September 13, 2016 by Diana Bocco

Top Strategies to Optimize Images that will Boost Your Website’s Speed

If there’s one thing that instantly takes a toll on your website’s load time, it’s your visuals. 

Top Strategies to Optimize Images that will Boost Your Website’s Speed

[guest post by Zoe Anderson]

And since website speed is a major factor in Google ranking, it’s in your best interests to optimize all images and ensure a fast load time.

It’s quite simple – the fewer bytes a browser has to download, the less competition there will be for the client’s bandwidth. Consequently, the browser will download and render the website faster, boosting user experience and conversion rate of the website.

Sounds perfect, but how to achieve it? Here are 4 strategies to help you optimize images with website speed in mind.

Compress Images

Your first step will be to compress your images.

You’d be surprised to see how many website owners upload high resolution images without giving a thought to compressing them. High resolution means larger file size, so make sure to compress images while uploading them.

How to compress images without affecting their quality? Image compression is basically a process of algorithmically removing image information that’s not perceivable to human eye. When compressing JPEG files, however, expect to sometimes lose on the quality of your images – make sure to carefully check your post-compression results.

If your website is hosted on WordPress, you’ll find lots of image optimization plugins that can do the job for you. If you don’t want to use a plugin, try services like

Use the Right Image Format

When it comes to web formats, you can choose between JPEG, PNG and GIF – these are the most popular image formats out there.

Knowing which image format you should use for your website is very important because each of has its pros and cons.

Here’s everything you should know about each of these image formats to make the right decision:

  • JPEG/JPG – this format is perfect for complex images that contain lots of different colors such as photographs. JPEG can support 16.7 million colors, and by making it responsive you’ll retain high quality images without affecting load time.
  • GIF – GIF is a format used predominantly for low quality images with very few colors. The format can support only 256 colors so they’re the perfect choice for creating bullets, charts or clip art. Remember that while the image is loading it may be blurry, and only once downloading is finished users will get a crisp and focused image. Take this into account when choosing GIF for different elements of your website. Never use this format for complex images that have things like drop shadows.
  • PNG – PNG format works best for transparent images. What you should know about PNG is that contrary to JPEG, it doesn’t lose its information when you’re editing the image.

Benefit From Browser Cache

Browser cache can help you a lot in reducing the load time of your website.

How does it work? When a user first visits your website, different resources of your page such as images, JS or CSS files will be temporarily stored on their hard drive.

This is done with one purpose in mind – when they visit your website next time, the browser will be able to load those files without having to send another HTTP request. This translates into a serious reduction of time required for loading these resources.

What you should do is instruct browsers to help them deal with resources on your website in specific ways. Make sure that browsers keep your files longer than usual too.

This smart strategy works well for ensuring a speedy loading of your images – even if accessed by users who have visited your website a long time ago.

Go for CSS Instead of Images

One way you can seriously increase your website speed is by replacing images with CSS code. CSS allows creating simple images such as rounded rectangles, gradients, or drop shadows. You can use it to develop transparent images as well.

When you’re using CSS, just make sure your images are compatible with all popular browsers.

If you’re on WordPress, you can use smart plugins like Custom CSS from Jetpack or Simple Custom CSS. Both of these plugins are lightweight and help to easily customize your website visuals.

Use these 4 tips to seriously increase the speed of your website and boost its performance not only for visitors, but search engines as well.

* About the Author: Zoe Anderson is a tech-savvy blogger with a great passion for teaching. Zoe is a part of the team behind StudySelect where she often shares her stories pertaining to technology, marketing and social media.

Have another tip to help speed up loading time? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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