How to Optimize Images for Websites: The Easy Guide

Search Engine Optimization
Apr
29

How to Optimize Images for Websites: The Easy Guide

04/29/2022 12:00 AM de Margot.C dentro Digital marketing, tips


Images are an important part of any website. They help to convey a message, and they also help to improve the user experience. However, if you don't optimize your images properly, they can actually have a negative impact on your website, the main one being that It significantly slows down your pages' loading speed.

In this blog post, we will talk about why image optimization is so important, and what factors you need to consider when optimizing your images. We will also discuss how to easily optimize images for websites in a way that doesn't compromise their quality.

Why Optimizing Images for Websites Matters so Much

Images are a necessary part of any website. They break up the text, add visual interest, and help convey your message. However, if you're not optimizing your images correctly, you're doing yourself a disservice. 

There are a few main reasons why optimizing your images is so crucial:

  • It significantly speeds up your pages' loading time.

This is important for two reasons: first because users are impatient and no one wants to wait for a slow website to load; and second, because Google takes page speed into consideration when ranking websites. So, if you want your website to rank high in search results, you need to make sure your pages load quickly.

  • It reduces your bandwidth usage.

This is important for two reasons as well: first because it can save you money (if you're on a limited bandwidth plan); and second, because it reduces strain on your server, which can improve your website's overall performance.

  • It makes your website more mobile-friendly.

With the increasing popularity of mobile devices, it's important to make sure your website looks good and works well on smaller screens. Optimizing your images will help to ensure that your website looks great on all devices.

So, now that we know why optimizing images is so important, let's talk about how to do it.

The 3 Basis of Image Optimization for Web

Choosing the Right File Format

The most common file formats are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • JPEG

They are great for photos because they support millions of colors and they can be compressed to reduce file size. However, you cant' use it for images with transparent backgrounds because they don't support transparency.

The JPEG format uses compression, which means that the file size will be smaller than a PNG of the same image. It also means that some quality is lost in the compression process. 

  • PNG

They are ideal for images with transparent backgrounds, but they don't support as many colors as JPEGs. PNG is best suited for images with more complex patterns, like graphics or logos. 

PNG format does not use compression, so the file size will be larger than a JPEG of the same image. However, this means that all quality is preserved.

  • GIF

GIFs are only used for very small and basic images, such as icons. They don't support as many colors as JPEGs or PNGs, so they tend to produce lower-quality images. It's the best format for animated images.

Compressing Your Images

Image compression is the process of reducing the size of a digital image file. Image files are typically compressed to reduce transmission time or to save storage space. So the smaller the file, the faster it will load.

There are several different methods for compressing images, including lossy and lossless compression. Lossy compression involves discarding some of the image data in order to achieve a smaller file size, while lossless compression retains all of the original data but results in a marginally larger file.

MB (megabytes) are typically used to measure the size of larger files while KB (kilobytes) are used to measure smaller files (1 MB is equal to 1000 KB).

For example, photos taken with a camera or smartphone will typically be high-resolution images; meaning they are large size files that can take a few MB each. You would need this kind of quality if you want to print them, but it is totally useless when used for the web.

By compressing such photos, you can reduce their size from 1 or 2 MB to only a few hundred KB! Take a look at the 2 pictures below :

 

 

The left picture is the original, while the right one is the result after compression. This means compression alone reduced its size by almost 70%. And yet, there are no visible differences between the two.

In most cases, lossy compression provides an acceptable degree of fidelity for many users, particularly when applied to images with low contrast or large areas of solid color. Therefore, reducing the quality is fine as long as your image still looks good on screens.

Reducing Your Images' Dimensions

Resizing your images is a very easy way to reduce your file's size and the space it takes on your website. If your images are too large, you can resize them to be smaller without losing quality.

Again, this is about what your image will look like on a screen. Images are automatically resized to fit the screen they appear on. You can have more or less big screens depending on the device used to look at the images.

Have a look at the two photos below.

 

 

They are identical photos that appear the same size on the screen. However, the original image on the left takes almost 9 times more space than the resized one on the right. So using quality photos with thousands and thousands of pixels will only make your site heavier than necessary.

You might need full-width images when you use them as background, but in most cases, images for websites shouldn't have to be more than 1500px in height and 1000px in width.

Finally, another way to do this is to crop your images. If you don't need the whole image, you can crop it to remove the parts you feel are not needed.

How to Optimize Images for Websites Without Compromising Quality

Using Online Tools

Your best and fastest option is to use an image compression tool online. Those magic tools can reduce the size of your file anywhere from 20% to 80%!

FreeSeoTools offers you a 100% free and easy-to-use Image Optimizer Tool that can compress JPEG and PNG files without sacrificing quality. Just select the image or images you want to compress and click on ¨Compress Files¨.

 

 

You can also use our Image Resizer Tool and Image Crop Tool to resize your image and reduce them even more! To resize your image, just enter the new dimensions in pixels in the designated fields and click on ¨Resize¨.

 

 

Other online tools include Compressor.io (Pro Plan from $50/year) and TinyPNG (Pro Features from $39/year).

Using Software

You can use image-editing software to optimize your images. These programs will let you resize, crop, and compress your images without losing much quality.

If you have Photoshop, you can use the "Save for Web" feature to optimize your images (shortcut: Alt + Ctrl + Shirt + S). This feature lets you choose the file format, quality, and size of your image.

IMAGE : SCREENSHOT PHOTOSHOP SAVE FOR WEB

If you don't have Photoshop, you can use GIMP. Although its learning curve is a bit steep, it's a free program that has many of the same features as Photoshop.

To resize an image with GIMP, you can go to Image > Scale Image. Once it is scaled, you can compress it by going to File > Export As. Choose the file format you want within the list below ¨Select File Type¨ and click on the "Export" button. You can then select the desired quality of your image.

 

 

Conclusion

Images are an important part of any website. Not only do they add visual interest, but they also play a role in the overall user experience and can help improve your website’s SEO. 

That said, it’s important to optimize your images for the web so that they load quickly and look great on all devices. Optimizing images for the web without sacrificing quality doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming. Just remember the 3 tips I mentioned earlier :

  • Choose the right file format
  • Compress your images
  • Reduce dimensions when possible

And if you want to know more tricks on how to make your websites load even faster, check out our previous article 9 Reasons Why Your Website Is Running Slow - How to Fix the Issue.


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