The importance of image compression on websites
An often-overlooked method for speeding up a website is photo compression. The benefits of changing your image file size are two-fold: you achieve a better user experience because the page doesn’t take forever to render and you’ll achieve a better site speed score with Google, and ideally more brownie points for your search engine optimization (SEO) ranking.
There are 3 concrete methods for better image compression: manual pixel/picture size reduction, compression tools and on WordPress, with an added compression plug-in.
Step 1: Those images from your company’s photographer look amazing, but they also are high-resolution – great for the Annual Report, but not necessary for your company’s website.
For example, a photo size of 3200 x 2600 & 20MB file size need to do be significantly reduced. If you can size your image to around 500KB and still large enough to display nicely on a computer, you’ll be in good shape for Step 2. If you aren’t outfitted with the Adobe Suite, i.e. Photoshop, there are several desktop photo editor tools you can use. On both Windows & MAC, there is PhotoScape X, which is both freemium and user-friendly.
Step 2: Now that you have a nicely sized headshot, you’ll want to add some “Lossy” image compression – a term which means great size reduction without compromising the quality of an image. It’s amazing seeing a compressed & non-compressed image side-by-side and not seeing a bit of difference to the naked eye.
If you don’t have a desktop tool to compress images on your website, our web development team’s favorite online go-to is Compresser.io. It’s free, easy to use and delivers great quality compression. You can compress multiple images at once or one at a time; just a 10MB limit per compression. Once it’s done, download the leaner, meaner image to your computer.
Step 3: This method is for WordPress users. Like most of the WP universe, there is a bevy of plug-ins for nearly every website development solution. Our favorite that has been deployed on many client websites is Smush. This plug-in will compress and optimize your images that already exist in your WordPress-built website’s Media Library and will automatically compress new imagery as you upload. For the veteran images, you’ll need to use their Bulk Smush tool, but should take you less than 15 minutes.
Other options on Smush are enabling “Lazy-Load” for your photos. It basically works in the way it’s titled; instead of loading all your images on the initial page load of your business’s website (while slowing the other elements on the page), it loads lazily on-demand as the user scrolls down the page. There is also an aesthetic benefit to lazy-loading, with a fade-in entrance effect.
At the opening of this blog, we mention the benefits of image compression and SEO. Most namely, the compression of your website’s imagery can significantly reduce your website’s load time especially on mobile and tablet device types. By doing this, your website is adhering to the ever-evolving “mobile first” ranking factors set forth by Google. With seamlessly compressed imagery on your website, you can rest assured that your website loads quickly on user’s cell phones and tablets. This not only allows your company to improve rank on Google’s SERPs (search engine results pages) but can also allow for more conversions and website-based revenue for your business!
The image compression process can also set the stage for your company to dive deeper with a trusted digital marketing agency partner like Extract Marketing Group and conduct an all-encompassing technical SEO audit of your website. This will allow your business to identify areas of opportunity for SEO enhancement with Extract’s team of digital marketing professionals that will lead to getting your website in front of more potential customers on Google.
You’re now well on the way to having an optimized and speedier web presence! Whether you’re looking to have a comprehensive SEO audit conducted or if your business needs a website overhaul, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team here at Extract Marketing Group. Our clients range from small businesses to major corporations. We think you’ll find our approachable, hands-on digital marketing strategies both effective and efficient to drive brand awareness and revenue for your business!