One of the most frustrating situations for any web developer is poor website performance. The feelings of frustration are magnified when you’ve taken time to construct a streamlined website architecture, but still suffer from longer-than-desired load times due to poor image optimization.
Perhaps the culprit isn’t the infrastructure of your platform, but rather, its images. As we all know, images are vital for audience connection. In fact, visual infographics and other images are among the most important on-page elements for SEO and user-engagement. However, if your images aren’t properly optimized, these integral page elements become the very reason why you’re experiencing sluggish website performance.
While there’s many ways to optimize images, let’s briefly discuss the most essential image optimization tips for 2018. At the conclusion, you’ll have a solid understanding of how you can manipulate any image to work for you, and not against you.
Image Compression for Dynamic Performance
It should go without saying, image compression is absolutely necessary in the 21st Century. While you may require large, detailed images for your site, if the image file is too large, you’re going to waste precious time.
Did you know that the average internet user only waits three-seconds for an entire page to load on their desktop, and five-seconds on mobile devices? Needless to say, if you aren’t compressing your images, you’re losing out on potentially hundreds (if not thousands) of views. Therefore, the most crucial step you should take when it comes to boosting website performance is reducing image sizes.
The easiest way to accomplish this is with Adobe Photoshop. The reason for this is simple: it’s designed to export images specifically for the web. Unfortunately, Photoshop is expensive and may not be within your budget. So, what do you do then? Thankfully, there’s a host of free options, such as:
While these options may not work for everyone, the bulk of web projects can benefit from utilizing their image compression tools.
The Size of Speed – Ideal Image File Size
This is among the most debated topics when it comes to image optimization. While there are extraordinary circumstances, which follow different rules, in general aim to keep your image files below 70kb.
While this may sound quite small, it’s actually the perfect size for the bulk of websites. This leads us to the next topic…
The Battle of Formats – Ideal Image File Type
Depending on who you ask, image file types, or formats, varies based on why and where the image is used. While there are exceptions to this rule, in general, JPEG images are best. Why is this? Well, the answer boils down to compression quality.
Regardless of how large or small the file is, when compressed, JPEG images keep their overall quality. While some developers prefer GIF or PNG file formats, when compressed to the recommended 70kb size, they lose detail and gain graininess. Prevent your images from degrading by choosing JPEG file formats. Trust us, your images (and viewers) will thank you.