How to Optimize Images for Faster Page Speeds
hat site Any store owner will concur that photos are an integral part of every product page. Photos can induce a shopper to follow through the buying process to the end. So, provide professional, highly-detailed pictures of your products, and you can be assured of a high probability that your buyer will add the product to the cart.
Providing your shoppers with great photos also comes at a price. Every photo or media file you add to your pages increases the loading time of your pages. And, even though your shoppers are interested in your products, they may be impatient to wait for the pages to load. Thus, the challenge is to provide high-quality photos and keep the product pages loading fast. It may seem like a hopeless problem, but there are numerous ways to enhance your page load speeds.
Why Your Website Speed Matters
There are several reasons for maintaining a fast website, and one of them involves search engines. In 2010, Google incorporated site speed as a ranking mechanism in its search results. Since then, e-commerce site owners have been advised to reduce loading times or speed up their stores. But, the main reason is that shoppers don’t want to wait. They are impatient to wait for your page to load, they don’t want to wait for their shipments, and indeed, they can’t wait for answers. Austin’s Moonraker Marketing – SEO Company advises that ideal site speeds should be under two seconds to make both customers and search engines happy. Thus, if you give your potential shoppers a laggy, slow page, they will shop elsewhere.
Speed Testing Tools
You can use tools such as Pingdom’s Website Speed Test and Google’s PageSpeed Tools to determine which images have unnecessarily big sizes that slow down your page load time. To use Pingdom, head to Pingdom Tools and enter your site’s URL, then click “Start Test” and wait for the analyzed results. Most modern web browsers also have developer tools that can help you measure your site speed.
How to Optimize Image Properties
When optimizing your images for speed, you need to consider the following tips:
Physical Image Size
Ensure you maintain the appropriate physical size (height and width) of your pictures. As a good rule, keep the longest side of your image below 1,000 pixels. This means, if you take a photo using your camera set at 5 megapixels, the longest side of the image will have 5,000 pixels. This is a far much higher resolution than is required for the web. Thus, use free web services such as Pixlr, or graphics software on your computer to trim the raw product photos or camera images.
Use Image Compression
Reducing the image dimensions also has its limits. To make a huge difference, you need to use software to compress your images and to balance the image quality with its file size, and that is where Adobe PhotoShop comes in. Using PhotoShop will help you to:
• Dramatically reduce the size of the image
• Preview the quality of the image
• See how small the file is
• See the duration it will take to download using different internet speeds
If you feel Photoshop is expensive, you can opt for JPEGmini. This application costs about $100, and it can reduce your image sizes by about 80 percent. It also has a straightforward user interface. Other free online tools include TinyPNG and Kraken Image Optimizer.
Image Optimization Plugins
If you are using a content management system (CMS) for web publishing, you may already have access to modules that can optimize images for you. WordPress templates often generate several image sizes when you upload your images. These images then fit automatically into the regions of the template designed to have specific sizes. Also, when adding images to the page content, you may choose specific image sizes such as full-size, large, medium, and thumbnail. Such plugins include:
• WP Smush
• EWWW Image Resizer
• ShortPixel Image Optimizer
• Compress JPG & PNG Images
Being diligent with your images will improve the loading speed of your pages and will help you convert a tremendous percentage of your website visitors. So, be keen on the physical size of your images, use image compression technology, and use optimization plugins to help you enhance your product images.