Images are crucial components of any website. They can help grab visitors’ attention and keep them engaged with your content. However, if your images are poorly optimized, it can slow down your website’s loading speed, leading to a negative user experience and impacting your search engine ranking.
Some techniques and tricks allow you to reduce the file size of your images and keep them looking good enough to use on your law firm’s website. This article will explain image optimization and explore how to format and optimize images for web performance.
What is Image Optimization?
An image that is too large can slow down your website, creating a less-than-optimal user experience. Image optimization is when you edit an image to meet particular criteria for your website. These criteria include:
Images should be displayed in a way that doesn’t slow down your website or ruin the user’s experience. There are many ways you can optimize your images.
Methods You Can Use to Optimize Website Images
When formatting your images, the goal is to find the balance between a good-quality image and the lowest file size. Here are some methods available to optimize images for your website.
- Set and Forget — This is the first and most straightforward option. You can install and set up a WordPress plugin on your website with a “set and forget” feature. Set and forget allows you to optimize images without changing the original image.
- Browser-Based — Many websites offer browser-based image optimization. However, this option requires manual input, so it’s better to use this for a one-off optimization and avoid using it for bulk tasks.
- Desktop Software — There are many options for desktop software to optimize images. However, this option requires more technical knowledge, as you must download and install the software on your computer. ImageOptim for Mac is an example of desktop software that you can use. Using ImageOptim, you drag and drop images into the software to optimize them.
- Publishing Tools — Finally, the most complex and costly option is to use a professional-level publishing tool such as Photoshop. If you own a copy of Photoshop, you may already know how to optimize an image, but many people don’t realize this program offers that functionality.
Optimizing Website Images
#1. Use the Correct File Format
The first step in optimizing images is to use the correct file format. Some of the most common file formats are:
- JPEG — This is best for photographs or images with many colors. JPEG files are compressed, meaning they have a smaller file size but might lose some quality. They’re best suited for images that don’t require transparency.
- PNG — This format is best for images such as icons or logos that require transparency. They are larger than JPEG files but are of higher quality.
- GIF — This format is best for animated images. GIF files are smaller in size but have a limited color palette.
#2. Resize Images
As we mentioned, an image that is too large can significantly slow down your website’s loading speed. Therefore, resizing an image before uploading it to your website is essential. This can be done using software such as GIMP or Photoshop or online tools such as TinyPNG or Compressor.io.
#3. Optimize Alt Tags
Alt tags are image descriptions that appear when a user hovers over the image or when an image can’t load. They are essential for accessibility and SEO. You can optimize alt tags by including relevant keywords and accurately describing the image.
Alt tags also provide a significant benefit by helping visually impaired visitors understand your content when using screen-reading tools. In addition, ensuring accurate, detailed alt text enables you to build a more inclusive website and cast a wider net for potential clients.
#4. Optimize Image File Names
File names for your images should be descriptive and contain relevant keywords. Avoid using generic names such as “image1.jpg” or “photo.jpg.” This will help search engines understand the image and improve your website’s SEO.
#5. Use Lazy Loading
Lazy loading is a technique that loads images only when needed. So when a user comes to your website, instead of the images loading in bulk, they will load in the website section the visitor is on. Then, the images in that section will load as the visitor navigates to other parts of your website. You can use plugins like WP Smush and Lazy Load to implement lazy loading on your website.
#6. Use SVG Images
SVG images are vector-based images that can scale without losing quality. They are best suited for logos, icons, and other simple images. SVG images have a smaller file size and are faster to load than raster images like JPEG and PNG. In addition, they are indexed the same way as PNGs and JPGs, so SEO isn’t affected.
#7. Optimize Image Metadata
An image’s metadata provides information about that image like the date it was created and the camera used to take it. This information can significantly impact the loading speed of your website. Tools such as ExifTool and Lightroom can help remove unnecessary metadata from images.
Turn to Conroy Creative Counsel for All of Your Website Needs
Optimizing images on your website is crucial for improving your website’s loading speed and user experience. The methods discussed in this article can help you optimize images without compromising quality. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced web developer, there are methods here that you can use to improve your website’s image optimization.
Conroy Creative Counsel provides strategic marketing consulting and creative services for law firms. We can help you establish a solid digital presence with impactful web design, messaging, and the technology your law firm needs to set itself apart from the competition.
Schedule a quick call today to learn how we can be your Marketing Co-Counsel.