Shopify image optimization - why it’s important
If you’re selling on Shopify, your images are the foundation of your success. Your product images, for example, are what attracts customers to your store in the first place, while article images help drive social media shares. Large, unoptimized images, however, will have a negative impact on your Shopify store.
How will unoptimized images impact your Shopify site?
Slow page loading times and increased bounce rate
Uploaded images at their full resolution can take up an enormous amount of space and cause your website to load slowly. The longer it takes for your site to load, the more your bounce rate (the percentage of web visitors who leave your site after viewing just one page) will increase.
For example, for a site that takes up to 10 seconds to load, the probability of someone navigating away from your site increases by a huge 123%! A Google study undertaken in 2018 states that 53% of mobile users will leave a webpage if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
And perhaps an even harsher statistic is this one from Neil Patel: “If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1-second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million in lost sales every year.”
If you don’t optimize your images, you’ll have very little chance of them being found in search results online. Search engine bots crawl the images on your Shopify site, just like they do the rest of your content. Specifically, they look at the titles and ALT tags of your images to determine what they’re about.
By optimizing your images for search engines, you may have a chance of them appearing in the image section of search results. Check out this screenshot of a search done for wall clocks below:
Having your images appear in search results gives your Shopify store greater exposure and could lead to more organic traffic.
Poor user experience
Unoptimized images aren’t helpful for web visitors who are visually impaired or can’t display your images for some reason. It’s important to have alternative titles and descriptions in place which appear instead of your images if the user can’t see them.
How can you optimize your images?
Reduce the file size
The first thing to do is reduce the size of your images. Full resolution images are important if you intend to print from them, but if they’re being viewed online through a mobile or desktop device, lower resolution images are perfectly acceptable.
You can reduce the size of your images by as much as 70% with only a very slight change in visual quality that will hardly be noticeable by the human eye. There are free tools you can use to reduce the size of photos, such as a href="https://caesium.en.softonic.com/" target="_blank" rel="here">Caesium, before you upload them to your Shopify store.
Complete the image attribute fields
When you upload your images, you can add textual information to them, such as a title, a description or caption, and ALT (alternative) tags. When you give your image a title, it should reflect the content of the image.
For example, if you’re selling colorful striped socks for men, you might want to give your image a title like this: “Yellow and black striped socks for men”
Your ALT tags should sum up the content of your image too. The information you include for these will be shown to the web user if your image can’t be found. So, going back to the above example, you could include something similar: “Yellow and black striped cotton socks for men one size.”
The aim with ALT tags is to be as descriptive as possible, without overusing keywords (search terms), as this is frowned upon by search engines. For more information about ALT text and ALT tags, check out this informative article.
An easy way to optimize your Shopify store images
Doing the image optimization methods above is going to take you some time, especially if you’re reducing the size of your images manually before uploading them to your store.
Fortunately, there are Shopify apps available that make the process of image optimization a breeze. TinyIMG - Image Optimizer is one of them - it’s an intelligent image and website optimization tool that reduces your image sizes and generates titles and ALT tags automatically. You can start on a free plan and upgrade later if you want to.
Image optimization: an integral part of your marketing strategy
By compressing your Shopify store images and optimizing them for SEO, you’ll not only be speeding up your website, but you’ll also be helping potential customers to find your store online. Not to mention providing greater accessibility and a better user experience for all.