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Speeding Up Your Images

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Good photography of your products is the only way you can sell your products online. Even if your website is ugly, good photography and good customer service will always sell jewelry.

However, there is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to your photography, and it has to do with the file sizes.

A typical jewelry product catalog will show a ring in 3 different sizes:
1. As a thumbnail on the browsing pages.
2. As a medium size image on the product description page.
3. As a large image when you want to zoom in to see details.

The lazy web programmer will use the same image for all 3 purposes, but there's a serious drawback to this. You would need to use the largest image, that is image #3, for all locations. Except that large image can be 600KB or more, and we've even seen images as large as 3MB.

Those large images would cause a slowdown nightmare when browsing through the catalog. It could take several seconds for each image to download, and on a website with 10 rings on a page that would mean more than 30 seconds of additional waiting for the customers.

On your jewelry website, you always need to have good photography but also reduce the pixel size to whatever is needed. You also always should reduce the image color depth as much as possible.

Okay, that's confusing, so let's look at an example in steps.

Step 1: Take good photos.
Step 2: Crop out as much white space from around the ring as possible.
Step 3: Resize the photos to ONLY what you need. Let's say you need 100x100, 250x250 and 500x500 pixels in size.
Step 4: Use a program like PhotoShop to save the images for the web/internet. During the saving process, you need to test the saving parameters for color depth. The lower the color depth, the faster the image will download. However, the low color depth also reduces the quality of the photos, so find a happy medium.

Here're the bottom line suggestions for today's Daily Golden Nugget: Create 3 sizes of photos for each ring you show online. The thumbnail image can have the lowest color depth without looking completely ugly. The medium size images should have 60% to 80% color depth and the largest image should be 100% color depth. Anyone clicking to see the large image is willing to wait for it to download.

Image management is tricky business for your website. Getting it right results in a faster website and happy customer who won't get impatient.

AT: 04/21/2011 12:42:05 PM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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