Images are a great way to break up your blog post and boost your website’s SEO. According to optinmonster, articles that include images are 94% more likely to be viewed than articles without.
However, an image that is poorly optimized can significantly slow down your website’s loading time. Multiply this across various pages and the prospect of Armageddon suddenly becomes very real.
In this article I will share 5 proven tips for optimising your images for faster load times. My guidance will not only improve the speed of your website but also empower your (SEO) search engine optimisation.
Tip 1 – Compress Images
One of the most effective ways to optimise images for faster loading times is through compression. The process reduces the image’s file size without significantly affecting its quality. This enables faster loading time without sacrificing visual appeal.
Popular compression tools include TinyPNG, Kraken.io and software like Adobe Photoshop and GIMP. Some image editing software and CMS also have built-in compression options. These platforms are easy to use and relatively straight forward.
It’s important to bear in mind that over-compressing can result in a loss of quality and make images look pixelated. Be sure to check your image before uploading it onto your website.
Tip 2 – Properly Format Images
Choosing the right format can also help deliver faster load times. Different image formats have various uses and compression methods, so it’s critical to select the correct one for your web page. JPEG, PNG, and GIF are the three most common image formats for the web:
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is ideal for photographs and images with a lot of colours and gradients. It employs lossy compression, which means that some image data is lost during the compression process, but the resulting file size is smaller and the load times are faster. According to pingdom it accounts for 1/3 of all images on the web.
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics) images, such as graphics and icons, work best with transparent backgrounds. It employs lossless compression, which means no image data is lost during the compression process. The resulting file size, however, is larger and load times may be slower. Pingdom claims that PNG is the least common format, accounting for just 14.4% of all images on the web.
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is best suited for simple animations and images that have a limited colour palette. Although it employs lossless compression, the file size can still be quite large. Pingdom reveals that GIF is the most widely used format on the web, accounting for over 54.7% of all images.
It’s critical to use the correct image format and keep the file size as small as possible. You may want to consider using webp, which is an image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for web images.
In conclusion, choosing the right image format and keeping file size to a minimum can significantly improve image load times on your website.
Tip 3 – Reduce Image File Size
The image file size is another determinant of your website’s loading speed. Generally speaking, the larger the file size, the slower the image’s loading time.
There are several methods for reducing an image’s file size. One is to crop, resize, or adjust the image using the editing tools in your image editing software. This can help by removing unnecessary data and content from the image.
Another option is to use image optimisation tools, such as those mentioned in tip 1, to further compress and reduce the file size of the image. Additionally, as discussed in tip 2, using the appropriate file format can help to reduce file size.
It’s also worth noting that, while compressing an image reduces its size, it can also reduce its quality. As a result, it’s critical to strike a balance between file size and image quality.
To summarise, reducing an image’s file size can result in faster loading times. It is possible to achieve this by using editing tools, optimization tools, and the appropriate file format.
Tip 4 – Use A Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers located in various geographic locations. These servers collaborate to deliver content to users based on their location, which results in faster load times.
When it comes to images, a CDN can significantly improve load times by caching and delivering images from the server closest to the user’s location. This reduces the distance the data must travel, which reduces the time it takes to load the images.
There are numerous ways to set up a CDN, including using a service like Cloudflare, MaxCDN, or Amazon CloudFront. These services frequently have user-friendly interfaces and can be integrated with a variety of web platforms, such as WordPress or Shopify.
It’s also worth noting that if you already use a CDN for your website and want to optimise your images, you can configure the CDN to specifically handle the images. Some CDNs include image optimization features like automatic compression, resizing, and format conversion.
To summarise, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) can significantly improve image load times by delivering them from a server closest to the user’s location. This can be accomplished by employing a service such as Cloudflare, MaxCDN, or Amazon CloudFr.
Tip 5 – Optimise Alt Text And File Names
Optimizing image alt text and file names can also have a significant impact on load times. Image alt text and file names are used to describe and identify images, and they influence how search engines and browsers interpret and display images.
Alt text is a text description that is added to the HTML code of an image. It is used to provide a text alternative for an image for users who may have trouble loading the image, such as those who use a screen reader or have a slow internet connection. Alt text should be descriptive while remaining brief and to the point.
In contrast, file names are used to identify the image file. Instead of using generic file names like “image1.jpg” or “picture.png,” they should be descriptive and relevant to the image’s content. Descriptive file names can help search engines understand what the image is about, increasing the likelihood that the image will appear in image search results.
Both the alt text and the file names should be unique and relevant to the image and should not be repeated across multiple images on your website. Furthermore, if you use an image management plugin for your website, make sure that it automatically updates the file names and alt text to be SEO friendly.
To summarise, optimising image alt text and file names can improve load times by assisting search engines and browsers in better understanding and displaying images. The alt text should be descriptive but brief, and the file names should be descriptive but not too long
In this article we have discussed 5 tips for optimising images for faster load times. These include:
- Using image compression tools like TinyPNG to compress images
- Saving in appropriate image file formats such as JPEG or PNG
- Using image editing tools
- Utilising a content delivery network
- Optimising image alt text and file names
It is important to note that image optimization is a continuous process, and you should check and optimise your images on a regular basis to ensure they load quickly and efficiently. But by following these steps you can improve your user experience and ultimately, speed up your website’s loading time.