When it comes to engaging your readers, adding images to your website is a tried and tested trick of the trade, especially when you consider that 90% of all information we take in and process is visual. But images don’t just act as aesthetic frosting – they serve some pretty specific purposes and bring some great advantages.
But you’ll only reap the true benefits if your images are fully optimized.
Optimizing your images might sound intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. Not only is it easier than it seems, but it brings some serious benefits. Take a look at the three main reasons you should consider reviewing your image optimization strategy:
It Will Improve Site Speed
Images are heavy, making up nearly 75% of a page’s weight, so they’ll have a lot of influence over how your page performs. Compressing them is the process of reducing the file size, without lessening the image quality, boosting your website’s responsiveness.
Did you know that 39% of website visitors will stop engaging with content if they’re met with a wall of half-loaded, pixelated images? You’ve got about 50 milliseconds to make a good impression or risk losing precious traffic, so having images that load as quickly as possible is key.
Compressed images render much faster than their heavier counterparts, so the time it takes for them to be processed through a browser and displayed on the screen is much less. Not only will this make visitors more likely to stay on your page, but it improves their overall experience of your brand too.
Reducing the size of your files is easy, and there are plenty of tools you can access to get the job done. For example, ImageResizer is a free site that allows you to upload your images in bulk before tweaking their width and height. You’ll have a stack of website-friendly visuals at your fingertips before you know it.
However, even in their compressed format, images are still heavier than the majority of other website components. When looking at boosting your site speed, it’s worth taking a step back and considering whether those you’ve included serve any purpose other than splitting up the text on your page. If you include relevant images, your content could get up to 94% more views than those pages that use graphics as unrelated filler.
Lots of digital marketers and small business owners are beginning to realize this. In fact, when we surveyed professionals in the space, 60% of them recommended image and video optimization as their number one strategy for improving site speed – more than other factor suggested.
It will Boost Your Conversion Rate
67% of online shoppers view high-quality images as central to their purchasing decisions, so if you’re running an ecommerce store, your pages need to be filled with first-rate images to secure that sale.
But what makes a first-rate image?
Well, to start with, they need to be detailed and thorough. 51% of online shoppers want at least three product photos, each showing different angles of a product before they buy. This is central to helping customers feel informed, which in turn will boost their buying confidence.
Your images also need to be authentic to your brand and business. Stock images might have been all the rage in the nineties and early noughties, but today, they can really affect how a user connects with your brand and whether they decide to commit to a purchase with you.
Lots of these photos weren’t taken with your business in mind, so the chance that they’ll match your website perfectly, with no need for adjustments, is pretty slim. If almost 93% of consumers say that visual input plays a large role in their decision to buy, investing in relevant and personalized images is a must.
It Will Enhance Your SEO Efforts
In a world where ‘Google’ has become a verb, it’s essential to understand how to optimize onsite images for search engines.
Search engines are unlikely to rank poor-quality websites near the top of their results, and they take a number of factors into account when deciding which pages fall into this category. Load speed is a big part of this as it actively affects a website’s bounce rate.
But that’s not all. Search engines crawl web pages, using various signals to ‘read’ them so they can return only the most relevant sites in response to a user’s query. Because of this, image optimization for SEO isn’t just about making the files smaller, but also making them easier for search engines to understand.
Optimizing your image file names and titles, as well as making sure they’re mobile responsive and accompanied by alt text will lead to a better user experience. We’ve all tried to access a site on our mobiles only to find that everything is zoomed in and out of proportion. Taking steps to reduce these instances is something search engines look kindly on.
Image Optimization: Key Statistics
When it comes down to it, optimizing your website’s images only brings advantages. Reducing your file sizes, tweaking your image naming conventions and device responsiveness, as well as ensuring all of your visuals are high quality are all key strategies for keeping your customers and prominent search engines happy. Put simply, image optimization drives a better user experience, so if you haven’t started optimizing yet, what are you waiting for?
About the Author: Jordan Glover writes for Website Builder Expert, a leading resource for getting people online. Her articles aim to arm readers with all the knowledge and best practices they’ll need to make their online ventures a success, no matter where they are in their journey.