As the old saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. Images on your website are a great way to communicate with users and to show them what your business is all about, especially if they’re taken by a professional photographer within your business and not stock images. However if they aren’t properly optimised for the web, they can end up having a negative impact and making the experience for a user unbearable. Nothing is more stressful than a lagging website. On average a user will wait just 3 seconds for a page to load on desktop, so fast load times are crucial. And to make it worse, it could lead your customers to your competitors if they’re waiting too long and find a quicker competitor site. If your images are slowing down your website, it’ll also unfortunately slow down your business. Here are 3 image tips to speed up your website.
1: Number Of Products Per Page
If you have an e-commerce website, it’s not uncommon to have thousands of products. All of which will most likely have a thumbnail on your various product list pages. This means that page load times can go downhill fast with such a vast amount of images. Test the number of products listed per page works best for your website. If you have 100 products, consider splitting that into 5 pages of 20 items (very common in online stores, think Asos or Amazon for example). Set the default number that showcases a nice amount of products without sacrificing load time. You can always leave it as a customisable option for users to a certain extent, once it doesn’t hinder performance too much (default=20 and give the user the choose of viewing all, etc.).
2: Check File Sizes
Web developers, marketers and business owners have a tendency to use large high resolution images across websites. While it can make the site visually appealing, it can dramatically increase load times. The same effect can often be garnered by simply compressing the image. If you were to take a photo on your camera/smartphone, it’s usually about 4-5mb straight off the bat, which can be very costly to the load time of the page it’s on. You don’t want your potential customers waiting once again in fear of losing them. Keep your image file sizes as small as you can, under 100kb wherever possible. Even at 2% of the size of the original, it will still hold at least 90% of the quality the original had. You can adjust image resolution and scale by using a programme like Photoshop or even for free with software like GIMP.
3: Choose The Correct File Type
The three main file types you will come across on your website are JPEG, PNG and GIF. GIF files are only suitable for smaller images like icons. PNG files should be used sparingly as their file size can sometimes be several times that of a JPEG. JPEG images offer great quality and tiny file sizes. They are suitable for most websites, especially image heavy ecommerce sites.
The Bottom Line
Speed up your website and improve user experience by testing and finding the optimal number of products to display per page, always look at your image file sizes and keep them below 100kb whenever possible and choose the correct file type for the job to avoid adding on load time for larger files.