Your image file size might be slowing your website down

Did you know, on average images make up 21% of a total websites weight?*

Done right, images can make a website look fantastic. Done wrong, and your websites load speed will be off the chart.

Images typically make up 21% of an average website these days so it’s crucial that you take the time to optimise every image you upload to your site.

There are so many ways to optimise your images and it’s really quite a simple task. But often one that’s overlooked, especially when time is precious.

That’s why we’ve pulled together everything you need to know about optimising images as well as throwing in some step by step guides to show you just how easy it is to do

We love WordPress as it makes it so easy to upload awesome pictures to your website. So everything in this guide will focus around uploading images to a website using WordPress.

Why do I need to optimise my images?

We thought we’d kick-start this guide by sharing some of the BIG benefits of making your image files little.

Optimise your images and…

  • your site will load faster than the speed of light! OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration but keeping on top of image optimisation will prevent big increases in your site speed. If your website takes an age to load, your visitors will most likely lose patience and go elsewhere
  • Your SEO will benefit. Search engines hate slow sites, so they’ll absolutely love yours with its fully optimised images. You’ll get bonus points for saving all your images with relevant keywords so people can find your website by carrying out a Google Image Search too. (you might also like this article about SEO and WordPress)
  • Backups will be a breeze. They’ll be much quicker to create
  • Browsers and networks will love your lower bandwidth
  • Your server will thank you too. You’ll come with less baggage and won’t need as much storage space

So how do I go about optimising my images for web?

It’s all about finding the right balance between the quality and size of your image, and there are a few ways to go about it. We’re going to share some tips on optimising images using a photo editing tool (like Photoshop) before uploading to WordPress and also share some useful resources on plugins which allow you to do this from within the WordPress platform itself.

What file format should I save my image in?

First up, it’s good to establish the best file type for the job. Before you start modifying your image decide whether you need it to be a PNG, JPEG or GIF.

PNG – expect a higher-quality image but a larger file size. Best for logos, text heavy/graphic designs, screenshots and anything that requires a transparent background.

JPEG – You’ll probably save images as a jpeg the most. Best for photography, lifestyle images, product shots. As photos contain a wide variety of colours and natural variations, the loss in quality is usually unnoticeable to the human eye.

GIF – If you need to add an animation go for GIF.

How image file size can impact website performance - aspect ratioWhat size should I save my images?

If you’re using a tool to reduce image size, be wary of things like aspect ratio. We’ve popped a handy definition of this below for you.

What’s aspect ratio? – aspect ratio is an images width to height ratio, typically expressed as a number like 3:4. Maintain your images aspect ratio and it won’t become distorted. If you were to reduce the height for example, but not the length, the image would distort so you need to ensure the length is also reduced by the same amount.

We’d recommend aiming for an image file size of no more than 500KB where possible. To help achieve this, reduce the size of your image down before saving & uploading . Aim for anywhere between 1500 to 2500 pixels wide. Anything below 1500 pixels wide could start to look a little blurry.

Should I resize my image before I upload to WordPress?

Yes, but you don’t need to worry too much before uploading to WP. As long as you aim to get your image files below 500KB before uploading, you’ll save eating up all your web hosting disk space.

The best method is to quickly resize your images in a photo editing tool beforehand, and then upload all to WP and use one of the many image optimising plugins available to reduce it further.

This article compares 5 of the best WordPress image compression plugins.

The Smush Image Compression and Optimisation plugin is incredibly popular among the WordPress community.

We hope you found this information useful. We really would recommend investing time in image optimisation as it’ll not only benefit your site speed but your search engine optimisation efforts too.