A picture is worth thousand words as it can convey more messages. In this digital world around 64% of the websites be it media, e-commerce, travel websites all have images. As we humans are visual creatures and a significant percentage of human brain is dedicated to process images. Websites today use this well-known fact to gain users attention. But certain websites with improper and low-quality images aren’t that persuasive.
A website that takes more than 3 seconds to load tends to lose users engagement and has a low Google ranking. Therefore, if your website is lacking visitors, good Google ranking you need to optimize images and follow certain tips explained below:
Before we learn about image optimization lets know what image optimization is and why is image optimization important.
What is image optimization?
Image optimization is a process of reducing file size without losing image quality. This means you get high quality images in right format, size, dimension, and resolution by keeping smallest possible size. An image can be optimized in different ways like compressing size, resizing, and caching. This helps to improve websites performance and boost webpage load speed.
Why is image optimization important?
Users tend to abandon website that take more than 3 seconds to load, thus increasing the bounce rate that eventually affects websites conversion rate. But with image optimization page load speed can be boosted, websites’ SEO ranking can be improved users experience can be enhanced.
Page load speed is the time taken by a web page to load completely. A website with less than 2 seconds of load time is most visited and loved. Thus, playing a key role in website ranking and making image optimization significant. Not only this image optimization is also related to SEO ranking and conversions.
Here are some tips to optimize image for the web and make the page load faster.
1. Save images in proper color scheme
Primarily, RGB and CMYK are two color schemes used by computer to display images. Where RGB stands for (red, green, blue) and CMYK stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. RGB is standard color space used by camera, computer and CMYK is used for printing.
Therefore, if CMYK images are used on web they slow down the page load speed and also, they aren’t as bright and vivid as RGB. Therefore, to attract users and to boost page load speed RGB color scheme images are to be used.
To convert CMYK images into RGB Adobe Photoshop can be used. Once the color profile of an image is changed file should be resaved with another name to make differentiation easy between both the files.
2. Compress image file size
A web file of more than 2MB in size shouldn’t be used as it too slows the page load speed. Therefore, keeping the size limited to 2MB (2048 kilobytes) is a good idea. Apart from this image used for websites shouldn’t be pixelated. This means images should be sharp and image quality should be contingent. Image quality depends on compression settings, final file size. With correct compression settings, smaller file size and a good image quality can be achieved.
Generally, an image saved with an image compression level between 70-80% is not pixelated. For this image compression tool can be used.
3. Save image in right file format
There are four major file formats JPG, PNG, GIF and SVG in which graphics and images can be saved. But each file format has its own advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, each graphic or image needs to be saved in a specific format based on raster or vector.
Raster Images have finite number of pixels and can be captured using pixel-based program like a scanner or camera. When enlarged raster images tend to lose quality and the best suited formats for raster images are JPG, PNG and GIF.
While Vector graphics are created using vector software and these images can be expanded without compromising with the quality. Best suited format for vector images are SVG and GIF. But vector images can be saved in JPG or PNG format too. But doing so makes image lose the ability to scale your graphic infinitely.
Merits of JPG
- Minimum file size
- Best high-quality images
- Compatible with web and other modern devices
Demerits of JPG
- Reduced image quality when compressed
- Does not support transparent backgrounds
When to use JPG
JPGs can be used when non-moving images with high quality are required. But they shouldn’t be used on colored backgrounds.
Another common raster format versatile than JPG is PNG. It can support over 16 million colors, alpha channel or a transparent background.
Merits of PNG
- Offers transparent background to layer images on colored backgrounds
- Without losing quality images can be compressed
Demerits of PNG
- Image file size is larger than JPG
- Does not support animation
When PNG should be used
When graphics with non-white backgrounds, text, sharp edges, logos, icons, and other designs are required PNG graphics should be used.
GIF is another raster format that allows to get moving images by sequencing images on top of each other to create motion.
Merits of GIF
- Can create animated messages and images
- Supports transparent backgrounds
Demerits of GIF
- Image file size and quality is connected with colors. More colors mean sharper image, but this increases file size. While less colors will make the image grainer
- Image with only 256 colors can be used
When GIF should be used
GIF allows to display multiple images with elasticity and interesting changes in the same graphic. However, graphics with many colors increases the file size.
Unlike JPG, PNG, GIF, SVG is a vector format. It allows to manipulate object with sharp graphics on the web. Using programs like Inkscape, Adobe Illustrator, and Sketch vector images can be edited and created.
Merits of SVG
- Smaller file size
- File can be resized without letting it lose the quality
- Helpful for developers
- Program like Adobe Illustrator can be used to edit vector images
- Allows animation
- Supported by Microsoft Office for graphics
Demerits of SVG
- Image file size and quality are connected to colors. More colors mean sharper image but with large image file size. Less colors will make the image grainer
- Limitation of using the image with only 256 colors
When SVG should be used
As SVG images can be zoomed without losing image quality they can be used for graphics, logos, icons, and other illustrations on the web. Apart from this these images can be used for mobile devices as they look great with high pixel density displays like smartphone.
4. Export multiple sizes for smartphone displays
With smartphones becoming popular users want to access everything on their mobile devices. But since these devices have display of more than 200 PPI as opposed to normal 72 PPI the standard for PC and web.
To make images support both types of PPI Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop can be used. This will help to export images with 2X and 3X scales. This means original images along with 200% and 300% will be created. Also, images with higher resolution can be exported.
5. Increase smaller image size by 115%
If smaller size raster images are used, they need to be upsized by 115% to reduce pixelation for this Adobe Photoshop can be used.
Using the tips mentioned above we can have sharp and focused images. As these optimized images help to grab users attention and keep them on the web page for longer duration. Not only will they make web page look prettier but will also help to decrease page load time.
Image optimization is not only helpful for web but is also helpful to store images and make them look attractive. A heavy image uses much bandwidth that is not liked by user therefore images need to be optimized.