Making a Visual Impression: Which File Types to Use
The power of visual images when it comes to making a sale has been an important part of marketing for some time now. Images can be especially important in regards to e-commerce, because there is no physical product available for users to look at, handle, and ask questions about to a live sales representative. The images on your website have to do more to convey the quality of your product through an online format than they would in a brick and mortar store. Because of this, it’s important to know which kind of images you should be using, and where.
There are three primary types of a file when it comes to uploading and posting images, and these are JPEG, PNG, and GIF.
A JPEG image or .jpg is actually quite an old file type by today’s standard, but it’s still known as the standard file type used throughout the internet. JPEG images have the advantage of being capable of significant compression, which results in the ability to post high-quality images, with very small file size. This is beneficial because, the smaller your file size is, the less time it will take to load, meaning that your whole website runs more efficiently.
GIF or .gif images typically come as lower quality images than standard JPEGs, but they can be utilized very effectively for decorative image and icons. GIFs are also supportive of animation, which can be useful for some websites more than others. When it comes to optimizing images, GIFs can be ideal for simple images on a webpage.
As time continues to pass and the behavior of the internet changes, PNG images are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to GIFs. They are capable of supporting a number of extra colors in comparison to GIF files, and the standard of the image does not degrade over time, with multiple saving, as JPEGs sometimes too. However, although PNG file types are starting to be used more often around the internet, the file sizes are often a lot bigger than what you could expect out of a JPEG image, which means they are not ideal for slower websites.
Rules to Remember
- Generally, for most situations of e-commerce, JPEG file images will be your best option. These offer the highest quality of image for the smallest file size.
- GIF images should never be utilized for larger product images, as the file size will typically be huge, and there is absolutely no way you can reduce it. Instead, use GIFs for decorative images and thumbnails.
PNGs can sometimes offer a good alternative to GIFs and JPEGs. For example, if you are only able to upload your product photographs in PNG, try using PNG-8 instead of PNG-24. Usually, these files are quite good when it comes to using simple, or decorative images because their file size can be quite small.