Image Optimization, Images are vital to any website. This is a fact and is certainly something you have been hearing over time. When you enter an apparel store, you end up choosing a product that looks nice to your eyes. The same is true for websites. Images end up converting visitors into buyers and you need to spend a lot of time and effort picking the right images for your website.
If the quality of images matters, then websites that use HD images with high pixel ratio should be doing great, shouldn’t they? That’s where things get interesting.
When you use really high-quality images, your website may look great, but the overall size of the website will increase and the loading speed will come down. If you use smaller and average-quality images, your visitors may not be impressed but your website will load very quickly. So where is the balance?
What is Image Optimization?
Image optimization is the process of optimizing images so they are of the smallest possible size but also are of the right dimensions, resolution, and pixel ratio so that their quality is not compromised.
In simpler words, you try to get a balance between image quality and image size so that the visitors experience great images that load quickly too.
Importance of Optimizing Images on Website
Brings down page size
Page size or page bloat is the total size of a particular web page. Let’s say your user browses your website from a mobile phone with a limited data plan. If each of your web pages has multiple high-quality, large images, then the person’s data usage is going to get very high.
According to HTTP Archive, images make up to 75% of a web page’s size. When you optimize the images on the pages, the page bloat will certainly reduce and this is a positive factor to the website.
- Improves Page Load Speed
According to Moz, image optimization is one of the top ways to improve load speed. When you have graphics with more than 16 colors, Moz advises you to use PNG files for the images. When you are uploading photographs, choose JPEGs.
This SEO expert also recommends using CSS Sprites to put together all images you may use frequently like different buttons and icons. CSS Sprites will load all these images at once and this brings down page load time.
You can use Google PageSpeed Insights to check your website’s speed.
Improves SEO Ranking
In many of our previous blogs, we have already mentioned that Google considers page load time an important factor to rank your website. Hence, the more optimized the images in your website are, the quicker the pages load and the better will be your ranking.
It is also important to use responsive images. Responsive images need to look the same on larger laptop screens, small tablets, and really small mobile screens too.
Conversions are the heart of any online business. You could be getting thousands of visitors every day. However, if none of these visitors buy from you one way or the other, the business cannot sustain itself.
With image optimization, your website will load really quickly and also look well-designed and attractive. Both these are vital for increased conversion rates.
According to Portent, website conversion rates drop by about 4.42% for every second of website load time. This graph shows you the average dip in conversion rate based on the page load time.
Enhance User Engagement
Users get bored if you have no images and just a lot of content on your website. The same users close the website tab if your website takes a lot of time to load. Optimize great images and make sure they load quickly on all platforms. This is a sure-shot way to enhance user engagement.
How to Optimize Your Website Images
Choose the Right File Format
Three file formats are important when it comes to image file format.
JPEGs give you the best quality when you compress files. The loss in quality after compression is manageable in most cases. PNGs give you the best quality images and compression is lossless. Compression also gives you really small sizes of the images with not much disruption in quality.
GIFs are perfect choices when you use animated images. Large GIF images occupy a lot of page size though. Always ensure your GIFs are small thumbnails or decoratives. Many of the free and paid image editing tools can convert one format to another easily.
Compression Quality vs. Size
Compression is one of the most important parts of image compression. Here, your original file is compressed or reduced in size to prevent increasing your website bloat. If you download high-quality photos from your digital camera, they can be several megabytes in size. Imagine having hundreds of product images all about 10 MB in size weighing down your website?
Compressing an image can pull down its size to a couple of kilobytes.
Experts say that your landing page should not be more than 2 MB. Your landing page also should consist of the best product/service images. So the only option here is to compress images.
As long as you use the right tools to compress images, you will not notice a dip in the quality. Here are some of the good image compression tools you can use.
- Shutterstock editor
- JPEG Optimizer
Find Out The Maximum Display Size Of Your Images
When it comes to websites, the size of your image is not measured in terms of width and length. It is more about the pixels. The better the quality of your camera, the more will be the pixel size.
Let’s say you have an image of 5800X3800 pixels. Multiply the numbers and you get 22,040,000. It means the image was captured in a 22 MP camera. Photos that you click on average mobile cameras may look great on the mobile screen. Since their pixels are low, these end up getting blurred or don’t show details when you upload them on your website. You get the drift.
Really large pixel sizes will increase your page bloat. Check the platform you are building your website on to identify the right size for banner images, product images, and thumbnails. Use a resizing tool to bring down the pixel size before you upload them.
Make sure you don’t blow up smaller images to make them bigger on the website. This will make the picture fuzzy and blurred. Always pick larger images and compress them.
Crop and resize Images
Once you identify the correct size of an image, you can crop and then resize them to get the right final dimensions.
Start by cropping the image to remove unwanted parts out. Now, resize based on the dimensions that you want. Here is how you can crop and resize on iPiccy, an image editor tool. We will try and crop and resize a 1920X1112 image into a 500X500 image. You can use any similar tool for cropping and resizing.
(Image cropped to 1112X1112)
(Image resized to 500X500)
Set Image Optimization on Autopilot
If all these above tasks sound really time-consuming and intense, then you can try setting image optimization on Autopilot. This can be achieved by using some of the popular WordPress plugins. These plugins do all the above tasks like resizing, cropping and compressing on autopilot based on the specs you have decided on.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? Here is a list of worthy WordPress plugins you can use for automating images on autopilot.
Image Optimization Plugins You Can Use
- Shortpixel –This is one of the most popular WordPress plugins that people use to edit images in bulk. The plugin helps you achieve lossless and perfect compressions and resizes in a matter of minutes and you can edit multiple pictures all at once. The plugin can also convert one format of the file to another seamlessly.
- Smush – Smush is another popular image optimization tool that is super friendly and easy to use. This comes with its own dashboard that will tell you how many images have been edited and how many remain. You can bulk compress or resize images through the plugin and also convert files from one form to another.
- Optimole – If you are a professional who wants more features in your editing tool, then Optimole is the perfect option for you. Optimole ensures images are resized correctly based on the platform they are viewed in. It means the image size automatically changes for laptops, tablets, and mobile phones to ensure the quality is perfect. Optimole is so smart that when it detects your user’s network is slow, it further compresses images so the load time will not be affected. It works efficiently and offers excellent image optimization features. Definitely check it out.
Image optimization is not something you can take for granted. Check the current speed of your website and identify what kind of lag the images are causing. Talk to a UI/UX developer and see how well you can optimize the images on your website to make the site load faster.
Neither search engines nor your users like slow and unresponsive websites and the wrong sized images can bring down your conversion rate and make your website dull and boring.
You can both manually optimize images or opt for auto optimizers. Either way, do check the final website look and speed on different platforms. If your existing website is slow and you have no idea if the images are the problem, talk to an expert. You can contact us and we will schedule a free consultation for you from our end. This is a good way for you to get some clarity on what to do to upgrade your website. Get in touch with us right away.