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We've asked our team of Shopify Experts for their best advice to help you build and grow your online business. The response we got was fantastic, so we'll be sharing their advice in this ongoing series.

If you're not familiar with Shopify Experts, it's our directory of ecommerce pro's who know Shopify inside and out. You can browse and hire designers, developers, marketers, and photographers to help you build or maintain your Shopify store. 

Here are five valuable tips, provided by five of our Shopify Experts:  

Product Photography is REALLY Important 

"Your online store sells products and your photographs ARE your products - do not skimp on product photography, your own snaps won't always cut it! It's crucial to think about how they will appear in advance, try and visualise how they might be laid out and how this could effect the look and feel of your site. 

Will your collection thumbnails be portrait, landscape, or square? Will they be on a white or transparent background, on a model, or in situation? There is no right or wrong answer but before starting down the design path it is important to think about these things as they will determine to a large part what the site ultimately looks and feels like. 

Shopify store Official features all of their caps on a black mirrored background and they look sick, but this was certainly no spur of the moment decision. It looks amazing.

Another of my favourite client sites is Elizabeth Bower's. She uses a carefully curated mixture of shots to display her jewelry, including some on a model and some close-cropped shots. Again, this was planned in advance and is also accounted for in the code - you will not see a model shot as the primary product page detail shot even if it is a featured Collection thumbnail. 

Finally, Blu Kicks have a beautiful site that I built out from designs by Fernando Munoz. He was also the product photographer on the project and was super careful (really!) about being consistent with the product shots' exposures, angles and overall dimensions. I really think it shows in the site.

In all three cases, every single image was planned, shot and then pre-edited to a consistently sized and dimensioned canvas prior to being uploaded, which has resulted in uniform, consistent, and great looking product displays." 

By: Rick Davies, Tricky3

Size Your Images Correctly

"There is nothing worse than looking at stretched out images. The trick to resizing photography is to hold the shift button down while sizing. Never forget that trick! It will become your best friend. And besides retaining the correct aspect ratio, make a decision about what size you want to make your product images and stick to it. Choose a square for example, and pick a size (let's say 800 x 800). Now be sure to center your product inside that square each time.
  
Also, If you have a slideshow or special sized banners, ask your designer to provide you with original, layered Photoshop files that you can update. These files will already be sized exactly as needed, and it will be as easy as retyping a message using the same font and design layout. Make sure you are familiar with and have the font that is used. If you have enough Photoshop knowledge to open a file and find the different layers to work with, this will be easy. And if this all sounds like a foreign language, then by all means hire a designer to do it for you. It's a small price to pay for the headache and lost time trying to figure it out." 

By: Rachel Farabaugh, designRACY

The 5 Second Rule: Quickly Get To The Point

"No, we're not talking about that Oreo you dropped on the floor in the lunch room. We're talking about the amount of time it should take your customers to figure out what they're supposed to do next or where they need to be going on your site.

If most of your consumers can't figure that out inside of 5 seconds, you're losing sales. On a home page, most customers want to know where to find the product they're looking for. Or they want to know why they should buy from you and not from a competitor. Get that message across in 5 seconds or else!

As site owners, a lot of times you'll cheat and navigate based on your familiarity with the site. Try and pretend like its the first time you're visiting. What are you supposed to do? Where do I go to find Products X, Y, and Z? If you can't figure it out in 5 seconds, you need to simplify and amplify. Make your products more accessible, and make your desired action more prominent.

But don't just stop there, keep going! Each page needs to have a clear desired action or goal. Keep communicating it. Even after a customer has checked out, think about what your next steps should be, encourage them to share your product, bookmark your website, or sign up for your newsletter. There is never a time when there isn't some kind of objective for a customer to follow,even if its heading back to the home page to buy again."

By: Hiren Patel, Coalition Technologies

Write Unique Product Descriptions 

If your ecommerce store is going to be selling products from a manufacturer or other provider, chances are you are planning on just copying and pasting the product description from the manufacturers website onto yours. Bad idea.

Here is why: All of your competitors selling the same products from the manufacturer are doing the same thing on their ecommerce websites. Therefore you are all competing for the same keywords with the same copy. Also, when was the last time you were moved to buy a product from the boring and dry description on a manufacturers website. 

Your description is unique not only because it isn’t a copy of everyone else’s, it is unique in that it has your company’s flair for selling the product behind it. It has your unique selling proposition (USP) in it. It has the power to motivate someone who sees your site in the search results decide to click your product page to see more. Then its power continues as it sells your product to the user using the power of persuasion.

It may take quite a bit of extra time to write unique product descriptions for all of your products, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of them, but it is worth it.

By: Joshua Gill, New Epic Media

Focus On Quality Content 

No matter how impressive your site design, and your product, you cannot ignore the importance of well-written content. This includes product descriptions, informational pages (such as your "About Us Page"), blog posts and of course marketing copy (short and sweet is my number one tip there). Don't lose customers because they "don't get" what your product does, or because they equate poorly written copy with a poorly designed product.

By: Eric Miller, Eric Miller Design