4 GOLDEN RULES OF IMAGE OPTIMIZATION FOR YOUR WEBSITE
For every image or picture, a pair of eyes runs through, a thousand and more words are understood. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘a picture says more than a thousand words.’ This phrase should always have a seat at the back of your mind every time you decide to incorporate a picture in your Website. It is no news that the image on your website gives an overview and tells more about your website before a visitor can go through your content. Therefore, whatever image you use should engage your reader and not send them running at first sight.
Choosing the right image to lure in your reader can get quite tricky and difficult as you have to use an image that engages them and doesn’t take up more of your disk space on your webpage. Optimizing images for your webpage can be fun, but when these images take up more of your webpage disk space causing your page to load slowly, then it becomes a disaster for your website.
Time is what nobody has in this era of abundant technology; therefore, no reader would want to waste ages waiting for a webpage to load. Have also at the back of your mind that the smaller the space used up on your webpage disk space during hosting, the faster your site loads and the smaller the data used by your reader. Therefore, optimizing images correctly on your site is one way of reeling in more readers to go through your content and get whatever information you have there for them.
So, how do you choose? These 4 Golden rules below will unravel the secret to appropriate optimization of images on your site
CHOOSE THE RIGHT IMAGE EXTENSION
Your file length influences the size of that file and so should be considered during image optimization for your site. Three major types of file extensions can be used for your website, and they are; JPEG (also known as JPG), GIF and PNG. These three can be differentiated with the parameters of size and quality. So, for every website and its conditions, a different extension is appropriate.
JPEG (Joint Pictures Expert Group): JPEG is an extension that accommodates a lot of colors and the most used format for website photos. It helps for picture compression, but you should understand that the more you compress a picture in JPEG format, the more quality it loses. You can use JPEG if image size is more important than quality and for photographs. There might not be a noticeable quality loss if the original image is of good quality. Therefore remember that with JPEG, more reduction in size means more reduction in quality.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format): GIF, unlike JPEG, is restricted to 256 colors even though its compression is excellent. It creates a sequence of images as if it were a video. GIF can be used for marks, icons, black and white or grayscale images.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics): This allows a lot of colors and is appropriate for photographs but unfortunately, has a smaller compression, therefore, making the file larger than a JPEG file after all. Unlike JPEG which losses its quality upon reduction of image size, PNG maintains its quality and so is a better file extension for vectors, photographs with typography and illustrations. PNG can also aid in the editing of the image without losing the image quality.
Therefore when you take into account the pros and cons of the three formats, you will find out which format best suits your site.
COMPRESS IMAGES BEFORE POSTING THEM ON YOUR SITE
Even though your image is in already compressed formats like JPEG or PNG, you can still reduce your images. Why hammer on compression you may ask? Here’s your answer.
Compression is everything when it comes to saving disk space. Saving disk space makes your site, lightweight, therefore, enabling it to load easily and faster when clicked on and this helps your Google ranking. Oh, how Google loves lightweight sites.
Compression works by turning repeating pixels into one, therefore, reducing the number of pixels in an image and reducing its size. Some image compression tools like Photoshop are paid for but has alternative sites such as TinyPNG/JPEG.
NAME YOUR IMAGES CORRECTLY
Google reads image titles and so naming your images according to what it represents is an excellent way to optimize your images. Do not use common names as it might bring up your site or the image from your site in an unrelated search. Remember to use special characters, accents and hyphens (for word separation. For example; how-to-make-yam-pie) during naming.
You could also use ‘Alt Text’ which means Alternative texting which allows for proper image description without the use of hyphens and special characters. For example ‘Engineer working on site’.
BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR IMAGE DIMENSIONS
Aesthetics attracts more eyes and visitors to your site and images count for aesthetics. Therefore, it would be foolish to upload a picture whose width is more than your site’s template. Remember how slow your site responds when the disk space in the hosting is overloaded? That should be a good reminder so that you will be very careful during image optimization.
Have it at the back of your mind that besides technically, the rules above are aesthetically valuable and would simplify your optimization process to get images that do not slow down your site load duration but also attracts readers and keeps your page ranking on Google.