Bad images versus good images

08 May Image Optimization

We’ve all heard Confucius’ famed quote “a picture is worth 1,000 words” at least 1,000 times.  Online, pictures are worth more than words, they’re worth dollars. But how many dollars depends on how effectively product images *speak* to customers. We’re talking’ details. Just like textual product descriptions describe a product in detail, enlarged images and alternate views better describe your products. And many products cannot be fully described with words.  Poor photography will communicate to the customer that you don’t care about your products.

Many eCommerce web sites, especially start-up sites try to save money on web design and professional product photography.  New merchants in particular make that costly mistake. Your online site is your business identity, and needs to reflect a professional, secure place for consumers to give personal financial information. The average consumer is accustomed to seeing very expensive advertising campaigns and they CAN see the difference. Bad images versus good images

Optimizing images for the Web is an art and a science. As a Web designer, it’s your job to create the best-looking images with the smallest file size.  A great way to optimize a jpg file is to increase JPEG compression. The more you compress a JPEG, the smaller the file size. Unfortunately, adding too much JPEG compression can cause unwanted compression artifacts. The trick is to find the balance between making the file small and making it look good. Here’s how:

  • Add blur. The softer the edges, the smaller the file. Because the JPEG compression algorithm has an easier time when compressing areas with subtle transitions in colors and tonal range, adding a small amount of blur to your images can help reduce file size.
  • Decrease the saturation. The less color saturation, the smaller the file size. Again, because compression is easiest with subtle changes in colors and tonal range, decreasing the saturation in images can help reduce file size.
  • Decrease the contrast. The lower the contrast, the smaller the file size. The JPEG compression algorithm favors low-contrast images. Decreasing the contrast in an image can help reduce file size.

Large, high resolution images that are not optimized can slow down your webpage, which can penalize you in the Google search results. In today’s “Grow Your Online Sales” MeetUp, I discussed a number of ways that you can optimize your image for:

  • Search Engines (image names, alt tags)
  • Browsers (image size and loading speed)
  • Human visitors (making your images stand out for your visitors)

Here is a short video excerpt from our lunch meeting.

WebStores Ltd provides this type of training free of charge every month to anyone who wants to attend.

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