How to optimise website images and why it is so important
Your website is so important to your business, we know that. One of the most frustrating things when browsing the web is when you find that perfect website on Google, click on it and it takes forever to load. By the time it’s loaded you’ve already given up and disengaged with it.
One of the main causes for slow loading websites is the size of your website images. If you are able to edit your own website, your Agency may not have told you that every image you upload to your website should be fully optimised. Don’t worry though, there are a few ways, and it’s very easy to do.
In this day and age cameras and smartphones take large images (typically up to 8mb per photograph). It’s all too easy to upload these to your website. It may look great, but you have to remember that on page load, it’s loading MB’s of data. Imagine if a visitor has a 1mb internet connection, your site will take a whole 8 seconds just to load one image.
By optimising your website images you can reduce their physical size, which will ensure that your website footprint is small, meaning better loading speed and more engaged visitors.
Optimised images = Fast Loading Speed + Engaged Visitors
Unoptimised images = Slow Loading Speed + Disengaged Visitors
So, how do you optimise website images?
Option 1 – Use a plugin.
At Damteq we support WordPress, a fantastic content management system that allows our clients to edit their own websites. If you’re lucky enough to use a great CMS there are lots of plugins that will help you optimise your images.
- WP Smush
- EWWW Optimiser
- CW Image Optimizer
All of these plugins work in a similar way. Most of them you just need to install and run, there are a few simple settings which helps you manage how much it’ll cut the images down by. The plugins usually come with a free version with a few limitations, and a paid fully customisable option.
Option 2 – Use an online optimiser.
Although these websites offer free options, sometimes they add a little watermark to each image. A couple of the websites we’ve tried in a past offer some really easy options to individually scale down your images.
We’ve heard great things about Optimizilla which offers a drag and drop image uploader where it’ll optimise bulk images in just a couple of clicks.
Option 3 – Have a manual approach.
If you’re not using a content management system or if you regularly need to do lots of imagery, a good approach is to setup an action in Photoshop.
An action allows you to setup automation and save the action on your desktop. Within the action, you can setup the constraints and settings for the optimisation then simply drag all of the images straight onto the action which will run it and correctly format the images for the web.
If you don’t have an Adobe Photoshop licence you can use other software and even built in apps on your PC or Apple device.
Why is optimising images for the web so important?
So you now know a few of the options on how to optimise images for the web, but why is it so important?
In Google’s own words:
“Finding the optimal format and optimization strategy for your image assets requires careful analysis across many dimensions: type of data being encoded, image format capabilities, quality settings, resolution, and more. In addition, you need to consider whether some images are best served in a vector format, if the desired effects can be achieved via CSS, and how to deliver appropriately scaled assets for each type of device.”
Having an optimisation strategy for your images isn’t just for your visitor’s satisfaction. Page speed is a vital part of your SEO strategy. The faster your website loads, the more Google will love it and the more chance you have of ranking higher for your all important search terms.
There are tools on the web to help you analyse your image size. We trust and use Pingdom, they have a free tool where you pop in your website address and it’ll tell you what on page elements are slowing down your website.
If you’re looking at improving your site speed, why not speak to one of our specialists who can help you get the best out of your presence online.