Optimizing Images for Better Site Performance: A Complete Guide

by | Last Updated Sep 9, 2022 | Performance and Optimisation | 0 comments

Images are vital for keeping users engaged and improving website performance. Regardless of the type of website you have, use image content to your advantage.

However, if your images aren’t optimized, they can take up a lot of storage space and slow down your website’s loading speed. In fact, roughly 39% of visitors will leave a website due to a slow image loading time. So it’s critical to optimize your images for better performance and a better experience for site visitors.

You can reduce their file size by optimizing your images without sacrificing quality. This will help your website load faster and improve your SEO.

In this guide, we’ll show you how to optimize your images for the web. We’ll cover everything from compression tips to image format recommendations. We’ll list a few of our favorite tools to help make the process easier!

What Is Image Optimization

Optimizing your website’s images can help improve its performance and ranking. The process of image optimization involves adjusting the quality and size of your images and choosing the appropriate format and resolution. You can keep your website looking great while reducing file size and improving loading times by optimizing your images.

The Importance of Image Optimization

Optimized images will enhance the speed and performance of your website, including SEO rankings and User Experience. Here are some of the advantages of image optimization in more detail.

1 – Utilization of Resources More Effectively

Images that are larger tend to take up more storage space and require more bandwidth for users to view them successfully.

If you’re running a website on a tight budget, you’ll need to make the most of every available gigabyte.

Optimizing your images can help reduce the bandwidth and disk space needed to display them and improve page load times for your visitors. It’s a great way to make sure your site is running smoothly – so why not try it today?

A lighter website will help you save time when creating backups, and that’s a significant improvement you can see.

2 – A Better Ranking

Page speed has become an integral part of Google’s ranking algorithm, which favors websites that load quickly and offer a superior user experience. Slow-loading websites can be penalized as a result. Your website is up to par by optimizing your images, code, and hosting.

If you want your website to load quickly and have a better chance of being discovered in Google Image Search, optimize your media files! Use free tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to test your site speed.

3 – An Improved User Experience

Optimizing your images can have a lot of benefits, including faster page load times and an improved user experience. The more quickly your site loads and the easier it is to explore, visitors will likely spend some time on your site.

Adding alt texts to your images is an integral part of the image optimization process – it helps improve site accessibility for all users. We’ll discuss this process in more detail later in the article.

Tips for Optimizing Images to Increase Website Speed

This section will discuss things you need to consider when optimizing your images, such as the image format, file size, and resolution. You can ensure that your pictures look great on any device by following these guidelines.

1 – Select the Right Format for Your Files

If you’re looking to optimize your images, it’s essential to understand the different image formats. Vector and raster images are the two main types, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Let’s take a closer look at each one:

If you’re looking for a versatile image format that will look great at any size, vector files are the way to go. Vector formats like SVG, PDF, EPS, and AI are ideal for logos and icons because they use lines, points, and colors instead of pixels. This means you can scale them up or down without losing quality.

On the other hand, raster images are pixel-based, meaning they are resolution-dependent. This means that they lose quality when resized, becoming blurry or pixelated. However, there are several image file formats in the raster category that you can choose from, including JPEG, PNG, GIF, and RAW.

Different file formats work well on most browsers and can be edited with most image editing software. Let’s take a look at them!

JPEG

JPEGs are a popular image file format supported by nearly all devices and operating systems. They are relatively small, so they don’t slow down web page load times and are quicker to upload or transfer.

JPEG files are excellent at preserving color data, although the smaller the file size, the lower the image quality. JPEGs use lossy compression, meaning that each time a JPEG format is edited, it eliminates more data.

Although this format won’t work well on images that require continuous adjustments, it’ll be perfect for those that contain text. The text will remain easy to read after reducing the file size.

GIF

Although GIF files are not as sharp in quality as other raster formats, they are transparent, support simple line drawings, and have small file sizes. This makes them a suitable format for images with limited colors or that need to be used on the web.

GIFs are a great way to create engaging content! They load more quickly and consume less bandwidth, making them ideal for sharing simple images on banner ads, blogs, and social media.

Make A GIF and Giphy are two great websites that allow you to easily create GIFs and save them all in one place. Creating GIFs is a fun way to share your experiences with others, and these websites make it easy to do so.

Giphy Home Page

PNG

PNG files are popular for website images because they can have 256 colors and support partially transparent images. This makes them more efficient than GIFs and able to display higher quality images than JPEGs.

If you need to create or save images with smooth transitions between colors, PNG images are a great choice. PNG is a better file format option for logos, icons, and simple illustrations. With their high quality and compression abilities, you can be sure your images will look fabulous no matter where they’re used.

