Images are important if you want people to engage with your website. Whether you have an ecommerce business and want to display products or provide services and want people to see your successful projects, using images is a good idea.
However, in order to optimize the effectiveness of images you need to make sure that you use them correctly. Whether you buy images, or use your own, here are some tips to help you make the best use of them.
Choose the right file type
One of the most important factors when it comes to using images online is to choose the right image file type. In order to do this you need to understand different file types and when you should use them.
JPEG or JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
JPEGs allow millions of different colors to be displayed due to the fact that they mix red, blue and green light. It’s also easy to adjust the size of a JPEG file. Although, when you do this you alter the quality of the image. The larger the size of the file the higher the quality of the image. The trick is to find the right balance between file size and image quality. Generally, you should use the JPEG file type for:
- Product images.
- Important photographic content.
- Images which contain many different colors.
GIF (Graphic Interchange Format)
Most people are familiar with GIFs as a way for people to express themselves online. However, they can also be used as images on a business website. When using GIFs, you should remember that they only allow 256 colors to be used. You can consider using GIFs for:
- Small thumbnail images.
- Images were few colors are used.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
PNG files are larger than JPEGs but they allow for higher quality. However, it’s not quite as simple as this. There are two different types of PNG file; PNG-8 files which allow for 256 colors and PNG-24 files which allow for images to use millions of colors. You should use the PNG file type when image quality is more important than file size.
Get the file size right
It’s easy to get confused between the terms “image size” and “file size”. The image size is the physical size of the image itself whereas the file size dictates the amount of storage space that the image takes up.
File size is important because large files take longer to load. This can have an adverse effect on the performance of your website. Generally, you should aim to have image files that are between 1 to 2 MB in size.
Name files in the right way
In order for your images to be optimized, you should name your image files effectively. It’s never a good idea to simply leave the numerical code that is already on the image. Think carefully about what the image represents and choose a name that represents this.
It’s important to take time to do this because it allows Google search bots to correctly identify the subject of an image.
Use alt tags effectively
You should always use alt tags for the images on your website. These tags provide a description of the subject of an image which is included in the code of your website. There are three reasons why alt tags are important.
- They tell people who use screen readers what the subject of an image is.
- They tell a web browser what should be present if an image does not load correctly.
- Search bots read them, thereby improving the SEO of your website.
Add image files to a site map
All of the images that you use on your website should be added to a site map. This is because doing so optimizes your images for Google’s algorithms. When adding your images to a sitemap you should include the title, description, caption and license.
Use thumbnails to optimize sales
Using thumbnail images on your website is an excellent way of upselling. You can include some thumbnails of other related products when a customer is buying something using your website. Doing this encourages people to buy more of your products.
Putting these five tips to use will help you to optimize the use of images in your website.