We all know that a website without any images is a boring one.
Images pep things up, grab a viewer’s interest and keep them on the page unless those images take too long to load, slow down your website, and eat up the bandwidth.
Then you start to see an increase in bounce rates and that’s not good for any website.
You can stop this happening by optimizing your website images, a technique that compresses the files, making them significantly smaller with only minimal effect on the quality of the images.
And there are two ways to do it – with a plugin that adds to the loading on the server or offline. For this post, we are going to be looking at offline optimization.
Why is Image Optimization So Important?
Image optimization is the process by which image files are compressed to make them smaller. During the compression, the quality of the image is retained as far as possible and this leaves many questioning why, if the image still looks the same, you should even bother with optimization.
The answer to that is quite simple; yes, images do enhance your website and they do serve to break up chunks of text but they do have downsides.
Usually, an image file is large, some more so than others, and this can make site loading and performance somewhat creaky and slow.
The effect of this is that your visitors will soon get fed up and will happily move on to a speedier site. The number of visitors that do this makes up your bounce rate and the higher that number is, the worse it is.
Don’t forget; most people expect a website to be fully loaded inside of two seconds and this, alone tells you why large, uncompressed image files can cause problems.
This is why we optimize images; by reducing the amount of data on your website, you can reduce, quite significantly, the time it takes to load, not to mention the savings in storage space and bandwidth usage as large amounts of information are transferred from your website to that of your visitors.
Optimizing Your Images Offline
Optimizing your images offline involves the use of an external website, app or another tool. Once the images are optimized, you can upload them, in their optimized state, to your website.
This might seem like a daft, unnecessary step when you can use a simple WordPress plugin to do it all for you but there are three main benefits to doing this:
- You don’t put any extra strain or loading on the server like a plugin would
- There are no risks of incompatibility with your website in the event of technical issues
- You don’t need to back up your newly optimized images because you already have them saved offline.
There are plenty of tools you can use to do this, but the best ones are Photoshop, File Optimizer, and ImageOptim or, if you choose a solution that is web-based, have a look at Kraken.io or TinyPNG.