Index your Website with Images!
Index pages or Visual Menu Pages are a great way for website builders to display a breakdown of the products or services they have available. Ideal for websites with or without a shopping basket, it can help visitors to find what they're looking for quickly and easily by clearly showing the various categories and groups of products you specialise in.
It's also a great excuse to have a page full of images – all shouting your top key phrase at the search engines thanks to one of Reason8’s clever search engine optimisation tactics. If you’re not familiar with this tactic, simply hover your mouse over any image on your website and look at the little window which pops up. This is your top key word phrase and is extremely visible to the search engines and can boost your position in the search lists – so the more images the merrier. Anyway... I digress, back to Indexes.....
Encouraging visitors to click further into your website is one of your main aims.
Simple to view, easy on the eye indexes or menus offer plenty of temptation and encouragement to do just that. These menu pages then link to the respective items or groups of items in your shopping basket or to further information pages and help visitors to find what they need quickly. It’s important to have grouped your items into proper groups or categories to help your visitor browse easily and find what they are looking for quickly. Huge lists of random products will send visitors running with wallets a flapping to your nearest competitor who has an easily browseable website or shop! – (see Blog). A nicely laid out menu page displays your products in a way which may also help customers to spot other related products which they may not have thought of so maximising the sale!
If you only have a few categories or groups of products, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t place a couple of clickable index images right on your home page. If, however you offer a vast array of products, then a button or a link saying “Click to Preview Products” or “Product Gallery” or “Shop Gallery” or “Product Range Menu” on your home page will encourage visitors to click through to an index page.
It’s very important to use the best photography you have available if you are going to create index page’s as the last thing you want to do is turn people off before they’ve even got to your shop.
Go through your images and pick out one picture for each group. Make sure it’s the very best image you have for that group and another good tip (image quality allowing of course…) would be to choose the best selling product too. Once you’ve selected your images, you’ll need to crop and resize them so that they are all the same size. Aim for images which are around 175-200 pixels wide. The size you can go to depends of course on the width of your website. If you have the very wide setting, you could resize your images a little bigger, but avoid going bigger than 300 pixels wide. Save each new image with a new name such as “originalnamemenupic.jpeg”. You may want to save them all into a new folder too to save you time when it comes to placing them. If you don’t have an image-editing programme, we recommend Picasa, a great little programme provided FREE by Google. Go to the Picasa website and download their latest version. http://picasa.google.co.uk/. We’ve covered basic resizing using Picasa in a previous Blog – click to view.
We’ll look at creating your index page in the next Blog.