Thursday, May 26, 2011

Creating Thumbnails

Like the Free Preview, including thumbnail images on your product listing page is super important. Here is why: 
  • Your primary thumbnail (the first one you load) will be visible when buyers are searching and browsing. If a buyer likes what she sees, she is likely to click on the image to go to the product page.
  • Thumbnails enhance your product listing page and give the buyer an idea of what is in the product. In fact, since most products do have thumbnails, if yours does not, the buyer may be suspicious of the product.
  • Thumbnails sometimes end up in google images searches - which means that someone may stumble on your product while searching images for something similar.
  • The site owner likes bright and colorful images for the newsletter - your free product will have a better chance of being chosen if the primary thumbnail is appealing.
The easiest way to make thumbnails is to let TpT's thumbnail generator do the work.When you post your product, you can choose this option at the bottom of the page. However, your product may be in a format that does not work with the generator or the images may come out wrong - wonky and out of alignment. Or if your product is really long, you might want to use pages closer to the end. The thumbnail generator only lets you choose from the first 20. In this case, you may want to create your own thumbnails.

Making Your Own Thumbnails
There are several ways to make thumbnails. I think this is the easiest. Use the zoom function to zoom out enough so that you can see several complete pages on your screen at one time - 50% works well for me.
  1. Get your clipping tool. If you have Vista or Windows 7 it should be in your Accessories folder. If you have a Mac I don't know what you use (please comment on this post and share if you know!)
  2. Use the tool to select the page you want to make into a thumbnail. I think it looks nice to leave a thin border.
  3. Save your thumbnail using a relevant name. This is really important for google. So for the thumbnail above, instead of calling it "SH1", I called it "Scavenger Hunts 1" (BTW, if you use the TpT thumbnail generator, it assigns a relevant name). I would suggest number them so that you know in what order you want to load them onto TpT.
  4. Use the "Upload my Own" option at the bottom of the product listing page, then just load them up!
A couple more tips
  • If your product is loaded in a format that the thumbnail generator does not recognize, it will use your free preview file. If you have written PREVIEW across these pages, that is what buyers will see on the thumbnail. Personally, I think that looks bad.
  • I have seen some people load their store ad as one of their thumbnail images. I think that is a really bad idea. Even if your product is short - only 3 pages, better to have only 3 thumbnails than to include an ad.

    You may also want to check out:
    Creating an Effective Product Preview
    Product Posting DOs and DON'Ts


  1. For thumbnails, Mac users can click on control + shift + 4 to take a screenshot. Just drag the crosshairs over the part of the screen you want to capture. Or, use the same buttons (control + shift + 4) and instead of using the mouse to drag the crosshairs, just click on the spacebar & it will take a pic of the entire window.

    The screen capture tool is built in to every Mac (and has been for years, so even if you have an older Mac, this works). It automatically saves the image to your desktop.

    If you need to resize the image (because there is a 200kb size limitation and Mac files tend to be larger since all images are embedded within), just open in Preview (the default program on Macs) and go to Tools > Adjust Size...

    Adjust the width and height until the file size is below 200kb. Having too large of a thumbnail is the most common reason thumbnails won't show up.

    Hope that helps! :)

  2. Thank you so much Tracee! Macs are a mystery to me, so I am sure your comment will really help people.

    I should also have mentioned that if you don't have a snipping tool on your PC, you can also use the screen shot option. When I did that before I knew about the clipping tool, I would edit the screen shot in Paint by cropping and resizing.

  3. The thumbnails are so important. I see so many products without them. As a buyer, I at least want a small glimpse of something before I buy it.

    Amy (aka Science Stuff)

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  5. The quick keys for Mac screenshots are: command + shift + 4


Thoughts, questions? Please share!