How To Optimise Your Photos
by Naomi Allen
I design, therefore I am.
Photo by Artsy Crafty on StockSnap
Use a photo editing tool to resize and compress the images to reduce their file size.
By resizing the images, you can ensure that they are no larger than necessary, which can help reduce their file size. In addition, compressing the images can further reduce their file size, allowing them to be loaded more quickly on the page.
Resizing and compressing images can be done in a number of different photo editing tools, including Adobe Photoshop and GIMP. To resize an image, you can use the "Image Size" tool in Photoshop or the "Scale Image" tool in GIMP. Both of these tools allow you to specify the width and height of the image in pixels. It's important to make sure that the dimensions of the image are appropriate for its intended use on the website. For example, if you are using the image as a thumbnail on a blog post, you may want to resize it to a smaller size than if you were using it as a full-width header image.
Once you have resized the image, you can then use the "Save for Web" tool in Photoshop or the "Export" tool in GIMP to compress the image. This will reduce the file size of the image, making it faster to load on the page. The degree of compression that you apply will depend on the quality of the image and the level of detail that you want to retain. For example, if the image is a high-resolution photograph, you may want to apply less compression to preserve the quality of the image. On the other hand, if the image is a simple graphic with relatively few colors, you may be able to apply more compression without a noticeable loss in quality.
Choose the right image file format for the intended use of the photo.
Choosing the right image file format is an important part of optimising images for a website. Different image file formats have different strengths and weaknesses, and some are better suited to certain uses than others. In general, there used to be three main image file formats that were commonly used on the web: JPEG, PNG, and GIF:
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a lossy image file format that is best suited for photographs and other images with a wide range of colors and gradients. The JPEG format uses compression to reduce the file size of the image, which can make it faster to load on the web. However, this compression can also cause some loss of detail in the image. As a result, JPEG is not the best choice for images with sharp lines or text, as the compression can cause these elements to appear blurry.
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a lossless image file format that is best suited for images with sharp lines and flat colors. The PNG format uses lossless compression, which means that no information is lost when the image is compressed. This makes it a good choice for images with text or graphics, as the compression will not cause these elements to appear blurry. However, the use of lossless compression means that the file size of a PNG image can be larger than a JPEG image with the same dimensions.
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is a lossless image file format that is best suited for animations and images with a limited color palette. The GIF format allows for simple animations by storing a series of frames in the same file. It also uses lossless compression, which means that the file size of a GIF image can be larger than a JPEG or PNG image with the same dimensions. However, the limited color palette of a GIF makes it a poor choice for photographs or other images with a wide range of colors.
Nothing stands still for very long in the world of web development, however. With the ever-changing landscape of the internet, new and improved image formats are constantly being developed to ensure that images remain crisp and clear on all devices. Two of the newest image formats, WebP and AVIF, are quickly becoming popular among web designers and developers due to their numerous benefits.
WebP is an image format developed by Google that allows for lossless and lossy compression of digital images. By utilizing advanced compression techniques, WebP is capable of reducing image size by up to 80% without sacrificing quality. This results in faster loading times for websites and improved performance on mobile devices.
AVIF, or the “AOMedia Video Interleaved” format, is an image format that also utilizes advanced compression techniques. It can provide up to 50% better compression than WebP while still maintaining image quality. This means that web designers and developers can reduce image size by up to 50% while still providing high-quality visuals.
Both WebP and AVIF offer immense benefits to those working in web design and development. By utilizing these image formats, web designers and developers can reduce the size of their images without sacrificing quality, resulting in faster loading times and improved performance on mobile devices. Additionally, both WebP and AVIF are supported in all major web browsers, making them an ideal choice for web designers and developers.
In conclusion, WebP and AVIF are two of the most advanced image formats available, offering numerous benefits to web designers and developers. By utilizing these formats, web designers and developers can reduce the size of their images without sacrificing quality, resulting in faster loading times and improved performance on mobile devices.
Use descriptive, keyword-rich file names for the photos to help them rank higher in search engine results.
Using descriptive, keyword-rich file names for images can help improve their ranking in search engine results. When a search engine crawls a website, it looks at various factors to determine the relevance of the content to a user's search query. This includes the text on the page, as well as the file names of any images on the page. By using descriptive, keyword-rich file names for your images, you can help the search engine understand the content of the image and improve its ranking in the search results.
For example, let's say you have a blog post about "10 tips for maintaining a healthy garden." If you have a photo of a garden in that post, you might name the file "10-tips-healthy-garden.jpg" instead of something generic like "IMG01234.jpg." This will help the search engine understand that the image is relevant to the topic of the blog post and can improve its ranking in the search results.
It's important to note that the file name of the image should accurately reflect the content of the image. Using irrelevant or misleading file names can actually hurt the ranking of the image in the search results. For example, if you have an image of a garden but you name the file "10-tips-healthy-dog.jpg," the search engine may think that the image is irrelevant to the topic of the blog post and may not rank it as highly in the search results.
Use alt text to describe the content of the photos and make them accessible to people with visual impairments.
Alt text, or "alternative text," is a HTML attribute that is used to describe the content of an image on a website. Alt text is typically used to provide a brief description of the image, which can be helpful for people with visual impairments who use screen readers to access the web. By using alt text to describe the content of your images, you can make your website more accessible to these users.
In addition to being helpful for people with visual impairments, alt text can also be beneficial for search engine optimisation (SEO). When a search engine crawls a website, it looks at the alt text of the images on the page to understand the content of the images. By using descriptive, keyword-rich alt text for your images, you can help the search engine understand the relevance of the images to the page and improve their ranking in the search results.
