Why you should optimise images

A couple of weeks ago, we were super excited to be featured in Claire Wilson’s blog on lle-photography.co.uk. We looked at how and why you should optimise images for the web.

Images – in the wrong format, too large, or too many of them – are often the culprit in poor site performance; Google won’t like this. When a user visits your site, their browser has to download all of the images before showing them. If they’ve got to wait too long for them to load, they’ll just leave. This is an even bigger problem for those people using mobile data.

Previously, common knowledge was that jpegs was the way to go – but that’s not quite the case anymore. While jpegs are still preferable over a png (in most cases), in recent years a new format has become available to us: “WebP”.

WebP compresses the file size of an image without compromising on the quality of the shot. Whilst the size savings you’ll make on smaller images will be reduced significantly, compared to those massive pictures you’ve probably got scattered about, “some improvement” is better than none. If you’ve got an image heavy site, chances are WebP will make huge savings for you.

Don’t worry though, you don’t have to manually convert all of your images – especially if you’re on WordPress. EWWW Image Optimizer is a free plugin* that will scan your whole site and automatically convert all of your images to WebP. If you leave it active, it will also convert any new images to WebP too – without you having to do anything! 

If you’re not on WordPress, there are alternative web tools out there that will do the job for you. Those of you with access to Photoshop will be able to work with, and export, images as WebP natively. 

Almost all the sites we look at could make huge performance improvements if only the images were WebP. 

*The standard version, which contains the features you’ll need to convert image formats automatically, is free.

You can read the full article on LLE Photography’s website here.

Claire was also featured on our blog recently too. Claire shares the top 5 reasons photographs are important for websites. You can find this fantastic article here.