Images are very important to attract and keep readers interested. However, they are also one of the slowest loading elements on the web. Slow loading may cause visitors to abandon your website, so solving the problem of slow image loading is particularly important!
If you want a lighter and faster website, then image optimization is a good starting point. Through optimization, you can continue to attract viewers’ attention with beautiful, high-quality visual effects without significantly increasing page load time.
This article will share some methods to improve website performance through image optimization. Let’s start!
Image optimization and its importance
Image optimization is a balance between reducing the size of the image file and maintaining an acceptable level of quality. This can reduce page load time without negatively affecting the visitor experience due to blurry or pixelated visual effects.
Visitors care about how long the page takes to load. Research shows that 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds. By optimizing the image, you can avoid traffic loss.
Page load time also affects conversions and revenue. Studies have shown that if your website earns $100,000 per day, a one-second delay may cause you to lose $2.5 million in revenue per year.
Besides, Google uses page speed as a ranking factor. By shortening the loading time of your website, you can improve search engine rankings and increase organic traffic.
By tumbling the size of an image, you can generally help Google crawl and index it quicker. This can help you start enticing stream of traffic from Google Image Search. This is especially important for time-sensitive visual effects (such as those related to current events or fast sales).
Finally yet importantly, image optimization can reduce the size of website backups. This can make the processing faster and the generated files smaller. Depending on your hosting provider and plan, this may even prevent you from exceeding your allocated storage space and incur additional charges.
How to set performance standards
It helps to determine performance standards before any type of optimization. By testing your website before and after, you can determine the tangible benefits of all image optimization efforts.
Each site is unique, so certain optimization techniques may produce better results than others may. To determine the methods that will bring the best results for your website, you may want to perform performance testing after implementing each strategy. Then you can put the most powerful technology at the core of future work.
Using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or GTmetrix you can determine the performance of your website. This is invaluable for evaluating the impact of each optimization technique on your website and tracking the performance of your website over time.
Suggestions for Website Image optimization
After creating a performance standard, it is time to start making improvements. Here are six ways to optimize images and reduce page load time.
1. Choose the right file format
Before starting to optimize the image, it is important to ensure that the most appropriate image file format is used. You can use numerous approaches, as well as some other selections, such as JPEG XR and WebP.
Although these can significantly improve image-loading speed, not all browsers support them. To guarantee that your website is accessible, you need to avoid using formats that are more specific.
JPEG or JPG images can use in cooperation with lossy and lossless optimization. This usually makes it the best file format for images with multiple colors. You can also adjust the quality level. This can help you attain the most significant equilibrium amid displaying clear images and reducing file size.
At the same time, PNG files can produce higher quality images, but with larger sizes. You may be able to format simple images as PNG without losing control of the file size. However, you will usually want to avoid using PNG for more complex visual effects.
2. Use image compression tools
Compression can lessen the size of an image by obliterating or grouping parts of the file. This density can be “lossless” or “lossy”.
Lossless compression will reduce the file size without compromising quality. Lossy compression usually saves more size, but it involves discarding certain parts of the file. This will distress the eminence of the image.
In general, I endorse lossless compression for high-quality visual properties such as photos. For simpler images, you may want to choose lossy compression to have a greater impact on performance.
You can use a diversity of density tools, as well as the free TinyPNG amenity. TinyPNG uses lossy compression and selectively declines the number of colors in the image. Despite the name, TinyPNG can compress JPG and PNG at the same time.
Also, a TinyPNG plugin can automatically compress all the images you upload to WordPress. It can also optimize any previously uploaded files. This is useful if your site already has many visual effects, and manually compressing each image is not feasible.
3. Enable browser caching
The browser does not need to download the images directly from the server every time but can store these files locally on the visitor’s computer. This caching will greatly reduce the page loading speed during subsequent visits.
Alternatively, you can enable browser caching by editing the site’s .htaccess file. This is an important file, so I only recommend this method if you are willing to edit the code.
If you want to edit the .htaccess file, it is wise to create a backup first. This safeguards your website from problems that can be encountered.
4. No photo hotlinking
When using pictures from other websites, it is best to download the picture first and then upload it to your server. However, this does not always happen, because some websites are guilty of “hotlinking” problems.
When a third party links to a picture hosted on the server, a hotlink occurs. Every time the other party’s website loads this image, it will take up your bandwidth.
Hotlinks may reduce the performance of your website or even provide you with any page views. Depending on your hosting provider, hot links may even incur additional costs.
To prevent other sites from occupying your bandwidth, you can use plug-ins to disable hotlinks, such as All in One WP Security & Firewall. After triggering the plugin, you can discover this feature by circumnavigating to WP Security>Firewall> Prevent Hotlinks.
5. Use lazy loading
Lazy loading of images in long web pages. Before the user scrolls to them, images outside the viewport will not load. This is the opposite of image preloading. Using lazy loading on long web pages will make web pages load faster. In some circumstances, it can also aid decrease server load.
What are the benefits of lazy loading?
- First, it can improve the user experience. Just imagine if all the pictures on the page are loaded and loaded when the page is opened. If the number of pictures is large, it will be a disaster for the user, and there will be a stuttering phenomenon, which will affect the user experience…
- Selectively request images, which can significantly reduce the pressure and traffic on the server, and reduce the burden on the browser.
6. Consider using a content delivery network (CDN)
When you choose to host and plan for your website, you may have to choose a data center location option. For example, your website may be located on a server abroad.
When data must travel a longer distance, it will cause delays. Generally, the further the distance, the longer it will take the website to load. If your hosting server is located in a foreign country, domestic visitors usually experience longer load times than foreign visitors.
Content delivery network (CDN) can reduce the delay caused by geographical distance. By providing optimized images through CDN, you can greatly reduce page load time.
CDN is a grid of servers situated all over the world. These servers are sometimes called Point of Presence (POP) hosting and provide copies of the static content (including images) of the site.
Whenever someone visits your site, the CDN uses geographic location routing to detect the source of the user’s request. The visitor can then load the image from the data center that is physically closest to the image.
After purchasing the CDN service, you can use WordPress plugins to integrate the network, such as W3 Total Cache, LiteSpeed Cache, or CDN Enabler.
Beautiful high-resolution images may attract readers’ interest, but at the same time, they will slow down your website. By optimizing images, you can strike a balance between creating compelling, eye-catching content and providing a high-performance website.
To speed up the loading of images, I recommend the following:
- Choose the right file format
- Use compression tools or plugins, such as TinyPNG
- Enable browser caching
- No photo hotlinking
- Use lazy loading
- Deliberate on using a content delivery network (CDN)