Even though more and more Internet users switch to super fast broadband every year, a large portion of the web’s population is still running on slower connections. It is therefore unwise to count them out of the equation when you’re designing your website, and a very major consideration we have to make for dialup users is the loading time of your website.
Generally, all the text on your website will be loaded in a very short time even on a slower connection. The culprit of slow-loading sites is mainly large images on your website, and it is very important to strike a delicate balance between using just enough images to attract your users and not to bog down the overall loading time of your site.
- Most consumers wait about 3 seconds for a website to load on a desktop or laptop.
- …and about 5 seconds on their mobile device.
- Amazon found that if their pages slow down by 1 second, they lose $1.6 billion a year.
- Google uses page load time as a factor in their ranking algorithm.
With this in mind you should also go to great lengths to optimize every image on your site to make sure it loads in the least time possible. What I really mean is to use image editing software or an online tool to remove unnecessary information on your images, and thereby effectively reducing the file size of your image without affecting its appearance.
So what tools can I use to reduce the size of my images?
One way you can reduce image file size is by using the “Save for Web” command in Adobe Photoshop. When using this command, you want to adjust the image to the lowest file size acceptable while keeping an eye out for image quality.
Other impressive online image editing tools are:
- PicMonkey – has been described by experts as a “staggeringly great photo editing tool”.
- Pixlr – is super user-friendly, and also comes with a 100% free app for your smartphone, so you can edit on the go.
- FotoFlexer– is another fairly advance online image editor. FotoFlexer even allows you to work with layers!
Finally, there is always GIMP. GIMP is an open-source, free image editing software application that can be run on Windows, Mac or Linux. It can do everything Photoshop can do, but tends to be a bit clunkier. But for a free image editing application – you can’t beat it.
Which filetype do I save as?
Generally most images should be saved as jpgs at the ‘high’ setting in Photoshop (this equates to around 60% quality). The only exclusions to this are for any image with a transparent background and line drawings or logos. For transparent backgrounds I use PNG and for logos I use GIF.