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Why you should optimize images for the web

Why you should optimize images for the web

Images are an integral part of most websites. They can make them more eye-catching and memorable. However, while large photos are in vogue today, higher resolutions mean larger file sizes, which lead to slow page speed and poor user experience.

Thus, to minimize the loading speed of your website, you should optimize your images for the web. In other words, you should decrease their file size. If you don't know how to do it, you came to the right place! In the following article, we will outline the most common image compression methods out there.

The benefits of using optimized images

The question is – are there benefits to having optimized images on your website? The answer is yes, there are. Check them out!

  • Improved website load speed. Page speed is the time a site needs to load completely. It depends on many factors, including website layout and design. In general, websites that have a load speed of fewer than two seconds are favored among internet users. As we have already mentioned, image file size has a huge impact on page speed. If you optimize your images, your page speed is guaranteed to improve.
  • Improved SEO. With optimized images, your site will rank higher in search engine results. Large files slow down websites and search engines hate slow sites. Google is also likely to crawl and index optimized images faster if they were to appear in Google image search.
  • Boosted conversions. If the goal of your website redesign is to increase conversions and grow your business, you have to optimize the images it contains for the web. According to research, slow page speed can decrease conversion rate. By speeding your website up, you are going to make your website visitors much more likely to convert.
  • Reduced bounce rate. Users tend to leave websites that are slow and clunky. So, by optimizing your website images and improving your page load speed, you make your website visitors more likely to stay on your website.

Read also: Understanding website speed and its importance in e-commerce

File types and image compression

The main goal of image optimization is to strike a balance between low file size and good image quality. There are several ways to do image optimization. A popular one is to compress images before uploading them to the web.

By using a proper file format and compression method, you can lower your image size by up to five times. However, before you upload the image to your website, you will have to try different file formats to see what works best. The file formats listed below are the most popular ones when it comes to websites.

  • JPEG JPEG is called the "real" file format, as it shows the image in the most accurate way possible. It uses lossy and lossless optimization.

  • PNG It produces high-quality images, but also has a larger file size. Was created as a lossless image format, although it can also be lossy. PNG files are necessary if the image has transparent parts, but if it does not, it is better to use the JPG format.

  • WEBP A file format developed by Google. It supports both lossless and lossy compression. It can reduce the image file size by up to 35% more than JPEG and PNG while still keeping its quality.

  • SVG A two-dimensional vector format that offers lossless compression. SVG files can include vector shapes, raster, and text.

Now, we will explain what the two types of compression that you can use are – lossy and lossless.

When it comes to lossless compression, image size is reduced while its quality remains the same. This will always be true, no matter how many times you compress and decompress an image. The amount of data within the image, as well as its original quality will always remain the same.

In contrast, lossy compression is a type of compression in which, with each compression and decompression of the image file, its quality decreases and the data it displays becomes worse and worse. The biggest advantage of lossy compression is that it can greatly reduce image file size.

What type of compression should you use and when? It depends on whether you want to lower the quality of the image you're optimizing for the web. If you want it to stay as it is, it's best to use lossless compression.

Image optimization options

Manual compression – You can always optimize an image by hand. Just use the optimization option that many photo editors have and experiment with different file format. You could also use an online image compression tool.

Using the ‘srcset’ attribute – With it, the original, usually large image size can be greatly reduced.

Automatic optimization with a CMS - Different content management systems are equipped with various plugins that automatically optimize photos when you are uploading them to the server. Unfortunately, these plugins tend to be something that you have to pay for.

Lazy loading – This technique forces the web browser to immediately load content that doesn't contain any images or videos. Downloading and displaying additional images and videos will be delayed until the visitor scrolls down and views the part of the page where an image or a video is present. Lazy loading is a key functionality that every website should have. It prevents all images from being downloaded as soon as you first access the site, which can slow it down significantly.

Content-heavy websites that utilize multiple images to showcase their products can greatly improve their user experience thanks to image compression. Here is the custom e-commerce SENECA website with a bunch of optimized images, created by Adchitects.

Our optimized approach - we work with more than just images

Remember to always upload images that aren't that big and don't weigh too much. Both of these factors are very important for image optimization. While the entire process of image optimization might be a bit time-consuming, it will likely lower your site's bounce rate and improve its load speed.

At Adchitects, we build websites in accordance with the most innovative web design standards. Our work is never truly over. Once a website goes live, we can help our clients maintain it, and that includes keeping the images on it optimized.. We also offer website analysis services aimed at improving load times and accessibility. If you'd like us to help you with website optimization, make sure to drop us a line. We will be more than happy to lend you a hand!

Rafał Pawlak

Chief Operating Officer

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