I experiment with different ways of using images, because they get clicked even when they’re decorative. (And there’s nothing like a visually intriguing thumbnail to get people clicking — they want to see it full-sized).
When you grab a basic Amazon Associates “image” code, you get something like:
There’s an easy — well, fairly easy — way to resize Amazon graphics, up to whatever size the original product image is that’s stored on Amazon. (Any larger than the original, and it gets fuzzy.)
<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000X1CMZW/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&tag=greekgeek-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B000X1CMZW” rel=”nofollow”><img src=”http://ws.assoc-amazon.com/widgets/q?_encoding=UTF8&Format=_SL110_&ASIN=B000X1CMZW&MarketPlace=US&ID=AsinImage&WS=1&tag=greekgeek-20&ServiceVersion=20070822″ alt=”” border=”0″ /></a>
See the part I’ve colored red? That determines the size. I haven’t entirely figured out the system, but if you change the “S” to “M” for “medium” you get:
The “Medium” size is a separate image with greater detail than the “S” image file. This is important, because you can’t scale a small image up too much or it gets fuzzy. Unfortunately, there often isn’t a medium file stored separately; it depends on the product. So you have to test and find out.
Here’s what’s really useful. If you change the number at the end of “Format=_SL110″, you’re changing the width.
Default image size (the code Amazon gave you):
Same image, but I changed “110” to “200”:
Same image, but I changed “110” to “500”:
This is called “Smart Image Resizing.” On many sites and affiliate programs, part of the image URL is a number, and this number is a pixel width you can adjust at will. Zazzle has this: it’s the number right before .jpg.
Squidoo’s lens logo graphic has two forms of smart resizing, confusingly: in the old system, the lens logo graphic has a /-1/ as part of the URL, and you can change -1 to 100, 250, etc to select a different pixel width. In the newer URL format which you’ll see if you right-click a lens logo graphic in, say, a “Featured Lenses” module, the smart-resizing system instead has two numbers, such as /100/100/, which are height and width. I change them both together.
Finally, once you have a graphic, you can reset its height or width by inserting style=”height: 200px;” or some other pixel height into the image tag. It’s best to tag an image that’s slightly too large and scale it down rather than vice versa.
There are all sorts of ways to use this. For example, since Squidoo’s default Amazon module is not crawled by search engines, I’ll make a sort of manual one like this:
<p style=”width: 150px; float: left; margin-right: 5px; text-align: center; font-size: 9pt; font-weight: bold;”>[Amazon Associates code for an IMAGE link, but I change the pixel width to 150 and/or pick the “M” size, and I add an alt=”product name and/or mini description” inside the image tag for Google]
Product name (a text link)
Buy on Amazon button</p>
I tile those all the way across — the “float” ensures that they make a neat horizontal row — to get something that looks like the Amazon Module in thumbnail mode. Then I finish the row with
to prevent any unexpected side-by-side behavior from whatever follows that row.
For example, repeating the above template 3 times:
I’d want to fiddle with the height to get the bottoms lined up, if I were being persnickety.
The point is, once you know that you can resize images (a) by altering the number inside the image URL or (b) by using style=”height: blah;” you can spotlight product images in many different ways.