Amazon has calculated that for a 1-second page slow down; they could lose $1.6 billion in sales each year. Now, you may understand how essential it is to load your site as quickly as possible. Users expect your site to load within 2 seconds; otherwise, they will lose interest and abandon your page.
To ensure this, you need to optimize your site, and image optimization is one of the key ways to confirm this. If you are not sure how to optimize images for Web without losing quality, we got you covered.
Today, we will cover the best practices in optimizing images for faster web performance. So, stay with this guide.
Why is Image Optimization Important?
Generally speaking, image optimization implies reducing or decreasing the size of each image without affecting its quality. By resizing and compressing the actual image site into the smallest possible size, format, and dimension, you can do this.
You must be wondering, how big of a difference can image optimization make? So, here’s when you upload optimized images to your website-
- They will usually take less storage space on the server,
- The browser can download the images, taking minimal time and bandwidth,
- Your website will load quickly, which resulting in ensuring optimal user experience,
- Creating backups will be faster,
- You will experience a decrease in bounce rate, improved conversion rate, and top search ranking.
As per research, images makeup on average 21% of a web page’s overall weight.
That means to ensure better web performance and experience all the above benefits, and you should optimize your web images. So, focus on finding a balance between the smallest file size along with acceptable image quality. With that in mind, let’s move forward to the next section.
How to Optimize Images for Web Without Losing Quality?
We all know, Google prioritizes a website with faster speed; as a result, it can provide a better user experience and attain an improved conversion rate. In that case, along with all other SEO best practices, image optimization is something that you can’t avoid doing in a successful business.
Mainly, three things play a huge role in image optimization. And these are-
- Image file format
- Image compression
- Image dimension
Ensuring the right combination among these three factors can reduce the image size by up to 80% without affecting the quality. So, let’s have a look at how to optimize images for Web without losing quality.
1. Image File Format
Generally, there are 3 types of files that most website owners use like JPEG, PNG, and GIF. In this case, knowing the right type of file for a specific image plays an essential role in optimizing them.
- JPEG is also known as a JPG file and is the most popular image file type for the web.
- Perfect for photographs, homepage hero banners/images, or complex images containing complex patterns, different colors, gradients, shadows, etc.
- Consists of a huge color palette to work with JPEGs that can conveniently handle these types of images.
- JPGs produce high-quality images and are usually smaller in size than other formats.
- Larger than JPEG files and can be effectively compressed without losing quality.
- The file format is transparent, which is suitable for small images.
- PNGs work great for logos, as logos always require transparency and come in high quality.
- This file type is best for rendering flat areas of color very well.
- Uses 256 colors along with lossless compression.
- Best choice for embedding animated images.
- The file size is huge and, therefore, should be used minimally.
- For product photos, try to avoid GIFs.
2. Image Dimension
One of the easiest ways to optimize images is to resize them. Let’s say you are using an image as a full-screen background or hero image for your website. Here, you can keep the image size about 2000 pixels wide. While resizing the dimension of your image, keep the pixel-wide size of the website content in mind. Generally, it stays around 900-1200 pixels wide.
For Mac Users-
- Open the image in Preview > Tools > Adjust Size.
- Then, set the dimensions according to height, width, resolution, etc.
For Windows Users
- To resize your images, there are tools like ImageResizer, Paint, Canva, etc., So, download and install any one of them.
- From these apps, you will have several options to resize your image.
Here is an example of ImageResizer and how it works to resize the images.
For example, an image with 1.8M, 300 DPI resolution, and 4900×3200 pixel dimensions is not suitable for your website, as it will take more space. In this case, if you choose JPEG format and change the dimensions to 1200×800 pixels, the size will be reduced by 103 KB. That means the new size will be 94% less than the original one, which is perfect for your website.
3. Image Compression
In this process, your image runs through an algorithm that crunches the size of the image down. A general rule of thumb is, the web image should never be larger than 1 MB. You should keep the normal image file size within 70kb-400kb, which is 1MB=1000kb.
