See More: Creating links to similar images

Sometimes iStock customers click on an image, only to realize on closer inspection that it isn't quite what they need.

Maybe you, the iStock contributor who made the picture, can help them out. Are there alternate poses of that model in a similar situation? Shots of the same landscape from a different angle? Alternate crops or orientations? Add a link to your description field. You can save a busy designer some time add pick up a download you may have otherwise missed.

iStock contributors have been doing this for years. Many have it down to a science and generate downloads by giving customers quick access to multiple options.

For those who don't have "See more of my..." links, here are some instructions to get you started, as well as a few best-practice pointers.

What to link

Your goal is to provide customers quick access to more of what they're looking for. Give them links to files that are either directly related, or of a similar subject:

  • More images of the same model.
  • More images from the same shoot.
  • Alternate crops or orientations (horizontal or vertical).
  • Alternate versions of audio files (different lengths, loopable versions, stingers). Read here for more audio-specific tips.
  • Images on a similar theme, category or concept.

How it's done — UBB

The description field of each image allows you to include UBB code. This means you can insert links and by extension images into the field. You can create a banner, link it to a lightbox of similar files, or insert thumbnails for individual similar images.

You will use two UBB tags in this process: url and img.

A url tag creates a link. You will wrap this around a piece of text or an image:

  1. Add in the url tag - [url=
  2. Add the link url - [url=http://www.istockphoto.com]
  3. Add the text that the link will attach to - [url=http://www.istockphoto.com]Alternate version
  4. Close the tag. The final code should look like this - [url=http://www.istockphoto.com]Alternate version[/url]

Important: You may only link to other iStockphoto URLs — file closeup pages, lightboxes, portfolio pages or search strings. You may not link to any external websites from the description field. If we find external links we will remove them without notice.

An img tag embeds a picture. This picture must exist somewhere on the internet — you are inserting a link to the image host that the browser is drawing on to render the picture. Note that the iStock-only restriction from the url tag doesn't apply here: these can be external addresses.

  1. Find the url (web address) for the image.
  2. Add the img tag - [img]
  3. Add the image url - [img]TheImageUrl
  4. Close the tag. The final code should look like this - [img]TheImageUrl[/img]

Linking individual similar images

The easiest and most effective thing you can do is link directly to individual similar images. This is where we encourage people to start. You will show some small thumbnails of similar images in the description and clicking one will take the customer directly to the file closeup page. This doesn't require any text, lightboxes, or image hosting — just our two UBB tags and the file numbers of the images you want to link.

The following simple method comes from FrankyDeMeyer's DeepMeta portfolio management application. It's very easy and the results look good. If you are a DeepMeta user, there is a more detailed tutorial here.

  1. Choose the files you'll link. Anywhere from 3-12 will fit nicely in the page without scrolling. Make sure they're genuinely similar — same shoot, model, subject, location or concept.
  2. Copy the file numbers.
  3. iStock creates several different sizes of each image thumbnail. There is a 110 pixel version which fits great three across in the description field. Here's the code to generate and link it:
    [url=file_closeup.php?id=TheFileNumber][img]file_thumbview_approve.php?size=1&id=TheFileNumber[/img][/url]

  4. (Note that we've used shortened urls here. Because you're linking within the iStock domain to another iStock url, you can leave off the front half (http://www.istockphoto.com) of the string. We recommend that you do this as it will allow customers to continue browsing in their current language.)

    Lightboxes and Banners

    You may also link to groups of similar images in lightboxes. This works well when you want to link to larger sets of images: "See more Business Concepts". This is also easy. You can wrap your link around a simple text instruction — "See more of this model" — or create a banner image for people to click. We will walk you through making a banner image lightbox link.

    1. Create a lightbox of the images. You don't need to make a public lightbox: a private lightbox is fine because you are linking to it directly.
    2. Create a jpeg banner image, no larger than 390 x 100 pixels. Keep them clean and simple looking. Here are some examples we like:
    3. You need to host this image . If you have your own website or blog, host it there. Otherwise there are plenty of good free hosting options out there. We recommend Photobucket, Dropbox or Skitch.
    4. Once your image is hosted, open it in a browser window and copy the url.
    5. Here is the ubb code you will use:
      [url=YourLightboxUrl][img]YourImageUrl[/img][/url]
    6. That's all there is to it.

      Rules of thumb

      Give a clear instruction

      Tell the client in simple language what the link is for:

      • "Click here for more construction images."
      • "See more of this model."
      • "More from this shoot."

      The shorter your text, the more effective it will be.

      Don't overdo it

      Adding a small number of links entices a viewer to click. Adding 40 won't. Too many images will also slow down your page load time and that is bad for your sales. Be simple and uncluttered, and don't overwhelm people.

      Use a designer

      Are you a capable designer? Great — hire yourself. Make something elegant and attractive. If not, then know your limitations and get some help.

      No animations

      We have a "no .gif" restriction on all UBB fields at iStock. Not only are blinking images annoying, but animations tend to slow down page loads. The more time it takes a page to load up your animations, the longer our customers are left waiting and the more likely they will simply leave. This is bad for sales, for us and for you. Do not try and circumvent our animation restrictions — they are for all of our good.

      Image Credits
      Many shoes 2 by aldomurillo
      Group of people jumping by franckreporter
      Delivery boy standing next to a truck by nullplus
      Ballet class and Subtle pastel pink roses by FrankyDeMeyer

      Other portfolio banners were created by:
      skynesher
      stevecoleimages
      RichVintage
      bortonia


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