem counter-intuitive, making your images easily shareable can be a great thing that can bring your website more visitors. Remember to make sure that everybody can clearly see who posted the image in the first place.
Use your own photos and images
If possible use your own photos and images - it will make your page look more authentic and differentiate it from all the other ones packed with stock photos. If you however don't have the possibility to upload your very own photos, try to at least find websites with more realistic looking stocks - here are my favourite sites with some more fun and unique pictures.
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