Images – Your easiest page speed win

Images On Your Website: Bigger Isn’t Better!

Having a rich website means that you can’t just have page upon page of text. Instead, you need to have pictures, graphics and other interesting visuals that enhance the value of your website for visitors. What might surprise you here is that some images can actually hurt your website’s placement in search engine result placement. If you are confused, keep on reading.

Start From the Beginning

When the Internet first became the place for people to turn for information, the primary way of connecting was dial-up. Those of you who have experienced dial-up will clearly remember sites taking 15 minutes or longer to load and having to get off the Internet to make a phone call. Slow connections are the historical reason why some websites just skipped pictures on many pages. Now, connection speed isn’t an issue in many cases, but this doesn’t mean you should go adding pictures to your web pages all willy-nilly.

The New Problem

The problem these days is that everyone wants everything right away. There isn’t any tolerance for having to wait on things now. Think about how many people are willing to spend a bit more to get Amazon to deliver in two days than waiting another day or two and pay a lower price elsewhere. This gives you an idea of why speed is important. With the need for speed in mind, Google and other search engines take the loading speed of a website into account when they are evaluating and ranking websites.

Total Page Size is Everything

When you are creating a website, your ultimate goal is to have each page at less than 1 megabyte. That is the total of all the information on the page. All too often, web pages are 10 times (or more) bigger than this ideal limit. Think about the time difference it could take for a web page to load if it is 1 MB as opposed to one that is 10 MB.

Compress and Resize to Friendly Sizes

Ideally, you can compress and resize the images on your website. This won’t impact the experience your visitors have with your website because most websites only need pictures that are 500 pixels wide. Instead of trying to put an image up that your visitors won’t be able to see on a single screen and that will take forever (in today’s terms) to load, you can resize the image to one that is more user-friendly. Make sure you keep the aspect ratio the same so that the picture doesn’t look distorted on the website. This can help to enhance the reader’s experience without having a negative impact on the loading speed of the website.

Know Your Audience

Different viewing platforms require different image sizes. Having images ready to go for people who are on computers, smartphones, and laptops can help you to improve search engine placement results since you are meeting the needs of users on multiple devices. If nothing else, you should make sure that your images are mobile friendly so that mobile users won’t have to wait too long for an image to load. In some cases, images load slower on phones than they do on computers.

Choose the Right File Type

Not only do you need to think about the size of the image, you also need to think about the format. GIF files should only be used for animated images. Not many people have the knowledge on what is or how to use an SVG file, which can be a good thing since this type of file is often code-heavy. Another image file format, WebP images, aren’t currently supported by any browsers except Chrome and Opera. Instead, stick with using the standard formats like JPG and PNG, which are much better options at the moment. As the WebP file format opens up to more browsers, it will become the go-to standard in the future. When you are trying to decide between using a JPG and PNG, think about the file type. Typically, photos are saved as JPG whereas logos, artwork, and similar graphics would be saved as a PNG file. Not only can using the right file type improve the load speed for your website, it can also boost clarity and data transmission for the file.

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