Images are a critical part of human communication. With just one picture, you can convey thoughts and information quickly, easily, and beautifully.
However, images come with a price: They are bandwidth-heavy, which impacts the user experience as images take a longer time to load. Plus, bandwidth costs money: The more you use, the more it will impact your bottom line.
Fortunately, there are ways you can use images while still saving the time and monetary costs of bandwidth. Here are some tips on how:
Choose the Right File Type
PNG is commonly used for photographs, but using a high-quality JPEG will often produce an adequate quality image at a fraction of the file size. Essentially, if you have an image you have generated, such as a chart or a logo, use PNG. If you have a photograph, use JPEG. If you are using an animated image, choose GIF.
Experiment with Quality
When it comes to using JPEG, in most cases, you can use an image quality of 80% or lower and not affect the user experience. Lowering JPEG quality cuts the file size down considerably, which benefits your bandwidth usage.
Meet the Requirements
Ensure the web dimensions of your image exactly match the requirements of where you are posting them. If you do not, the images will be re-sized on the browser and use up a tremendous amount of bandwidth.
Ensure the Image Size Fits the Device
If you are mobile as well as web-based, ensure you have images and thumbnails at different resolutions for different devices. If you offer the same images across all devices, mobile users will suffer in terms of loading time, and you will use excessive bandwidth.
Get the Cache Settings Right
If your image will stay the same for a long period of time, then it is important to use aggressive caching for your website. This will ensure that any images that remain the same will be retrieved from the cached copy, rather than being downloaded from the server each time the website is loaded.
Use CSS Sprite
CSS Sprite can be used to take all your small images and icons in one single image that can be downloaded by your website. This saves you having to download many individual images, which can take up time and bandwidth.
Don’t Use Your Own Server
Host your images on a Content Delivery Network, which delivers images much more quickly than your host server. This will ensure a faster load and reduced latency.
Following these best practices will help ensure your images load quickly while using less bandwidth. Think of it as a win-win for you and your website visitors!