As with most things when it comes to decent search engine optimisation, we turn to user experience (UX) when looking at one of the major ranking signals search engines like Google uses; that’s load time or page speed. There are a few things that could affect this, but images are usually quite large (compared to text) both physically and by resolution and therefore contribute significantly to the load time of your page.
Reducing the size of your images can demonstrably reduce your load time and can, therefore, have a great effect on how enjoyable (user experience) it is to use your website.
When you take a photo with your phone, there’s a good chance the image is going to literally be bigger than you need it to be; way bigger. This is largely due to the quality of cameras, and capturing more detail than you actually need. I took a picture with my phone, shot in 16.1 megapixels it has a resolution 4640 x 3480 pixels and comes in at a whopping 5.9 MB. This is simply too (unnecessarily) large to place on a webpage, so we need to reduce its size.
When you’re showing an image on a webpage, there’s a good chance that the image itself is going to be wider than the width of your website anyway. If your site is 1200px wide, and your image is 4640px wide, what happens to the remaining 3440px? It gets squashed into the space – so it could have been reduced in size and still look great – and remember that extra information all needs to be loaded on a page – and this affects your page speed dramatically.
My favourite process at the moment is giving images a quick squeeze. After we’ve reduced the physical size of an image, we can actually deliberately reduce the quality of that image that, to the human eye, it still looks great, but is a much smaller file size. There are two super simple ways that we do this.
For any images that you’re using within your web copy, you really do need to think about file size, and dimensions – these tools will help you ensure that you don’t get caught out and that your website is as trim as possible and super-snappy.