Your online presence is everything – whether you’re blogging, have an online store, or simply just want your website to look amazing – and its important to pay attention to the images you upload.
Images are important for several reasons, but the most significant include boosting search engine optimization (SEO) and download speed.
Here’s why you need to consider the perfect website images:
Image File Size
The image file size is how much space an image takes up on a hard drive. Smaller image file sizes are better for websites, allowing the page to load quicker. This is important because people access the internet on their phone, an old computer, or a slow internet connection. “Using the wrong image file size hurts your business from a web perspective, but also the viewer’s perspective,” said Thomas Graham, owner of Frames & Pixels. “Downloading a large image file on a cell phone uses cellular data, which might make them leave if they’re cautious of data usage.”
“It also causes your website to lag,” Graham added. “Most website hosts offer a limited amount of bandwidth – bandwidth is like digital storage space. Large images will use more bandwidth. If you use all your bandwidth too quickly, your website could crash.”
Instead, you must resize images to the appropriate size for your needs. “Large images uploaded to a website aren’t resized, but instead compressed within that platform’s guidelines,” said Graham. “It’s like cramming a five-pound bag of sugar into a two-pound bag.”
Some platforms, like Wordpress have plugins to help. “There are Wordpress plugins you can download that will decrease the image size once uploaded,” Graham said. “Most people don’t realize its necessary until it’s a problem.”
SEO is Important
SEO is the art and science of driving traffic to your website. If SEO is effective, Google (and other search engines) categorize you accordingly; boosting you to the top of search results. Images, if used properly increase your user traffic and chances of being seen. “SEO relevancy is huge now,” said Graham.
Here are 6 tips to make your images the most SEO friendly they can be:
Name your image with your business name and keyword you’re trying to rank for, i.e. Heather Cherry Consulting (business name) Social Media Marketing (keyword)
Include a description and caption. Try to use your business name when relevant.
Embed your image in your blog post and/or website. This allows your image to be associated with your text.
Use high-quality images like stock photography. Stock photos are great. Be mindful though if you’re trying to promote a unique brand… Everyone has access to stock photos! Favorite free stock photo websites: Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, Barn Images, PicJumbo, SplitShire, Little Visuals
Be sure to download the large version and resize later.
Use the right file type, PNG vs JPG
Videos, much like images are another cause for concern. “A lot of people self-host now and are embedding videos directly on their website,” said Graham. “This counts toward your data and slows your website significantly.”
Instead, Graham recommends publishing videos to third party hosts, like YouTube, and embed the link on the website. “This way you are using YouTube’s bandwidth versus your own,” Graham said. “Plus, YouTube is a search engine itself; another way for you to be found.”
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