There are several ways you can make Google fall in love with your site, and one of the easiest ways is when you optimize your images. The thing about images is we have all been on sites where images have not been optimized and it makes your site look unprofessional. Worse yet, it does not help with your SEO – and that is a concern of anyone who is building a site. There are a couple things you need to do with your images so that you can reduce the size without losing any of the quality. The goal, as always, is making your site have that appeal it needs to be both loved by Google and the site visitors, and that’s why learning how to optimize your images is critical.
Some people think the way to optimize images is to simply resize the image, but that is completely wrong because resizing the image only distorts the image. It may stretch out pixels or it could end up compressing them so small that the photo doesn’t look right to the eye. This is why optimization is preferred, Images Optimization includes lossless image compression along with other ways to get your images to the proper size. The good news is that it is not hard to learn how to optimize your images, and once you understand the how and the why, the doing of it will take your site to the next level and make your images look that much more incredible, which will please Google and your site visitors.
What Exactly is Image Optimization?
The reason why you want to optimize your images is because it directly affects how long it takes your page to load. Your images are files, and the size of the file has a direct correlation with how long it takes to load the file. The longer the load time, the more inefficient your site is. When you simply resize an image, you are doing very little to the file size, in truth. That’s why optimizing is the way to go, because what you are doing when you optimize is you are reducing the file size without reducing the image’s quality. Two of the most common methods of image optimization are lossless and lossy. As you begin to understand image optimization, you will know the times to use both types of optimization and where they are most beneficial.
Why Images Should be Formatted
If you are to think of your webpage’s components as adding weight to the page, then you would see that images typically are roughly 20% of the weight of your page. Videos would take up more weight, but the reality is much of the page’s components are not very large. So, if you have a method of reducing the weight of your page so it loads faster, why not take advantage of it?
Here are several benefits of formatting your images:
- Speed: The faster your page loads, the more your visitors and Google will appreciate your work. Therefore, you should always look to trim the fat and optimize your page
- SEO: Optimizing your pages improves SEO, and if you use a WordPress SEO plugin you’ll find that Google crawls your page for image searches – the faster the image loads, the more likely it is to be a top result
- Backups: Smaller image files are that much easier to back up
All of these are great reasons to have your images optimized.
How to Optimize Your Images
The key to optimizing is finding the line between your image size and the image quality. If you are looking for the quick solution, you can simply compress the images before uploading them to your WordPress site. Adobe Photoshop is one of the many services that offer image compression. However, if you are looking for something that will give you more flexibility, then your considerations need to by the type of file and the compression style you are using. Here are the different file types for your images:
- PNG: This is a large file type and though the image format was initially meant to be lossless, you can have lossy images here too
- JPEG: Uses both lossy and lossless optimization. Adjust the quality here and you can play with the file size effectively
- GIF: Only has 256 colors and has lossless compression
Understanding Lossy vs. Lossless Optimization
Now that you understand the file types, it is imperative that you understand the different types of compression, lossy and lossless. Here’s what you need to know.
Lossless Image Optimization
Lossless image optimization compresses the data within the image. The quality of the image will remain, but images must be uncompressed before you can render them. There are several tools that you can use for lossless optimization. Photoshop has already been mentioned, but FileOptimizer and ImageOptim are also excellent tools for you to build your library of optimized images.
Lossy Image Optimization
There are some differences between lossy and lossless optimization, the first of which is that with lossy optimization, you will deal with a degradation of the image’s quality. That being said, you can reduce the file size by a massive amount but you have to be aware of a corresponding loss in quality. Using Photoshop and a few other programs will help you with lossy image optimization, but the key is you really need to pay attention to the quality of the image.
Finding the Right Image Optimizing Tools
There is a plethora of tools out there for you to do your image resizing. The key is finding something that you are comfortable with and utilizing that tool to its maximum benefit. Many people will favor Adobe Photoshop – and for good reason. This is one of the top programs. The key here is making sure that your comfort zone is found with a product, and then utilizing it to its maximum benefit so that your site is not burdened by the dead weight of images.