Preparing to populate your catalog is important and can increase speed when adding categories, brands and products to your website. The goal of this planning is to gather as much of the information that you'll need once you get to the "sell" section.
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- Prepping for the Images
- Prepping for the Weights
- Prepping for the Name and Descriptions
- Prepping for the Categories
Prepping For Images
Having your images ready to rock-n-roll is a very important part of prepping your eCommerce catalog. The first thing that you need to consider is where will you get your products from? These are the typical options...
- I already have images on my current website
- I already have images saved to my computer
- I have no images and will take images myself
- I have no images and will hire a photographer to take images
- I will get images from the manufacturer
We often get the question, "What Size Do I Make My Images?". We suggest that you use High Res images for your product pages. We suggest cropping all of your product images to include a small amount of horizontal and vertical white space. In addition, set a standard width and height for both VERTICAL PRODUCT IMAGES and HORIZONTAL PRODUCT IMAGES and SQUARE PRODUCT IMAGES. For example, all product images that have a vertical presentation, pick a width and height that will be consistent for all vertical images. Same for horizontal and square images images. This will make for a nice consistent shopping experience.
1600 pixels (px) wide x 2000px tall at 72dpi is a good size that will allow for a nice high quality zoom for the user to get a great look at the detail of the product. This size is just a suggestion and it is up to you to figure out a good dimension based on your product imagery.
As a guideline, we would suggest the following...
- Vertical: 1200px wide x 1500px tall, 72dpi
- Square: 1200px wide x 1200px tall, 72 dpi
- Horizontal: 1200px wide x 800px wide, 72 dpi
Again, these figures are just suggestions, you have the freedom to determine your own dimensions and proportions. We would not recommend going larger than 1200px wide to keep file size down. Anything larger will not give the end user any more image detail and will only increase your bandwidth. Stay below 1200px wide and decide your proportions for vertical, horizontal, and square images. It is important to mention that things need to be 72dpi in order for the image to render correctly in all browsers.
Once you determine where you will get your products from and they have been sized correctly, you will need to decide where you will save them. If you will be manually adding products, the act of adding products one at a time, then you can save your image locally on your computer or external hard-drive. If you will be adding your product via an import then you will need to have your images hosted somewhere.
Prepping For Weights
Your products need to have weights assigned to them when you plan to have a calculated shipping method. If you plan to always offer Free Shipping or Flat Rate Shipping weights are not needed. Very similarly to product images, you will need to determine how you will obtain product weights prior to adding them to your site. Do you already have the weights, will you weigh items yourself or will the manufacturer supply the product weights. Learn more about Shipping & Handling.
Prepping For Names & Descriptions
Product names & descriptions are arguable the most important fields of your product page from an SEO perspective. How you name your products and the content that you include in the product descriptions can help your organic rankings greatly! Think about what amount of detail you will use in naming your products, for example "Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS Black 10.1 MP CMOS Digital Camera 12x Optical Zoom" is a better product name than "Cannon ELPH 520". Do you see the difference?
Very similarly to product names, product descriptions are best when they are thought out and detailed. To help you draft content for these product descriptions, I would suggest answering these following questions for each product…
- What are the benefits of this product?
- What is the product made out of?
- What options are available for the product?
- How does the product work? Are any instructions needed to use the product?
- Who should buy this product?
By answering these questions, it will be very easy to write up a detailed products description. If you are not planning on writing product descriptions you may be able to obtain descriptions from the manufacture of the product.
Prepping For Categories
Since every product in your store has to belong to at least one category you will need to determine your category tree prior to adding products. If you will be manually adding products, you will want to set up your store categories prior to adding products so that you can assign the product to the correct category as you add it. If you are planning to import your products, you will still need to determine your category tree prior to import but your product import file will create your categories and assign products to them simultaneously. Import may sound like the way to go, but it is quite technical and if you have less than 250 products we have found that it is just faster to manually add them. Learn more about import products and categories.