However, there are two types of compression that you can use-
It’s a filter that degrades the image by eliminating some of the data that came with the original image. In that case, you have to be very careful about how much to reduce the image.
This filter compresses the data without removing any information from the original file. It will require the images to be uncompressed before they can be rendered without reducing the quality. Using Photoshop, FileOptimizer, or ImageOptim, you can perform lossless compression on your desktop.
4. Use Descriptive Caption and Alt Tags
It doesn’t take much time to add a caption and alt tag, but the reality is many people don’t concentrate on these two facts. While in SEO, it’s essential to use relevant keywords in captions and alt tags to describe what the image is about. In this way, Google finds it easy to crawl the text on your website and scan for keywords.
5. Serve Images From a CDN
It is another great way to optimize your images. CDN, which implies Content Delivery Network, serves the cached images from its globally distributed proxy servers network to users. By loading images that are geographically closest to the users from their cache or proxy servers, CDNs employ real-time image optimization.
This way, it offers the users a fast-loading experience as the serving image’s burden has been taken away from the server. To determine the size and file format of the images, CDNs also use device detection. So, here are some of the CDNs that you may consider-
When you have to work with larger file sizes or lots of images on a page, two optimization processes can help you much. With these processes, you not only optimize your images but also optimize the load experience of your web page for the visitors. So, let’s figure out them-
Use the “Blur Up” Technique:
This Blur-Up technique helps you to optimize the load experienced by giving the appearance of faster loading images. In this way, your site visitors think your images are loading faster than they really are, and they don’t have to start at a blank page.
To do this, you should load an LQI, which is a Lower Quality Image or smaller version of your image, first. By doing so, the browser will load the smaller version first before loading the full size of the image. As a result, it gives the users something to look at and perception of faster loading.
Similar to the above process, “Lazy Loading” also helps to provide an appearance of faster loading images. Generally, users start from the top of the page when landed on your site. And the maximum time it takes some moment to scroll down the entire page.
So, here, with lazy loading, the images within the browser view load fully first, and until the user scrolls to the below section, the other images load a placeholder first. If you are working with WordPress, you can use this BJ Lazy Load tool to make the process easier.
Best Image Optimization Tools
There are several image optimization tools available online. These tools will make your optimization process easier and effortless. So, here are the most popular and best tools are-
- Image Optimizer
Image Optimization Plugins for WordPress
The idle way to optimize your website image is by optimizing them using the WordPress plugin. Using the plugins, you can effectively speed up the website loading time. So, here is the list of the best WordPress plugins-
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- Compress JPEG & PNG images
- ShortPixel Image Optimizer
- WP Smush
- Optimus Image Optimizer
Before choosing any plugin, make sure to consider how they work. Some of the plugins use server-taxing operations, FTP options, and others that may cause some issues on your site.
Best Practices to Consider When Optimizing Images for Web
When it comes to optimizing images for your web, you should consider the following best practices-
- Whenever possible, try to use vector images alongside your PNGs and JPGs.
- Use CSS3 effects.
- Serve scaled image.
- Reduce the bit-depth to a smaller color palette.
- Use the .ico file format for your favicon.
- Remove unnecessary image data.
- Instead of placing text within images, use web fonts. They look good when scaled and also take less space.
- For scenes with lots of shapes and details, use raster images.
- Save images as “optimized for web” in tools such as Photoshop.
- For each image, you should experiment to find the best settings.
- Remove unneeded image metadata.
- You should automate the process.
- Use WebP in Chrome to serve up in smaller images.
Ensuring user experience should be one of the topmost priorities for every site owner. And your faster web pages can improve your user experience as well as search engine rankings. Therefore, you should prioritize image optimization along with other SEO best practices.
So, if you haven’t optimized your site images, get started following this guide. Once optimizing the images, you will see a huge difference in the site speed. So, there it is; hopefully, this guide helped you to learn how to optimize images for web without losing quality. Enjoy the faster loading speed and grow your business with perfectly optimized images.