When people use the internet in 2021, they expect a page to load within seconds. Who has the time to spend on a website as that circle loading sign goes round and round?
New research from Google states that people don’t like to wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. 3 seconds isn’t a long time, therefore you need to ensure that your blog is running at the quickest possible speed.
A huge factor of having a quick loading time is optimized images.
What is an optimized image?
Having an optimized image is about reducing the file size of your image while retaining high quality. Images that are used on blogs are there for decorative purposes, therefore, they need to be clear and easy to see.
Although site speed doesn’t solely rely on images, for this post we are going to explore how to check your image sizes and how to compress your images. The end result is to optimize your images for your blog.
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How to check your image sizes
There are a number of free tools that you can use to check the status of your images. The best tool that I use is the Page Speed Insights by Google. This website can assess your desktop and mobile speed. This tool is very effective as different things will affect your desktop and mobile website versions.
Once you are on the website, you are going to enter your URL into the search bar.
You will then click the analyze button.
The results should only take around 2-3 minutes. Once the page had loaded, it will be split into two sections. Mobile and desktop. As bloggers, we tend to blog on our laptops and computers, meaning a lot of the time our desktop website is more optimized than our mobile site.
For my desktop, my site speed is in the amber section but overall, I am happy with my site speed.
This will then list all the images that are slowing down my site and that can be compressed. All my blog post images are set to auto-optimize using a plugin which we will get into later in the post but images that I include on my blog for decoration have not yet been compressed which is slowing down my load time.
It’s important to check your site once a month, even more frequently if you can, to ensure that there are no images that have been missed.
Related: How long should a blog post be.
File types of images
There are a number of different file types that you can use when uploading images to your site. Let’s run through the top three.
Using a JPEG image means that you are using the ‘lossy compression’ technique. This means that when your image is downloaded as a JPEG, the image is compressed and the data that is no longer used will be deleted, and cannot be retrieved, therefore, it is lost.
This type of file is often used for pictures taken on a camera or phone. When you take a picture on your camera, your picture could include millions of colours, JPEG creates a file format that keeps the image size low in spite of the large amount of colours used in the photo.
When using JPEG it’s important to ensure that the compression isn’t set too high or it will affect the quality of your image.
Related: What is a DA score for blogging?
A PNG file was originally created to replace a GIF back in 1990. One of the most appealing factors of using a PNG file image is that you can create a transparent background. This is popular as it avoids having a white or coloured background in the image.
When using a PNG image, it compresses the image using a lossless method. This means that it retains all the data within the file, which is different to the JPEG. A PNG file tends to hold more information than a JPEG.
PNG images are also commonly used for graphic pictures.
A GIF is different to PNG and JPEG for a number of reasons. A GIF can only retain 256 colours therefore the quality can be lower than the other file types.
So why do people still use GIFs? If you have heard the term GIF, you will know it as an image that has a small piece of animation behind it. This file format allows you to add animation or movement behind the image.
GIFS are very popular in personal blogs and other social media platforms.
Image dimensions for blogging
There are different sections to add images throughout your blog. Therefore there are different dimensions that work better than others for certain sections.
- Thumbnail images on your sidebar: 150×150 px.
- Featured images on your blog (Landscape): 1200×900 px.
- Background images: 1920×1080 px.
- Featured images on your blog (Portrait): 900×1200 px.
Following these optimal image sizes will ensure your images are optimized for your blog.
How to compress images + tools to use
If you have checked your site using the Google pages website and noticed that your images are too large for your site, don’t worry. We have a few tools that you can use to compress your images.
If you have a WordPress site, there are various plugins that you can use, let’s start with WordPress options.
The plugin that I personally use on The Bloggers Incentive is Smush Pro. I pay a fee of £4.96 per month for the unlimited plan. This allows me to compress an unlimited amount of images on my blog. The plugin also auto resizes the image for you therefore, they do all the hard work.
They do offer a free plan of 45 images to compress which is a great starting point.
Imagify is another plugin that allows you to compress images on your WordPress blog. They offer 20mb per month for free. They also offer a growth plan for $4.99 for 500mb or the unlimited plan is $9.99. If you are looking to use Imagify for the free plan, I think it’s worth it but for the price, Smush Pro is cheaper for the premium plan.
Again, this is a plugin that you can set to automatically compress your images so you don’t have to remember to do the work.
There are a number of websites online that you can also use if you don’t have a WordPress website. Let’s run through some of the popular sites to optimize images for your blog.
If you are looking to compress JPEG images, you can use the Compress JPEG website. This is free to use.
The website layout is very basic, but the website does exactly what you are looking for.
Tiny PNG is a very popular website and you can compress more than PNG images. You can also compress WebP, PNG and JPEG images.
They promise to compress your image by 70% which is a great amount for optimizing images for your blog. The website is very easy to use as well.
How to optimize images for your blog
Although there are paid options to compress your images, there are a number of free alternatives. Each image that you upload to your blog should be as optimized as possible to help with not only site speed, but also SEO.
Within your image, you should always include alt text as this is another opportunity to include your keyword.
What are some tools you use to optimize images for your blog?
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