When selling on Shopify, a quality image sells better than any kind of text or product name. Without a quality visual, the Shopify account will struggle to bring in potential customers. No matter the products for sale or how many images are being used, these are five image optimization tips every storefront needs to take advantage of.
1) Name The Images
When initially taking a snapshot of a product, the saved file generally has a barrage of random numbers and letters. While this might help the computer or camera organize the files sequentially, it does nothing for the actual optimization of the picture when uploading it to an online shopping service such as Shopify.
Shopify, like other online searches, offers visuals within the search field. These visual searches are based on keywords, just like any other search. If an uploaded picture is a string of randomized numbers and letters it isn’t going to appear during the search. However, if the file itself is saved with a keyword based title and then titled appropriately when uploading to Shopify, it ensures the visual will also appear during a Shopify search.
Unlike descriptions and included bullet points within a product’s description, an image title allows for only one longtail keyword. Due to this, it is necessary to focus on the most description longtail keyword and to use it as the image title. The image title needs to be physically changed to this on the computer prior to uploading it to the website, otherwise, it will still maintain the original odd collection of numbers and letters. Of course, when using multiple images, each image can have a different longtail keyword, to make sure all the valuable keywords are used within the images.
Beyond Shopify searches, titling the visual helps with the picture appearing during regular search engine searches. This means it will appear during a Google, Bing, Yahoo or any other visual search. So instead of just popping up on Shopify, it will help bring in external customers who are not even on the Shopify market. The more ways an online store can increase its foot traffic and client base.
2) File Type
Shopify accepts three general file formats when it comes to pictures: PNG, JPEG, and GIF. Most cameras save visuals in JPEG format, but it is easy enough to convert one to another when using an image editing software (such as Photoshop). So which is best to use? It all comes down to file size and visual quality.
In general, JPEG files consist of a smaller file size while maintaining the highest picture quality. With simple photo editing software, it’s possible to alter and adjust the overall resolution in order to better fit the file size need (which will be covered later on). JPEGS contain more color information than the other two formats, so if a product consists of many different colors, it’s generally best to go with JPEG. However, there are times and a place to consider the other two formats.
According to ImageKit (2016), JPEG is the ideal file format whenever using a photograph with a variety of color or a natural scene. This includes any kind of outdoor photography, pictures of products with more than one color, or anything that isn’t black and white. PNG, on the other hand, is a solid choice when the visual has a translucent background and includes texts. This might be a logo or an image with contrasting edges against the text. PNG files present this information the best. As for GIF, in general, GIF is not a file format you are going to use for Shopify. It is an animation-based format that will string together a handful of lower resolution images in order to make a video-like animation. GIF animations have become popular on social media platforms due to the smaller file format. With regards to Shopify though, JPEG and PNG are the desired visuals.
3) Alt Tags
When setting up images on Shopify there is a host of information options available. One of these optional information inputs is the alt tag. Many Shopify owners skip out on filling this information in, as it is perceived as unnecessary. That, however, is not the case and all images need the alter tags (also known as alt attributes) need including.
There are a few reasons as to why these alt tags need including. First, there are times where the pictures will not load for a website visitor. This, in all likelihood, has nothing to do with the storefront owner. Realistically, it has more to do with the user’s Internet browser not up to date. Whatever the reason, if the visuals do not load the website will instead list the alt tags. Alt tags describe the image. So if someone is unable to see the pictures they will instead see the visual descriptive information.
Google and other search engines use alt tags when ranking pictures. This can help with search engine optimization, which in turn helps boost the amount of traffic coming in from outside Shopify.
How long should this content be? According to Shopify Nation, the best alt tags include at least 125 characters. It is a physical description of what the picture is of. In other words, a storefront owner should type out a description as if they were attempting to describe the product to someone who couldn’t see it. Including keywords into the alt tags is possible, although like creating the product copy it is best to not overuse these keywords.
4) Shrink Down Picture Size
A speedy load time is a must. The longer it takes a website to load the greater the likelihood of a visitor backing out of the page and heading over to the competition. One of the biggest errors Shopify storefront owners carry out is using the original picture file without editing it. Digital camera files can range from a few megabytes to a few gigabytes, both of which are far too big. In fact, it is best to shrink the file size down to about 70 kb.
A photo editing software is necessary to shrink down the visual size. However, there are a handful of different programs that are available and can help you out with this Photoshop is the widest used, but other programs such as Microsoft Paint, Web Resizer, Pic Resizer and Resize Pic are all available options as well.
When a quality editing software is needed but the price tag is too high, Adobe Photoshop Elements is an option as there are some file size editing options. When using a program such as this, entering into “Save for Web” brings up a host of file size editing options. In order to accomplish a smaller file size, the visual should be saved as a JPEG, with an embedded color profile and optimized. The visual quality should also be set down to around 60 (out of 100). The reduction in visual quality and the other changes will not noticeably change the content. However, it will help drastically cut down on the file size. This will help the product listing load faster, whether the shopper clicks on the image itself or on the listing.
5) Include Social Signals
When setting up a page with Shopify there are a handful of different available features a site owner needs to take advantage of. One of these features is the social signals option. There might be times where someone visiting a page really likes a product, but they are either not ready to buy or they want to show the product to someone else. Relying on a customer to copy and paste the URL is not desirable, especially if the customer is visiting the page from their mobile phone. This is where the social share feature comes in.
The social share buttons allow a customer to instantly share the images of a product to sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest. Offering social share buttons for visual-based platforms, including Pinterest and Instagram is a must, as these will receive the most shares. It is also important for the shop owner to have their own profile pages with these social media sites. When a visual is shared someone else who sees the visual for the first time might want to connect with the shop owner without directly asking the person who shared the visual. When the store owner has their own social media page, it becomes that much easier to directly connect with them, which helps boost sales. The social share is an instant advertising feature every single time someone takes advantage of it. Not using the social share buttons on a Shopify page is like turning down free advertisement opportunity.
When posting content to Shopify, it is more than just publishing any image in its native form. There are very specific optimization features featured to properly display visuals while improving load time and best showing off the image itself. By taking advantage of these five tips for visual optimization on Shopify, every storefront can (and will) boost visibility while attracting more customers.