How to effectively optimize images for websites
Accessing a website should be a simple process, if your users have to spend a while in front of the screen waiting for it to load, chances are your search rank is going to be pretty low!
What you should be aiming for is a good user experience for anyone going to your website. Whether they’re browsing through your articles or going through your contact details, a smooth entry and exit point means your users will not only go through your website with ease but will be more inclined to pay a second visit.
Images can increase considerably the time it takes for your website to load. That's why in this article, we rounded up all the necessary steps you can take to optimize images for websites. Keep reading to check our top tips.
Image size reduction is key.
There are many ways and suggestions regarding website image optimization.
Reduce the compression of an image. You can just use some effective compressions like websafe JPG types. In photoshop, you have to use "Export" and "Save for Web (Legacy)" options. This is very useful.
Try to avoid alpha PNGs. These are the PNGs with a transparent background. Try to use low compressed JPGs with a matching background to the website's original background.
If you want to use alpha PNGs, (sometimes they look better and more useful) use a lower compressed version. Reduced-sized alpha PNGs can also be saved with the same method as mentioned above via Photoshop.
Use external sources for the images. This way it won't fill up your storage, and in some cases, the outer source can be faster, and won't take so much loading time. For example, Google Drive servers are faster and more reliable, than a local hosting supporter.
You can use other image size reduction tools such as ImageOptim. Sometimes it will result in a way worse looking image, and they also may damage the quality, but it's up to you to decide what your main goal is.
Don’t use images where you don’t need to.
For example, in many cases, web designers use an image background for the full website. Even if it's a pattern-based background, it can be skipped. Use a color instead, or simple gradients. That can do the job perfectly without taking up your loading times.
Try to avoid an image when it's just a placeholder. All images need to be in the right place and need to be a useful part of the whole website. Illustrations are very useful for example. Images meant simply for aesthetic purposes without a functional aspect are only wasting your loading time.
Use icons instead of images.
Where it's available, use a simple web icon instead of using high-quality images. This also helps a lot. High-quality images are pretty to look at but can increase your website's load speed. Especially if they are not contributing to the functionality of your website, try switching from images to icons. Icons can do the job just as easily and don't increase your load time.
Don’t use fancy fonts for your site.
Texts don't take up too much of the loading time because at the end of the day, from a technical standpoint, It's just plain text. Though you might be inclined to add them for the aesthetics, fancy fonts are not only hard to read but as complex character sets have large file sizes and so load considerably slower. Another point worth mentioning is that, you should avoid using too many fonts on one site, 2-3 fonts are enough to delineate a unity and font hierarchy across your site. We have a number of tools that could help you choose the right kind of font for your site! Just check out our article on 29 Digital Marketing Tools We Can't Go Without - Content Creation, Design, and SEO.
Key takeaways: Keep it relevant
There are multiple other ways to optimize images for web speed. These are only the visual side of the game. If you’d like to learn more about you can optimize your landing page, check out our article on How to Optimize Your Landing Pages for Better Conversions.