To add alt text to an image, you simply need to include the "alt" attribute in the HTML code for the image. For example, if you have an image of a garden, you might use the following code to add alt text to the image:
<img src="garden.jpg" alt="A beautiful garden with flowers and vegetables">
In this example, the alt text is "A beautiful garden with flowers and vegetables." This provides a brief description of the content of the image and can be read by a screen reader to help a visually impaired user understand the content of the image.
Avoid using large, high-resolution photos on web pages.
Using large, high-resolution photos on web pages can be detrimental to the performance of the website. Large images can take longer to load on the page, which can slow down the overall loading time of the website. This can be frustrating for users, who may give up and navigate away from the site if it takes too long to load. In addition, large images can use up a significant amount of bandwidth, which can increase the hosting costs for the website.
To avoid these issues, it's important to use appropriately sized images on your web pages. This means using images that are no larger than necessary for their intended use on the page. For example, if you have a thumbnail image that is only going to be displayed at a small size on the page, there is no need to use a large, high-resolution image. Instead, you can use a smaller, lower-resolution image that will load more quickly and use less bandwidth.
In addition to using appropriately sized images, you can also optimise the images to reduce their file size. This can be done using a photo editing tool, such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. By resizing the images and applying the appropriate level of compression, you can reduce the file size of the images and make them faster to load on the page.
In summary, avoiding the use of large, high-resolution photos on web pages can help improve the performance of the website. By using appropriately sized images and optimising them to reduce their file size, you can ensure that the website loads quickly and efficiently, which can improve the user experience and reduce hosting costs.
Use lazy loading.
Lazy loading is a technique that can be used to optimise the loading of images on a web page. With lazy loading, images are only loaded when they are visible on the screen or are about to be visible. This means that images that are further down the page or are below the fold (i.e. not visible without scrolling) are not loaded until the user scrolls to them.
Using lazy loading can help improve the performance of a website by reducing the number of images that are loaded at once. This can make the initial page load faster, as there are fewer images to download and display. In addition, lazy loading can save bandwidth, as the images that are not visible on the screen are not downloaded until they are needed.
Use responsive design techniques to ensure that the photos are displayed correctly on different devices and screen sizes.
Using responsive design techniques is important for ensuring that images are displayed correctly on different devices and screen sizes. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the wide range of screen sizes available, it's important to ensure that your website is accessible and easy to use on all devices. This includes making sure that the images on your website are displayed correctly and are not distorted or cropped on different devices.
One way to achieve this is by using responsive design techniques. This involves using CSS media queries to specify how the images on your website should be displayed at different screen sizes. For example, you can use a media query to specify that an image should be scaled down to fit the width of the screen on a mobile device, but should be displayed at its full size on a desktop.
In addition to using media queries, you can also use responsive image elements, such as the <picture> element in HTML. This allows you to specify multiple versions of an image, each with different dimensions and resolutions. The browser will then choose the appropriate version of the image to display based on the screen size and resolution of the device.
Use a CDN.
A CDN, or content delivery network, is a network of servers that are distributed around the world. A CDN can be used to deliver content, such as images, more efficiently to users. By using a CDN, you can improve the performance of your website by reducing the distance that the images have to travel to reach the user's device.
When a user accesses a website, the images on the page are typically served from a single server that is located in a specific location. If the user is far away from that location, the images may take a long time to load because they have to be transmitted over a long distance. By using a CDN, you can serve the images from a server that is closer to the user, which can reduce the time it takes for the images to load.
In addition to reducing the distance that the images have to travel, a CDN can also improve the performance of your website by reducing the amount of traffic on your server. When a user accesses your website, the server has to handle the request and serve the images to the user. This can put a lot of strain on the server, especially if the website is popular and receives a lot of traffic. By using a CDN, you can offload some of this traffic to the CDN servers, which can reduce the load on your server and improve its performance.
Use a caching plugin or server-side caching.
Caching is a technique that involves storing frequently accessed data in temporary memory so that it can be quickly retrieved later. When it comes to optimising images on a website, using a caching plugin or implementing server-side caching can greatly improve the performance of the site by reducing the amount of time it takes for images to load.
Caching plugins, also known as cache plugins, are tools that are installed on a website to improve its performance by storing frequently accessed data in temporary memory. When a user visits a website, the caching plugin will save a copy of the images on the page in temporary memory, so that they can be quickly loaded the next time the user visits the site. This reduces the amount of time it takes for the images to load, which can improve the overall user experience and the performance of the website.
Server-side caching, on the other hand, involves storing frequently accessed data on the server itself, rather than on the user's computer. This can be done using a variety of techniques, such as using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to store and serve images from multiple locations around the world, or using server-side caching software to store images in temporary memory on the server.
Overall, using a caching plugin or implementing server-side caching can greatly improve the performance of a website by reducing the amount of time it takes for images to load. This can enhance the user experience, improve the site's search engine rankings, and ultimately help to drive more traffic to the site.
Wrapping it all up.
In conclusion, optimising photos for a website can have a number of benefits. It can improve the performance of the site by reducing the file size of the photos and using appropriate file types, which can make the photos load more quickly and enhance the user experience. It can also improve the visibility of the site in search engine results by using relevant keywords and metadata, making it more likely that users will find the site when they search for keywords related to the photos on the site. Overall, optimising photos can help to drive more traffic to the site, improve the user experience, and ultimately help to improve the site's search engine rankings.