Optimizing Images to Improve Your Blog’s Speed Performance

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posted on: January 1, 2017

For any blog, images cannot be overlooked. They play a vital role in building your audience and contribute to your overall brand identity. Unfortunately, images often define blogs from being great. I’ve written about different elements of blog photography here, but today’s post focuses on the technical elements of your blog photography and your website.

Why Should You Optimize Images?

You might not think that images play a part in SEO, but they do. Images contribute to how quickly a web page will load. Lots of large images mean that the page is large, and thus loads more slowly.

Studies have found that people tend to abandon websites if they take longer than 3 seconds to load. Honestly, if it takes longer than 1 second, you are probably in trouble. Your blog needs to be easy for people to access and that means quick to load.

Fast loading also prevents blogs from having a high bounce rate. Users are more inclined to stay on your site if the experience is effortless. No one likes to wait.

Be Selective With Your Images

Each image you use on your page contributes to the total page size. A blog post with 2 images is going to be smaller than a blog post with 20 images. The more images you have, the bigger the page is, and subsequently, the longer it will take to load.

Therefore, it benefits you to be selective with your images. If you are lifestyle publisher, I recommend including between 5-8 images. Five images might be too few, but anything over eight is too much. Images you don’t use can be used on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Twitter.

Size Them Correctly For Your Website

Even if you only use just one image, you want to make sure that each photo is sized appropriately for the web. When you export your photographs or blog post graphics, you should make sure that each one follows these rules:

  • Width should be double the width needed so that your images look crisp on retina displays. If your main content is 700 pixels wide, your image width should be 1400 pixels.
  • 70-80% quality will ensure that the file size is small enough for the web without losing a lot of the quality of the photograph.
  • File sizes should be around 200kb, and definitely no bigger than 500kb. If your images are 1MB or larger, you are not adjusting the quality.

Fortunately, photo editing tools such as Lightroom make it easy for you to bulk export your photos for blog posts.

Choose The Right File Type

Selecting the correct file type for your blog post graphics and photographs will contribute to your file size. PNGs tend to be larger than JPG. For most blog imagery, you will likely use JPG. JPG are used for any image-based graphics, including photographs. You can read more about file formats here.

Use Caution with Image Optimization Programs

If you are sizing your images correctly for the web when you export them, then you should not run into issues when you upload them to your site. If you are consistently uploading huge images, then you are going to run into timeout and uploading issues.

Be wary of image optimization programs. These are designed to reduce file size, but they can do this at the expense of quality. While it might be a short-term fix, I don’t recommend it over the long-term. Instead, I recommend following best-practices for correctly adding photographs to your website.

If you have been guilty of uploading big images, it might be the time that you audit and clean-up your past content. If you can re-upload new images, delete your old ones from the server and re-upload the new ones. Only remove these images when you have new ones ready to go!

Select Premium WordPress Hosting

WordPress hosting companies are not equal. Finding a great service can be a challenge. For a while, I have included a clause in my contract about sub standard hosts like GoDaddy (side note: I’ve recently added Bluehost to that list).

If you are starting a blog or a seasoned blogger, I strongly recommend SiteGround. I have moved at least twenty clients to SiteGround in the past six months. All of which are extremely happy with the service and have not run into any issues. The best thing I like about SiteGround is that you are able to scale your hosting depending on how your brand grows. For most bloggers, the $3.95/month shared hosting plan is the perfect place to start!

Remember, the speed of your blog impacts user experience. If you are not following best practices with adding graphics to your site, start doing so now!

Editor's Note

Some of the links included throughout this website are affiliate links, which means that Lindsay Humes LLC receives a small commission when certain items are purchased. These affiliate links provide a means for the site to earn revenue and generate free content for readers. For more details, read the privacy policy here.

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