Everything You Need To Know About Images on Your Website

Even with a beautiful design, theme, and fonts, a website without images looks boring.

But too many images or those that don’t meet website image size guidelines can affect your website’s performance, causing your pages to load slowly.

Both visitors and search engines care about a website’s speed. Potential customers will leave in the first few seconds if there are delays in page load times.

Website visitors can’t convert if they abandon your website quickly. Your ranking will also eventually drop on search engine results pages (SERPS) because of the high bounce rates.

Here’s the good news:

You can learn the best way to optimize images for fast-loading pages.

This tutorial will discuss image optimization, website image size guidelines, and actionable ways to optimize images for websites.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Best Image Size for Web
Image Optimization 101
Image Optimization and Website Speed
Why You Need To Optimize Your Website Images
How To Optimize Images for Websites
Final Thoughts: How To Optimize Images for Websites — The Ultimate Guide

Best Image Size for Web

The ideal image file sizes for your website should be less than 500 KB, with a limit of 20 MB for individual images.

The dimensions of the original image width should be between 1500 and 2500 pixels for desktop and 640 by 320 pixels for mobile devices.

Image Optimization 101

To optimize your website images, you have to reduce the image file size, so the content loads and renders quickly on a user’s screen.

You can use several methods to optimize images, including compressing large files, resizing the image, or changing the format.

You can also opt to use an image optimization tool to automatically reduce the image by up to 80% without noticeable loss in the image’s quality.

Image Optimization and Website Speed

How to optimize images for website to improve website speed
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If a website takes too long to load, visitors will leave. We call this “bouncing.” A webpage’s bounce rate increases with each additional second your page takes before it loads.

By learning how to optimize your website images, it will become easier and quicker to load pages.

Since images are often among the heaviest assets being transferred in a browsing session, they can slow down your page load speeds.

Use images sparingly and ensure they are optimized for the web before you upload them. This will improve your website speed, reduce bounce rates, and increase conversions.

Why You Need To Optimize Your Website Images

We cannot overstate the importance of images on your ecommerce website. Besides improving site speed, here are other reasons to learn how to optimize image size for websites:

  • Reduces bounce rates
  • Improves website performance
  • Helps your page rank higher in search engine results
  • Boosts conversion rates
  • Occupies less space on your server
  • Enhances user experience

How To Optimize Images for Websites

The ultimate goal of image optimization is to reduce an image’s size while maintaining its quality. But images can make or break a website. Too many images or large images can slow down your website and affect performance.

 Here’s what you need to do to learn how to optimize images for the web without losing quality:

Use Plugins

How to optimize images for website using Smush
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The ideal way to optimize images for your WordPress site is to do so before uploading them. WordPress image compression plugins are a great, automated solution to optimize images on your website.

Some of the best image compression WordPress plugins include:

Always make sure the plugin you choose is updated to work with the latest version of WordPress.
Use Image Caching

A cache is a storage bank for temporary data. Image caching is when image files are downloaded to local storage so they’ll load faster when a user visits a website again.

Caching makes it easier to view images since users don’t have to redownload them every time they visit a website — thus, they get the information they need faster.

Image caching is an excellent way to solve issues that come with unoptimized images like slow-loading pages.

You can improve the performance of your website by storing local copies of your website files that you frequently or have recently used.

Optimize ALT Image Tags

ALT text, or alternative text, replaces an image if the image fails to display or if a visitor is using a screen reader. While users will understand a picture if they can view it, search engines will not.

That’s why you need ALT text to allow search engines to index what the image is about. Even if the images on your website fail to render, your page will still rank since web crawlers can read the ALT text.

This makes ALT text important for search engine optimization (SEO). You should provide enough details with relevant keywords in your images’ ALT text to boost visibility.

Using ALT text is also an excellent way for e-commerce products images to appear in search engines.

Resize Images Before Uploading

How to optimize images for website using Adobe Photoshop
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High-resolution and large image dimensions (i.e., their height and width) are excellent for print production but are unsuitable for websites. You need to reduce the file size for images to load correctly on your website while maintaining high quality.

You can resize the image file dimensions using editing software like Adobe Photoshop to reduce your images’ overall file size.

Host Images on a Content Delivery Network

Hosting your images on a content delivery network (CDN) will enable them to load faster on webpages.

A CDN stores your cached website content in different geographical locations to help minimize delays in loading web content. It does that by reducing the distance between the visitor and the server.

For instance, if your server is in New York, and a user in Sweden visits your website, the CDN serves them using a server closest to them — not the one in New York.

Choose the Right File Type

You need to choose the correct file format for your images because it affects their optimization and the total image size. The most popular file formats for images on the web include:

  • JPEG/JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is a lossy image format that approximates what your original image looks like.

Lossy compression means that the image quality decreases with the file size and might remove any unnecessary data on your image. Using a JPEG image results in smaller file sizes and offers the best image size for product images and homepage hero banners.

  • PNG (Portable Network Graphic) is a lossless image format and carries the largest file size while offering high-quality images. Lossless compression means nothing from the original file is lost after compressing the PNG files.

PNG images typically maintain their quality after compression. It is the best choice when your image needs a transparent background, such as logos, illustrations, or icons.

  • GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) is a lossless format widely used for animated images in social media memes and banner ads.

Use a Lazy Loading Plugin

How to optimize images for website using Lazy Load
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Lazy loading means delaying the loading of images on your website until you get close to the image. The image at the bottom of a page loads just before you get to it, instead of loading with the entire page.Since only a few images are loading at a time, you save on bandwidth, and your website performs better.

We recommend adding the Lazy Load by WP Rocket plugin to your website if you’re using WordPress.

Compress Images

You need to strike a perfect balance between quality and size when you compress your images. Avoid compressing your images too much. While compression will result in smaller image sizes, it will also lower their quality.

Minimal compression, on the other hand, results in larger but higher-quality files.

There are a few ways to compress your images:

  • Use image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop or ImageOptim
  • Use web compression tools like JPEGmini or TinyPNG
  • Use WordPress image optimization plugins like Optimole that automatically compress new images when you upload them on your website

Final Thoughts: How To Optimize Images for Websites — The Ultimate Guide

You have now learned how to optimize images for your website to improve page speed. If you’re not using optimized images or following website image size guidelines, you should start doing so.

With many customers using mobile devices to access your website, you need to ensure optimal file sizes and formats.

If you’ve implemented these strategies and are still not impressed with your website’s loading time, it might be time to move to managed WordPress hosting.

With Bluehost’s Managed WordPress hosting, you don’t have to worry about your website being slow. We offer caching and a CDN to cater to your website’s image optimization and loading speeds.

This will significantly improve your page load times and help you rank higher in search engine results while improving your website’s overall performance. Try Bluehost’s Managed WordPress hosting today.

Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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