Back in the days of dial-up Internet savvy website owners went to great lengths to reduce the file size of their images.  Fast forward to 2018 and the Internet is much faster. The Internet is even pretty fast on smartphones (until you run out of data). 

Funny thing is will the added speed we have gotten less patient. Website viewers want to view your site and they want it now.  Images are a dominant factor on a website both is file size (speed of download) and visual space.

What is image optimization?

Optimizing website images is to deliver the best quality image in the right format, dimension, size, and resolution while keeping the smallest possible size to ensure fastest page load times.

Image optimization can be done in different ways be it by resizing the images, removing some images altogether, caching, and/or compressing the size.  Reducing the file size of an image is by far the most impactful way to speed up the website.  So yes you should optimize those images.

Here are 3 tips to help you optimize

1) Eliminate Unnecessary images

The first thing you should ask about your individual image is, “is it required to help you achieve your goal?”  Good design is clean and simple and it will deliver the best performance.  If you can eliminate a large image that could often be your best strategy.  This is a combination of science and art.

As an artist am I recommending to you that you have a website without images?  Not at all, a proper image can say much more than a 1000 words.  I, however, recommend that you become very intentional in your image choices.  Countless studies show the value of imagery on a website, I’m just encouraging you to best smart with their use.

Try to never use images for text background color and gradients, button and navigational elements.  You can achieve the same effect with HTML and CSS.

2) Use good software

The simplest way to optimize existing images might use an online tool like Optimizilla – https://imagecompressor.com/ This free tool that will do a great job of optimizing your images.  You can also use professional grade software such as Adobe Photoshop or Afinity Photo.

3) Don’t forget to be Awesome

Before you start optimizing the images that you already have on your site.  Make sure they are great.  They will potentially draw more attention than any other single element on your site.  You can purchase affordable stock images, shoot your own, hire a photographer, or use a nice free site such as UnSplash https://unsplash.com/

Using graphics that are compelling and not just pretty encourages visitors to stay on your site longer. In fact, Marketing Sherpa reports that visitors stay on web pages featuring video content 100 percent longer than pages without video.

Google has a lot to say about image optimization as it relates to Website performance

https://developers.google.com/web/fundamentals/performance/optimizing-content-efficiency/image-optimization

Ready?  But, not sure where to start?

Depending on the size of your website it might sound like a daunting task to optimize your images.  I encourage to start with your home page and then work your way through your sitemap. If your site is large I recommend starting with the most visited pages.

With a little work, you can greatly improve the load times and user experience of your website.  If this still sounds like a difficult task, hire a geek. ~:-)