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The Basic Importance of Image Optimisation

Small Business, Web Design

The importance of image optimisation. What is it why is it vital you perform this, ideally before uploading the images to your website.

Why Images Matter

Firstly, let us look at why you are putting images on your website in the first place.

In the web design and the user experience, the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” rings truer than ever.

Tahum3D - Importance of Image Optimisation - Laughing BabyA well crafted and thought out image has the ability to convey complex ideas, evoke emotions, and establish brand identity in mere seconds. Think of an image of a child crying, or laughing, this will stir different emotions to you, the visitor to the website. It is almost impossible to not smile yourself when you see an image of a child smiling or laughing.

An image that captures attention, placed at the top of your website, in the form of what is classed as an ‘hero’ image, will make the visitor scroll down and learn more about your company and the services it provides.

In an era where websites fight for our attention and on average you have around 2.5 seconds to do this, a great image, visible as soon as the visitor lands on your website, is vital.

Images also break up constant blocks of text which a visitor to your website will soon leave if this is the case. This article has images placed at various points to help alleviate that.

 

Why You Should Optimise Your Images

We have now established the importance of images within your website so why should you optimise these images on your website, ideally before you even upload them.

Tahum3D - Importance of Image Optimisation - Slow WebsiteThe main reason is the strain it puts on your server if you don’t optimise the images and this has many negative effects on your website which is mainly website speed, with a knock effect to user experience and SEO.

You might have an amazing photo that is perfect for your website, portrays just the message you want but is 6mb in size. In the modern day 6mb size for a file is nothing, especially for any photographers who will take photos that are much larger than that but in website terms it is massive.

When you upload a large image file to your website, every time a visitor lands on your website, their browser has to download that image for you to view it and this can potentially take 10 seconds+, depending on the speed of the visitors internet and your server.

Remember above when I posted you have on average 2.5 seconds to get a visitors attention? If your website isn’t loading within that time, they are gone.

Negative Impact On Your SEO

Tahum3D - Importance of Image Optimisation - Stuck on the Starting BlocksThe speed of your website can impact hugely on the SEO you have in place. Whilst a fast site is not the main factor in higher Google ranking (quality content is the main factor), it can have a negative impact on your rankings as Google do take page speed into account when ranking your site if your website is running slow.

Google will not want to put your page higher in the rankings if visitors are leaving within seconds of landing on the page.

Search engines prioritise websites with fast loading speeds, considering them more user-friendly and authoritative. Image optimisation directly contributes to page speed optimisation, signalling to search engine algorithms the responsiveness and efficiency of your website.

You don’t want to still be in the blocks whilst your competitors are nearly at the finish line.

The Essence of Image Optimisation

Image optimisation is the art of striking the perfect balance between visual quality and file size, ensuring swift loading times without compromising on aesthetics of the image. At its core, this process involves compressing images, selecting appropriate file formats, and implementing responsive design principles. Let’s explore these points in a little more detail:

Tahum3D - Importance of Image Optimisation - The Essence of Image Optimisation1. Compression:

Image compression reduces file size by eliminating redundant data while preserving visual fidelity. Techniques such as lossy and lossless compression strike a delicate equilibrium between image quality and file size. By minimising file size, compressed images accelerate page loading, enhancing user experience across devices. It is important however to not compress the image too much which may result in a poor quality image.

2. File Formats:

Choosing the right file format is crucial for optimal image delivery. JPEG, PNG, and WebP are among the most widely used formats, each with distinct advantages. JPEG excels in compressing photographs with minimal loss of quality, making it ideal for vibrant visuals. PNG, on the other hand, supports transparency and is well-suited for graphics and logos. The WebP format combines the best of both worlds, offering superior compression and quality retention and is my personal format of choice, with most modern browsers supporting this format.

The AVIF file format is growing in popularity and offers offers much better compression than PNG or JPEG with support for higher colour depths, animated frames, transparency, etc but hasn’t got the same browser support that such as WebP does. This will no doubt change in the near future however.

3. Responsive Design:

In an era of differing screen sizes and resolutions, responsive design is imperative for delivering seamless user experiences. Optimised images adapt fluidly to varying viewport dimensions, ensuring crisp visuals across desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Leveraging CSS techniques like media queries and flexible images, responsive design accommodates the dynamic nature of modern browsing habits.

An example of this, is if you have an image that has a resolution of 1920x1080px then it will look perfect on a desktop or laptop screen but on a mobile device it may only need to be 480px or 320px, so why not upload an image that size have your website display a different image per screen size.

The Impact on User Experience

Tahum3D - Importance of Image Optimisation - Happy Website VisitorFast page loading times help maintain a positive user experience, reducing bounce rates and prolonging visitor engagement. By optimising images, you streamline the browsing journey, meaning more content consumption by your visitors as they remain to learn more about your business and the services you provide. Moreover, improved performance instills trust and credibility, bolstering brand perception and fostering long-term customer relationships.

You don’t want visitors to land on your website and leave because it takes so long to load. They will remember that experience and potentially don’t return.

How to Optimise Your Images

This is actually quite easy, with many different options available to you.

You could do this via apps such as Photoshop, which we are all familiar with, and save/export the file in a format listed above and choose the compression level, making sure not to go too low.

Photoshop has subscriptions starting from £19.97 a month, or the full Adobe Suite at £56.98 a month.

Other one time purchases such as Affinity’s Photo, available for a one off fee of £67.99, or the full Affinity Suite priced at £159.99.

You can also use Canva to save images and this can be done for free or purchasing a Pro plan, which includes many design templates and something we would always recommend.

You can also use online website such as TinyPNG or Bulk Resize to compress your images but again, remember not to compress them too much otherwise you will lose image quality which will also have a negative effect on your website.

Image optimisation can also be done on your website and as all our websites are built using WordPress, we could use plugins such as ShortPixel or EWWW Image Optimizer

Conclusion: The Power of Image Optimisation

In the modern digital world, where attention spans are small and competition is fierce, the importance of image optimisation cannot be overstated. By fine-tuning visual assets to achieve optimal performance, you increase your website’s appeal, accessibility, and search engine visibility.

Image optimisation has to be an important part of your digital marketing strategy because the ramifications of not so could be a disaster for your website.

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