Are Your Website Images Harming Your Conversion Rate?

November 17, 2015 by Vicki Fletcher

Are you a small to medium-sized business? If so, go and Google your products or services. Do your images show up in the image search? If they do, you’re probably on the right track. But what if they don’t? Unsearchable images could be hurting your business.

 

If potential customers can’t find your products and services online, it’s safe to assume you are missing out on their business. But appearing on the front page of search engines isn’t just about your content and website address; your images can have a big impact on this too. Being able to search for your website’s images on Google also impacts your ranking. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to fix it, and fast.

 

Choose Your Angles and Perspectives Wisely

 

Have you ever been to a website to hire or buy something and the images were terrible? It’s a huge turn off, isn’t it? Don’t make that same mistake with your business!

  • Make sure your subject is IN FOCUS. It might sound simple, but it’s also a common mistake businesses make. If your customers can’t see your product, they definitely aren’t going to buy it
  • Use interesting angles. Don’t always shoot from head height, looking straight at your subject. Interesting angles can capture the reader’s eye where plain images won’t
  • Don’t forget the background. Pay attention to what’s behind your subject, and make it relevant. Professional staff photos shouldn’t be in a cafe, unless that’s your business!
  • Show your product being used. Pose your product with similar items to indicate ideas for use, or use your imagination with an out-there scenario
  • Add personality. There is nothing worse than boring, flat images that work to turn your customers away
  •  

    If you’re selling products, use this simple guide for more information on ways to make your photos more engaging.

     

    Make Sure Your Images Are The Right Size

     

    There is one simple reason to ensure your images are the correct size: users wait on average 3 seconds for a website to load on their computer and the bigger the image, the longer it takes to load. Check your website load time using a tool like Webpagetest.

    If your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, chances are you’re losing business in the process. In fact, Amazon discovered that they would lose $1.6 billion each year if their page load time slowed down by just ONE second.

     

    So how do you make your images small enough without compromising on quality?

     

    Step One: When saving your images you need to know where they will be going online. If they are going onto your website or blog, you first need to find out how wide your website page is. Then save your images to the maximum width of your page, no larger. Here’s how you can check this:

     

    1. Open up your website and find a page with an image on it.
    2. Right click on that image and click ‘inspect element’
    3. A window will pop up on the right side of your screen with all of the information about that page.
    4. In the bottom right corner the maximum dimensions of that image will be displayed. In the example below you can see that the maximum width of our website is 1140px. So we would save our images at that width.

    What happens if you save your images smaller or larger than this? Well, if you save an image smaller than this, try to make it as large as the page size to avoid compromising on image quality. If you save an image larger than your website width, your website will automatically scale the image to fit. The larger an image is, the larger the file size, meaning a slower load time on your website.

    Step Two: Images going onto your website should never be larger than 500kb in size. Sometimes they can be even smaller. This will ensure your website load time stays within that 3 second zone.

     

    Are you uploading your product or service photos to social media sites?

     

    Here are some quick tips on image sizing for social:

     

    Facebook - save your photos at least 470px wide

    Instagram - save your photos at least 1080px wide

     

    Follow these links for more information on the different optimal sizes to save your photos for Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and Twitter.

     

    How do you save your images at the right size?

     

    If you’re using stock images online, the site will usually have different image resolutions and pixel sizes to choose from. Select the size that is equal or a bit larger than the size you need. You can then use an online image resizer to adjust the image to the size you need.

    When saving your own images, you can use the Photoshop ‘Save for web’ tool, which allows you to reduce the file size while keeping an eye on the image quality. Or you can also use any number of online image editing tools that can compress your file for you.

     
    Hot Tip! Don’t forget that the smaller you save your image, the weaker the quality will be. Always keep an eye on the quality.
     

    Descriptively Name Your Images, BEFORE You Upload Them To Your Website

     

    When building a new website or updating new products to your ecommerce site, think about the file name. Sure, it’s probably faster and easier to keep the generic file names that come with the images, whether from your camera or an image sharing website. But you should try to avoid this at all costs.

     

    Why?

     

    When looking for products or images online, people search for the name of the product or service. Therefore, it makes sense that search engines like Google will naturally pick up images with relevant titles to show in the search results. Search engines crawl the text on your website, but they also search for names and keywords embedded in your image files - ie. the file name.

     

    But how do you know what to name your image?

     

    So instead of keeping the generic “IMG123” file name, before you upload the image to your website, change the name to describe what the image is. Do some simple keyword research to find out what customers are typing into Google to search for your products or services or (scroll to the bottom of the search browser for suggested keywords). and then use some of these keywords to describe the image in the file name.

     
    Hot Tip! Look at your Google Analytics to see what queries people are typing into search engines to reach your website pages as your first step of keyword research. Secondly you can use your Google Adwords account to search for keywords.
     

    Optimise Alt Tags and Image Descriptions

     

    Just as you should optimise your image file name, don’t forget to add in a descriptive alt tag and, in some cases, an image description. Alt tags are an alternative text version that describes an image when it can’t be seen - perhaps it doesn’t load, the browser isn’t working properly, and for sight impaired users who are using a text to voice translator.

     

    Including an alt tag not only describes what the image is for a user who cannot see it, it is also extremely useful for SEO. An image alt tag is, similar to the image file name, an opportunity to add in an appropriate keyword that users may use to search for your product or service.

     
    Hot tip! Make sure your filenames and alt tags are descriptive of the image. Be careful not to use ONLY keywords in your image filenames and alt tags. This is what we call ‘keyword stuffing’ and can result in your web page being removed from search engine results as a penalty for trying to include too many keywords.
     

    So how should you fill out your alt tags?

     

    • Describe what the image is, simply and descriptively
    • Include the product serial number if there is one
    • Don’t fill in alt tags on decorative images such as page banners, buttons or lines as this can be seen as ‘over-optimisation’ just like keyword stuffing
    • If you have images and thumbnails, be sure to add unique alt tags to both

    Choose The Right Image File Type

     

    Perhaps you already know about JPEGS, PNGs and GIFs; but which one should you use for your website images? This depends on what your image is and what it’s used for. Here’s a quick guide:

     

    JPEG

    Use these for complex images and photographs. You can make the file size fairly small without losing quality. You do need to be careful of resaving them however, as with each new save they lose quality and file size.

     

    PNG

    These files are great for simple, decorative images as you can keep the file size small. This means website load time isn’t compromised for lot’s of cool graphics on your website.

     

    GIF

    If you’ve been anywhere on the internet in the last year you’ll be all over the .gif. Gif’s support animation making them very popular for small moving images such as banner advertisements. Only ever use .gifs for small images however, as the quality is not fantastic.

     

    As they say a photo can speak a thousand words. This holds true online too. So get ahead of the game and make sure your images are optimised. The bottom line is, if customers can’t find you online, or can’t access your website quickly, they won’t be your customers for much longer.