How to Optimize Your Images to Load Faster

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The time it takes your website to load can affect several important metrics, including traffic, bounce rate, conversions and even search rankings. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce a site’s load times, beginning with image optimization for the web and for WordPress websites.

Save in The Right Format

The format in which you save an image will affect its file size, and subsequently, the time it takes visitors to load it. JPG is the most widely used format for web images. It uses compression standards to create a smaller file size while still delivering a superior level of quality for high-resolution images. Since it uses “lossy” compression, however, JPG images degrade each time they are saved. So, for smaller images like logos and line drawings, use PNG.

Resize Image

Resizing your images prior to uploading them can make them smaller and faster to load. If you use WordPress or a similar content management system (CMS), you may notice an image resizing tool in the interface. Normally, these tools force visitors to load the original image first, after which it serves the resized version. Therefore, using your CMS’ image resizing tool isn’t going to help with speed or performance; it’s a poor tactic for WordPress speed optimization. You need to manually resize the image in an external application like Photoshop before uploading it to your site. WordPress speed optimization is important, so always resize your images externally.

Optimization Tool

There are tools available designed specifically for optimizing images. ShortPixel is one such tool that boasts up to a 90 percent compression rate without. Optimizilla is another tool to consider using. Regardless, these tools eliminate unnecessary bits of data from the image; thus, making the file smaller. Keep in mind, however, that some tools use lossy compression and others use lossless.

Content Delivery Network

Another step to optimizing images is to host them and other static files on a content delivery network (CDN). Unlike traditional web hosting, a CDN uses multiple servers to transmit data to and from clients, prioritizing the use of these servers based on the client’s geographic location.

The general idea behind a CDN is shorten the physical distance between the website and the visitor (client). If someone in Australia attempts to visit your website, for instance, a CDN may use an Australia-based server to deliver your images to that visitor. For this reason, a CDN is essential for website speed optimization.

Amazon S3 Hosting

You can also speed up your site by hosting images on Amazon S3. As explained here, Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) is a scalable, low-cost, object-based data storage service. Since ituses the same servers that Amazon uses to host its own web properties, you can rest assured knowing that it’s very fast.

For maximum speed, it’s recommended that you use Amazon S3 in conjunction with a CDN, such as Amazon CloudFront. The original image files will be stored on Amazon S3, but the CDN servers will store and serve copies of these files to visitors. It’s a powerful setup that can drastically reduce your site’s load times through website speed optimization.

Following these image optimization tips outlined here will reduce your site’s load times and help you capture more traffic in the process.

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