Why optimizing images on your website is critical and why your visitors agree

Home/Image Optimization, Web Best Practices/Why optimizing images on your website is critical and why your visitors agree

We are constantly asked questions about using images the right way on websites.

What is image optimization, and why should I care?

Image optimization is the process of compressing and reducing the image quality and file size. Right now you’re asking yourself why you’d want to reduce image quality? Mobile users. That’s why. With less than a third of your website traffic coming from desktops, keeping mobile users engaged is critical to the success of your website. Plus, unoptimized images are big. Like, real big. This not only affects load times, but data usage. We’re not surprised when our clients upload images that are over 1MB and are shocked that mobile users are abandoning their site in large numbers.

I found this great image on Google… I can use it on my website, right?

NO! Just because you found an image on Google doesn’t mean that you have the legal rights to use it. There are many resources for purchasing stock photography, like fotolia or istockphoto, that you shouldn’t risk copyright infringement. You could even use a website like Librestock to search for images in the public domain.

Better yet, grab your smartphone and begin taking photos yourself. Here’s a great article on taking your own photos.

I don’t have Photoshop, what should I do?

Don’t worry, there are many free photo editing programs available. Pixlr and GIMP are among the most popular, but even using a program like MS Paint is better than nothing.

Can I upload images directly from my smartphone to my website without editing them?

Smartphones today have amazing cameras that make it really easy to take photos. Of course, you’ll want to take a few minutes to make sure you follow a few best practices:

  1. Crop out unnecessary or unflattering parts of your image to present your brand in the best possible light.
  2. Be considerate of where you plan on using the image:
    • Does the image need to be portrait, landscape, or square?
    • Does it need to be a specific width and height, or will your website adjust to fit the image?
  3. Be careful of the file size you’re exporting. A good rule of thumb for web images is to keep them under 100k. Not sure how to reduce the file size? Keep reading.

I have my images already, but how do I optimize them?

Using an online service, like Tinypng or Optimizilla, will allow you to compress images. Reducing file size without losing image quality is the key here, but both of these services are up to the task. Optimizilla gives you realtime feedback on quality and file size, while Tinypng will automatically give you the best result without any image quality loss.

Check out the image below for a side-by-side comparison of an image that has and has not been optimized. You probably won’t be able to see the difference, but your mobile visitors will thank you.

mountains-size-comparison

All file types are the same, right?

Not quite. Knowing when to use the right file type is often the first step to image optimization.

  • JPG – Best used for photos, but one of the most common and easiest file types to optimize.
  • GIF – Best used for animations, but be careful of file sizes and number of frames.
  • PNG – Best used for images with transparent backgrounds, but generally the largest uncompressed file type.

What if I don’t want to do this myself?

We’ve got you covered. We’re a forward leaning, one-stop digital marketing agency that will help take your brand to the next level and keep you ahead of the curve. Shoot us an email or give us a call today at (330) 334-3132.
By | 2016-11-01T09:37:03+00:00 October 24th, 2016|Categories: Image Optimization, Web Best Practices|

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