Having a fast website is incredibly important to helping you get to the top of the Google search results. Google has even come out and said that a page’s load time is a factor in their search results ranking. However, the number one thing most sites forget to do to achieve a fast loading time for their page is to optimize their images. Today, we’ll go over the best ways for optimizing images to improve site performance.
Make Sure You’re Using the Correct File Extension
Using the correct file extension is critical to optimizing images and creating the fastest load time possible. Here are the main file extensions:
JPEG images are best for optimizing images using photographs that use thousands of different colors. The only time you would use a JPEG format would be for you to use a photographed image. Using any other graphics or flat color schemes would better suit the GIF and PNG formats.
GIF is a file extension that has been really popular to use for flat graphics over the past few decades. They are best when using under 256 colors and are popular because you can use multiple frames within a single file to create an animated image. However, if you aren’t going for an animated image, they are beginning to lose favor the new PNG file extension.
PNGs have become very popular. This is due to the fact that you can use a wide range of features such as transparency and large fields of color. Since PNGs have this advantage, they have pretty much replaced almost all usage of the GIF when animation is not involved. You can save the PNG format in an 8-bit or a 24-bit format. However, we recommend that you almost always select the 24-bit format. Especially if you are using any transparency in your image.
Good Old Fashioned Photoshop
Now that you’ve selected the correct file extension that you want to use, it’s now time to save the file in a way that is optimized for the web. Photoshop has a great feature called “Save for Web”. This feature allows you to select optimization options and preview the newly optimized work. This has allowed me to compress a 66KB image down to an 18KB image.
WordPress Plugins for Optimizing Images
If you don’t want to go the photoshop route, here are a few different plugins that you can use. The most popular of these is the WP Smush plugin. WP Smush creates optimized images for you with the push of a single button. There are also other popular plugins such as EWWW Image Optimizer, CW Image Optimizer, and Hammy that you should check out as well.
So there you have it. A few easy steps that allow you to optimize your images for the fastest possible load time. By selecting the appropriate file extension, saving your images in an optimized format, or using a WordPress Plugin, you’ll be helping your site reach the top of the Google SERPs. If you ever have questions or need help optimizing, you can always contact us here.