PNG is an excellent format for images with text, like screenshots, infographics, and banners. However, since this file format is substantially larger than JPEG, using too many PNG files can slow down your webpage load time.

WebP

Google’s new WebP image format is an excellent solution for improving lossless and lossy compression. It combines the best features of other popular web image formats, such as replacing GIFs for animations and PNGs for transparency.

Don’t worry if your content management system (CMS) doesn’t currently support WebP images – WordPress 5.8 and higher versions have you covered! Upload your WebP images to the media library as usual, and they’ll look great on your website.

You can easily convert your images into WebP format by installing a plugin like EWWW IO, ShortPixel, or Optimole.

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2 – Compress Your Images

When compressing image files, it’s important to remember that smaller file sizes can often lead to lower image quality. However, this doesn’t have to be the case – by using the correct compression settings, you can achieve smaller file sizes without sacrificing quality.

You’ll save on storage and bandwidth usage and provide a faster experience for your site visitors. Choose an image compression method that doesn’t sacrifice quality, considering the image’s content, color gradients, and detail complexity.

If you’re looking for a way to reduce the file size of your images, consider using raster files instead of vector images. You can use lossy or lossless compression techniques to achieve the desired results with raster images.

Lossy compression will result in smaller file size, but the image will lose some data. If you don’t mind sacrificing some image quality, lossy compression is an excellent technique for reducing file size.

Although lossless compression can slow down your website, the improved image quality is worth it. So if you’re looking for the best possible visuals on your site, go with lossless compression.

By compressing your images using the best practices below, you can ensure that they look great and take up less space. Programs like Adobe Photoshop come with built-in compression tools, so it’s easy to get started.

1 – Make sure to compress your images before uploading them to your website! This will help you save disk space and speed up the upload process.

2 – If you have a lot of images, you should consider automating the compression. Compressing images manually can take a long time, but automation makes it quick and easy. You can automatically compress your images into different formats and give them meaningful file names. So if speed and efficiency are of primary importance to you, automate your image compression!

3 – Make sure to tailor your image compression formats based on your targeting device. On your website, images with a lower resolution might still look great on mobile devices and provide a better user experience.

Suppose you’re looking to improve the performance of your website. In that case, GTMetrix is a helpful tool for identifying images that need optimization. With its easy-to-use interface, you can quickly get a report on each image’s file size and loading time on your site. This makes it easy to identify which images need improvement and makes your website faster and more efficient.

3 – Image Dimensions Should Be Appropriate

Don’t worry if you’re unsure of the difference between image size and dimension – many people don’t. Image size refers to how much storage space an image takes up on your website, while image dimension refers to the height and width of the image based on pixels. But both are important concepts to understand when it comes to creating and managing image content for your website.

Using images with incorrect dimensions can slow down your website’s load speed. For example, use a 1000 x 1000 px image for a 100 x 100 px thumbnail. Before displaying the image to site visitors, the web browser must correctly download and scale the picture. Make sure all of your images are sized correctly for their intended use to ensure a smooth browsing experience for your visitors.

You can avoid having your website look cluttered or unprofessional by serving scaled images. Whether it is a thumbnail or a full-width image, scaled images adjust to the specific dimensions needed for the website. Suppose you’d like to resize images to fit your site better. In that case, you can use online image editors like PicResize or offline tools like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP.

You can crop images using the WordPress media library or other built-in tools and plugins, but I don’t recommend it. It’s good to crop your photos before uploading them to your WordPress site. This will help avoid creating multiple image versions and consuming extra disk space.

The inspection tool of your browser will let you know the maximum display size of an image. Alternatively, there are several extensions you can install to measure different elements on a web page. These tools will help you make sure that your pictures and other details look great on any device! This may be a bit technical, so read on if you aren’t up for it!

Don’t worry if you have a lot of images on your website – we’ll mention some of the best tools for compressing and optimizing images later on. Use the built-in developer tools of your browser to get the most out of it if you’re a tech-savvy user.

4 – Use a CDN to Serve Images

If you’re looking for a way to improve your website performance, using a content delivery network (CDN) is a great option. CDNs use a network of data centers worldwide to serve static content. They ensure that visitors can access it quickly and easily. This can be a massive improvement depending on a single server to handle all traffic.

A CDN can help speed up your website’s load times by caching requested content and delivering it from a geographical location closer to your website visitors. This means the data will travel a shorter path, resulting in faster load times for your website and its media content.

