Images are essential for catching and holding readers’ interest. However, they’re also one of the slowest-loading elements on the web. Poor performance can cause visitors to abandon your site, so overcoming this issue is vital to its success.
If you want a lighter, faster website, image optimization is a solid place to start. Through optimization, you can continue to catch your audience’s attention with beautiful, high-quality visuals without significantly increasing your page loading times.
In this article, we’ll share five ways to boost your website’s performance via image optimization. Let’s get started!
An introduction to image optimization (and why it’s important)
Image optimization is all about striking a balance between reducing the size of your image files and maintaining an acceptable level of quality. This can reduce your page loading times without negatively impacting the visitor experience with blurry or pixelated visuals.
Visitors care about how long a page takes to load. Studies suggest that 40 percent of people abandon websites that take longer than three seconds to render. By optimizing your images, you can avoid losing out on traffic.
Page load times can also have an impact on conversions and revenue. Research suggests that if your site is making $100,000 per day, a one-second delay could cost you $2.5 million in lost revenue per year.
Additionally, Google uses page speed as a ranking factor. By improving your site’s loading times, you can climb the search engine rankings and boost your organic traffic.
By reducing the size of your images, you can often help Google crawl and index them faster. This can help you start drawing traffic from Google Image Search. For time-sensitive visuals such as those related to current events or flash sales, this is particularly important.
Last but not least, image optimization could reduce the size of your website backups. This can make the process faster, and the resulting files smaller. Depending on your hosting provider and plan, this may even prevent you from surpassing your allocated storage space and incurring additional fees.
How to set a performance benchmark
Before carrying out any kind of optimization, it helps to have a performance baseline. By testing your site before and after, you can identify the tangible benefits of all your image optimization efforts.
Every site is unique, so some optimization techniques may yield greater results than others. To identify the ones that deliver the best results for your website, you may want to run performance tests after implementing each strategy. You can then place the strongest-performing techniques at the heart of your future efforts.
You can measure your site’s performance using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, or GTmetrix. Alternatively, you can automate the process using ManageWP’s Performance Check feature:
ManageWP tests your site using Google PageSpeed and Yahoo! YSlow ruleset.
This article was written by Will Morris and originally published on ManageWP.