How Optimizing Images can Speed up your Website

I see it all to often, a website that has very little content and a couple of images, but takes forever to download.

Images that have been uploaded to the website and then re-sized in the website design program instead of an image editing program.

When you upload an image to your website, and then re-size it to the size of a stamp, you have done nothing to the image size at all. What you are actually doing is telling the browser to re-size the image on the fly, this creates a lot of extra work for the browser. The image that you re-sized to 2 x 4.5 inches is still 8 x 10 inches and now takes 2 minutes to download.

Although a great number of users are switching over to broadband every year, there are still a large number using the old dial-up connections. It would be unwise to exclude them when designing/editing or optimizing your website, one of the major considerations to make for dial-up visitors, is the loading time of your website.

Generally speaking, most of the text on your website will be loaded in a very short time, even on a dial-up connection, normally the culprit of slow-loading websites is large un-optimized images on your pages. It is very important to maintain a balance between, having just enough images to attract your visitors, and not compromising the loading speed of your website.

You should always take the extra time to make sure that all images on your website are optimized so that they load in the least time possible. What I am actually saying, is that, you should always use an image editing program to remove unwanted data and information from the image, which in turn, decreases image size without compromising its appearance and quality.

If you own Photoshop, Fireworks, Paintshop Pro, it becomes obvious that when you attempt to save the image as a JPEG file, a dialog box appears which allows you to select the “quality” of the JPEG image — normally a setting of 8 to 10 or even “medium” to “high” quality is fairly acceptable, as it will retain the quality of your image while saving it in a smaller file size. If you don’t have the programs I’ve just mentioned, not to worry, there are many Freeware image editors and image compressors online that you can download and use to reduce your image’s file size.

Just one small thing to remember! Before you save your image in the desired format, you should physically re-size your image first, in other words if you are going to upload an 8 x 10 inch photo, you should first scale it down to a reasonable size, lets say 2 x 6 inches, and then save it in the desired format with a compression of 8 to 10, now you have a reasonable image to view, with fast download time.

If you prefer, you can choose to save your images in PNG format, this will give you the best quality at the least file size. You may also save your images in GIF format — the image editing software for GIF will clip away all the colour information not used in your image, hence giving you the smallest file size possible. However, take note, saving in GIF format will more than often compromise the appearance of your image, so you will have to make your choice carefully. You can read more information here:

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