If you’re looking for a way to speed up your page load times, consider using an image CDN and your regular CDN. An image CDN can lower your site’s image payload by up to 80%, resulting in a significant improvement in load speed with no noticeable decrease in image quality.

Using an image CDN can work well if you manage a dynamic website like an eCommerce shop or frequently upload new images. Some of the most popular image CDN providers include Cloudflare, Fastly CDN, and ImageKit.

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There are many benefits to using an image CDN, but scalability and efficiency are two of the most important. With a CDN, you can easily manage your website’s traffic and keep it running smoothly, even during peak times. So if you’re looking for a more efficient and scalable solution for your images, consider using a CDN.

Let’s look at more benefits of an image CDN besides greater scalability and efficiency.

1 – With image CDNs, your users will have a fantastic experience viewing your images. Image CDNs automatically shrink images and convert their format according to the user’s device and the image’s content. This is especially useful when accessing sites like eCommerce shops, displaying several thumbnail images on each web page.

2 – By using a CDN for your web images, you can avoid the need to optimize them every time a new device requests to load them. A CDN server uses caching, speeding up its time to deliver images.

3 – An advanced image CDN ensures your images are appropriately displayed across all devices. The image CDN automatically adapts and compresses images depending on the user’s device and network. This will help you make sure your graphics look their best no matter where they’re viewed.

4 – The most recently cached data will typically serve your image requests. If the CDN server is down for some reason, your page will still load normally. This ensures constant uptime for your images so that your pictures are always available when someone visits your website.

Though serving images via a regular or image CDN has many benefits, one disadvantage is that it can impact your site’s SEO. However, there are ways to work around this and still enjoy all the benefits of using a CDN.

If you’re using a CDN, enable it on a subdomain. That way, the SEO value from your images will still point to your site.

How to Make the Most of Image Optimization to Enhance Your SEO

Optimizing your website’s images can give you a better chance of appearing in search engine results. Using the appropriate format, alt text, and titles can improve your website’s SEO performance.

Optimizing your images for SEO doesn’t have to be complicated – just follow these simple steps, and you’ll see a boost in your performance!

Image SEO is crucial for getting your images seen and ranked by search engines. Here are a few things to focus on.

1 – Name Your Images Properly

Having your image files named correctly is essential for two reasons. First, it helps you and search engines like Google quickly locate the images you need. Second, correctly named files provide context about the pictures, increasing their chances of ranking in the image search. So make sure to give your images descriptive file names!

It’s good to give your images descriptive file names rather than the default camera names. This will help Google’s bots better understand the content of your pictures. For example, naming an image “nike-dunk-high-retro-shoes-black” is more informative than “shoes-image-0150“.

To make sure your images are easy to find and identify, name them clearly. Name your files with the product name and descriptive words such as brand or color. Use dashes rather than underscores to separate words in the file name. For example, use black-shirt.jpeg instead of black_shirt.jpeg.

Translating your image file names when catering to an international audience is another strategy!

When it comes to keywords, don’t be afraid to use a tool like Google Search Console to review your Search Analytics and the queries that include your products. This can help you better understand what people are looking for when searching for your products. With this information in hand, you can optimize your content and website accordingly.

2 – Add Alt Text to Your Images

Adding alt text is a great way to optimize your images and boost your SEO. Alt-text is a brief, concise description of the image’s context and content. It’s what screen readers read and what will appear on the page if the browser cannot load an image.

Adding alt texts to your images can make a big difference in your website’s accessibility, SEO, and overall competitiveness. In 2021, 26% of all pictures in the top 1 million websites were without alt texts – so there’s a lot of room for improvement! Adding them is an easy way to make your website user-friendly and search engine friendly.

There are some best practices to follow when writing alt texts. You can create compelling and informative alt text to help people with disabilities access your content by following these tips.

1 – Make sure to give your image a clear and specific description, including the message it sends, its context, etc. However, don’t worry about describing decorative items.

2 – Make sure your alt text is concise and to the point, but do your best to describe the image accurately. You don’t need to mention “image of,” “photo of,” or anything in your alt text. The HTML code takes care of that for you.

3 – Include your target keyword in the alt text for your images! Just be careful not to overdo it, or you might look spammy.

3 – Structured Data for Images

If you want to make the most of your SEO efforts, consider using structured data or schema markup on your WordPress site. This will provide clear information about your page to search engines, helping them crawl and index it more effectively.

Adding structured data to your images can help them appear in search results for specific queries, like product details or prices. This added information allows search engines to relate the images to relevant content, making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. So make sure to use structured data whenever you upload pictures!

