Images play a crucial role getting people to convert.
In fact, I can see in about 10 seconds of landing on a business’s website if it will convert visitors, purely based on their image choice.
Chances are you spend a lot of time selecting the right images to enhance and showcase your business.
But, do you spend an equal amount of time optimising the images on your site?
When used the right way, images can contribute to your site’s overall SEO and boost organic traffic from Google.
When done poorly they can seriously slow your website down.
This week I want to share my top four tips on optimising your images.
1. Choose the Best File Format
Site speed is an important ranking signal, and images are often the largest contributor to overall page size.
As a result, you need to optimise images for speed in order to improve the overall performance of your site. The first step involved in optimising images is picking the best file format, so let’s look at JPEG vs. PNG.
The most commonly used image formats on the web are JPEG and PNG.
Both of these formats use different compression techniques, which is why the file sizes between these two can be dramatically different.
Looking at the difference in the SIZE of the files above, it would be easy to declare JPEG as the clear winner.
But it would be a mistake to use JPEG as the default image format for your site.
While JPEGs look great for photographs (as seen in the Panda image above), PNGs are best suited for images that contain text, line drawings, etc.
This illustration by Digital Inspiration proves my point.
2. Compress Your Images
The larger your image file size, the longer it takes the web page to load, which is why it is imperative that you compress your images before uploading them on your site.
Luckily, there are several free tools out there that can help you compress your images.
TinyPNG: TinyPNG is a super simple program which reduces the file size of your PNG and JPEG files.
ImageOptim: If you’re a Mac user, you can download and use this free tool for all your image compression needs. ImageOption is a tool recommended by Google as well. It’s by far the best tool for compressing JPEGs, but not for PNGs. For compressing PNGs, you’re better off using TinyPNG.
ShortPixel: If you run your site on WordPress, you can install this plugin to compress your images. ShortPixel’s free plan allows you to compress 100 images per month.
3. Provide “Alt Text” for Images
Despite advances in Google’s abilities to understand images, adding alt text to images is still a necessary step. Adding alt text to images improves web accessibility and helps browsers better understand the images on your site.
Here is what Google says about writing alt text:
“When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page.
Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.”
Summary: When writing alt text for images, be concise in your description, and avoid stuffing your target keywords.
4. “Lazy-Load” Your Images
Lazy loading is a technique that seriously helps page speed. Basically, images and videos are loaded only when users need them rather than when they first arrive on your website.
Here is how Google explains the link between lazy loading and site performance:
“When we lazy load images and video, we reduce initial page load time, initial page weight, and system resource usage, all of which have positive impacts on performance.”
To lazy load your images and videos on WordPress, you can use the free a3 Lazy Load plugin.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.