Here at 3webfeet we often field calls and emails from clients (and even friends) struggling to understand the language behind dealing with images for the web – let alone actually optimising them and using them on their sites.
The good news is, it’s not rocket science. And also, there are countless helpful article and posts all over the internet to prove that. We’ve found a great little bunch of tips for optimising images here at Web Marketing Today (these experts often have really useful articles on subjects like social media, web design and much more).
Drew Coffin from Web Marketing Today identifies the following tips that can help optimise your website imagery, by upping the SEO capability and by decreasing load times.
1. Image Descriptions
Make sure you’re using image descriptions when you upload images to the internet. There are three ways to describe an image inside of the HTML tag: a file name, an “alt” attribute, and a “title” attribute. A file name should be brief, but should describe what the image represents, as this is what search engines use to understand what the image depicts. Remember – words need to be separated with hyphens. An “alt” is very important to search engines – especially Google. This is the description we see when we mouse over an image. This description is also used by a screen reader, and comes up when for whatever reason, an image doesn’t load properly. The last description type is title attribute text, and while the search engines don’t use this in searching for images and content, it is useful for providing supplementary info to viewers, and thus should be slightly different to your “alt” description.
2. Use the Right Dimensions
Keeping image dimensions exact is usually the best way of doing things, rather than leaving them to be automatically re-sized by your content management system (CMS). If you need to re-size image and you don’t have the software, we recommend getting to know www.pixlr.com – it’s free and easy to use and you don’t need to download anything onto your own computer. Remember, smaller files take less time to load, so it is worth taking the time to decrease an image’s size before popping it on your website.
3. Use the Right File Type
Web Marketing Today lays this out simply: “There are many image file types, but the most common on the web are JPEG and PNG. Choosing the proper image type can reduce file size and increase clarity. Both of these offer optimization benefits depending on the size and subject matter of the image. Generally, use JPEGs for large, photographic images. Use PNGs for smaller images or images with minimal photographic elements or for images that include text. Use 8-bit PNGs for simple images with only a few colors. To really optimize your images, it is best to compare the same image saved as a PNG and JPEG for quality and image size.”
For more info on this topic, check out Drew Coffin’s post at Web Marketing Today. We find that the best way to learn your way around the image optimisation process is to practice – so have a go, try out pixlr.com and enjoy the results!
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