Making sure your web images are optimized is crucial because 39 percent of web visitors will not engage with a slow-loading website. This can give your audiences the impression you don’t care much about your site, affecting your trustworthiness as a brand.
Images can significantly slow down the time it takes for a page to load, which can cause even more people to leave. Although you want to include high-quality images on your site for more engagement, you need to minimize them so they don’t bug your website’s speed. Thankfully, several techniques allow you to lower the file size of an image without compromising your web design quality.
Here are four best practices for optimizing images on your website:
1. Resize Your Images Before Uploading Them
When you resize images, you decrease their file size before uploading them. Windows has a free tool called IrfanView, which makes resizing images a snap. Mac has a free tool called Preview, which lets you resize images. You can get tools like GIMP, Tiny PNG, Image Optimizer, and the like to minify your images.
If you want a more full-featured image editing suite, you can also try Adobe Photoshop for a fee. You can reduce your images to a half or a quarter of the original size for the best results.
There are a lot of web servers that don’t compress images. However, some web servers will compress your photos by default, so you might not even notice.
2. Remove Unnecessary Metadata from Images
Metadata is hidden information about your files. This includes your camera’s application, the time you took the picture, GPS coordinates, image descriptions, and the like. However, metadata makes your image file slightly larger. If you don’t need the metadata, you can simply delete it, making your files much smaller.
Even without an app, you can delete metadata from dingle or several images on Windows by the following steps:
- Go to the folder containing the images to be edited.
- Choose the file (or files) from which you want to remove metadata.
- Navigate to the “Properties” menu with the right-click button, then select “Details.”
- Choose to remove both the properties and any personal information.
- Click “Create a copy,” then “OK,” and choose to remove all possible properties you want to strip off the files.
- If you want not to make a copy and only scrub the file, select “Remove the following properties from this file.”
- Click the items you want to remove or click “Select All” then “OK” to remove all items.
Things are a little more complicated for Mac users. You can read EXIF data, but the only thing you can remove is location data. You’ll need to use third-party software or app if you want to strip other metadata.
To delete location data from an image, open it in Preview, go to “Tools,” then “Show Inspector,” and click the information tab. Select the GPS tab and then click “Remove Location Info.”
3. Reduce the Color Depth in Your Images
An image’s color depth is measured in bits per pixel, either 24-bit or 8-bit. The larger your image, the more bits it can carry. You can decrease the number of colors in specific graphics and make them smaller to optimize your images.
You can generate a website and blog graphics with 8-bit pictures because they are large enough. However, a design program’s graphics may require a much higher color depth.
4. Add URLs to Your Images
If you have a shared folder or the images on your file server, remember to update the URL paths in the image links so that they are absolute instead of relative paths.
URLs should be absolute paths when you link to an image. The image location should appear at the end as an absolute path, such as “/wp-content/uploads/123.jpg,” not as a simple filename.
Images play a major role in a website’s design. It’s important to choose photos that are relevant to your content. However, it doesn’t mean you should just add any image you find. For the best results, consider the best practices for optimizing images for your website.
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