With Schema.org, you can improve your site’s SEO performance by adding specific markup to your pages. This vocabulary is designed to help you find the proper markups for your needs and code them properly.

If you’re a WordPress user, plugins like All In One Schema Rich Snippets and Schema can make adding structured data to your website a breeze.

Follow all of Google’s general structured data guidelines if you want your site to rank well and be eligible for rich results. If you don’t implement these standards, you may face penalties from Google, resulting in poorer rankings or even exclusion from rich results.

With tools like Rich Results Test and URL Inspection Tool, you can quickly check for any issues with your structured data. This will help ensure that your content appears as intended in search results.

Structured data can be used for various purposes, apart from images. This information is helpful for search engines and other applications that need to parse your content. Make sure to use it whenever you can!

1 – Adding your website to Google’s Knowledge Graph will help you appear more relevant and valuable when people search for you or your business. You can ensure that all the necessary information about your website is easily accessible to Google by providing structured data. This will help improve your visibility and bring more traffic to your site. Don’t miss out on this valuable opportunity.

2 – If your website includes several items corresponding to a specific search query, Google can display richer preview results. This is an excellent opportunity to attract more targeted users to your page.

3 – AMP is a great way to improve user experience on mobile devices. Your website may be featured in rich results and carousels in mobile search using structured data.

4 – Optimize the Title and Description of the Page

By optimizing your page title and description, you can help improve your ranking in Google’s image search. Keyword research is a great way to start – tools like Ahrefs, Ubersuggest, and Semrush can help identify the most relevant search queries and their search volume.

Optimize your images for search engines, and you’ll see your site rank higher on search results pages! Include the relevant keywords in your page title, meta description, and URL. Use other image optimization strategies to give yourself the best chance of ranking high.

5 – Put the Images in the Right Place

Image optimization is an integral part of website design – and where you place your images can have a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of your page. Placing images in random places can diminish the context and relevance of your content, so be sure to put some thought into how and where you use them.

Images can be a great way to break up long texts, but make sure that the image is directly connected to the written content. Screen readers cannot access text within images, so provide relevant alt texts and include essential information in the image only. Including relevant images in your content can also help boost the page visibility on Google image search.

6 – Mobile-Friendly Images

Mobile devices account for more than half of all web traffic. All pages and images must be accessible smoothly from mobile devices.

Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Tool is a great way to scan your website and evaluate how it will look on mobile screens.

Mobile Friendly Test Tool Result

In addition, the tool can provide a report on the overall usability of your website. For example, suppose the page only loads partially on a mobile device. In that case, it’ll inform you of which elements, including images, have issues and need to be fixed.

7 – Use High-Quality, Copyright-Free Images

You’re doing a great job with your website! However, you need to use only copyright-free images to keep the process running smoothly. That way, you avoid any risk of lawsuits and maintain your good reputation online. A few popular stock image providers are Shutterstock, Unsplash, and Getty Images – they have thousands of free-licensed images to choose from.

If you’re looking for high-quality images on your website, consider using Google Images’ Advanced Search feature. You can find image assets based on different Usage Rights, which can help you optimize your site’s visuals.

Google Images Advanced Search

If you run an eCommerce store, original and unique product images can generate higher engagement and help drive sales.

Top Image Optimization Tools

Optimizing your images can be time-consuming, but many online tools can help. We’ll look at a few of the best options for improving site speed and image quality in the list below. So don’t worry – with these tools, you’ll be able to get your images looking their best in no time!

Conclusion

If you have a website, you’ll need to be prepared for changes in search engine algorithms, new technologies, and evolving user expectations. This includes adapting your website’s images to keep up with the times.

Visual content is a big draw for modern internet users, so optimizing your images for the best results is critical. By doing this, you’ll help improve your website’s overall performance.

Optimizing your website’s images is essential for improving user satisfaction, page load times, bounce rates, and lead conversion. Using high-quality optimization techniques can improve your brand’s authority online and increase its position in search engine rankings.

Thanks to image optimization plugins or online tools, optimizing your images can be quick and easy. You can reduce large image files significantly without compromising their quality.

We’re glad you’re interested in optimizing your website’s images! This is just one part of providing an excellent user experience, but it can make a big difference. You can also enhance the quality of your website with elements such as security, trustworthiness, and accessibility. We hope these tips will help you take advantage of image optimization for page load speed and SEO performance. Happy optimizing!

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By Jafar Muhammed

Jafar Muhammed has 10+ years of experience in WordPress, web hosting, domain names, DNS, CDN, server administration, etc. He is an open web advocate. He is the CEO of Rovity, the fastest growing premium shared hosting startup in India.

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