The Importance of Product Images

September 20, 2006

Topics: Search Marketing.

Images are a critical part of almost any website. Having a well-communicated brand identity can make a huge difference in convincing visitors to return – and having high quality product images can be the difference between a sale and an exit page.

I’ve had too many cases where, in an otherwise beautiful design, I’ve had to work with clumsy, out of focus, poorly optimized images. All the copy in the world may not help you if you’ve got low quality pictures.

The internet is a place where people can make decisions based on concrete issues – they can look at how an item is manufactured, what materials it’s made of, whether it’s non-toxic, and read reviews. But at the end of the day, gut feeling will inevitably play a part – and part of that gut response is going to be based on whether they can visualize your product in their life.

When you’re purely dealing with issues of search optimization, your written content is absolutely the most important single issue to focus on. But that only solves part of the overall marketing question: getting targeted visitors to your site. Convincing them to purchase your product can be greatly helped by strong visual impact.

Tips for Better Images

  1. It’s not JUST about the product.

    Setting the stage for your product isn’t just a matter of going into your shop and taking a picture of it on the shelf. Do your storage room’s utility shelves help sell your product? NO. Depict your product either in use or in an appropriate abstract environment.

  2. It’s ABOUT the product.

    Yes, I know what I just said – but even though the picture isn’t just about the product, it is mostly about the product. Don’t make people search for the product in your picture.

  3. Work large.

    Assuming you’re not going to have a professional take your pictures, don’t make the mistake of reducing all your images yourself. You should always do any editing work at full-size – and you should always deliver full-size originals to the web professional who’s working with your site. You may think that they’re just too big to be useful, but trust me – your marketing team wants the best possible image to start from!

  4. Never get rid of the originals.

    Thought you’d save yourself some hard drive space by deleting all your full-size digital images or scans? Whoops! Now all you’ve got to work with is your web-scaled .jpg. Face it – you never know when you may want to re-purpose an image.

  5. Don’t be satisfied with just one shot.

    How do professional photographers work? They take a lot of pictures. Yes, professionals also have the benefit of years of experience and training in photo composition and lighting, etc. But anybody can take a great picture with patience.

  6. If you don’t like the picture; don’t use it.

    You are a good judge of your product. If you don’t think that your picture is presenting the best view of what you’re selling, you’re probably right. Sometimes deciding between different great pictures is difficult – but you should always be able to eliminate the bad ones right away.

Take the time on your images that you do on your copy – it’ll pay off. Remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Google can’t read them, but your customers can.

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2 Comments to “The Importance of Product Images”

  1. “Remember that a picture is worth 1,000 words. Google can’t read them, but your customers can.”

    Very wel said