Here’s what you need to know about image optimization.

The ‘need for speed’ is an essential thing in each and every website these days because enhanced speed is directly responsible for converting traffic into paying clients. Here, images are needed to ensure that the website content is more accessible, attractive, and engaging to users.  Therefore, image optimization is an important part of building a successful ecommerce website.

Image optimization is the process of creating and delivering high-quality images in the ideal format, size, and resolution to increase user engagement. Improved user experience and interactions with your site have a positive impact on search engine rankings, which further improves customer engagement, conversions, and customer retention.

Have you ever had these questions in your mind when designing and adding images to a website.

  1. Why is it that when I do a Google image search, my product photos never show up?
  2. Do I need to add alt attributes to my images?
  3. What’s the difference between JPEG, GIF and PNG? When should I use one over another?

The answer to the above questions can learn if we follow some modern tips. This helps image optimization process to accelerate for better efficiency.

1) Use unique images that are page-relevant

Most of the time, users are will react to an image before they begin reading your post.

It’s human nature to focus our attention on images. If the image connects with your topic in a novel way, it can inspire users to share your content, and will certainly leave an impression.This is especially true if your subject matter talks about a service or product that you offer. Therefore, take the time to snap a photo yourself, that is specific to your company, and use that instead of using royal free images in your website.

2) The right format matters

There are multiple file types for visual content, each serving for a different purpose. If you choose the right file, it will turn out to be a huge improvement. For web, you can choose:

  1. JPEG: Best for still images, real-world images, and complex coloring
  2. PNG: Best for web images like logos and flat images
  3. GIF: Best for low-resolution images, animated graphics, small icons, and simple images.
  4. TIFF: Best for high-quality and large-size print graphics
  5. WebP: A modern image format that offers superior compression while maintaining great quality.

Ilya Grigorik, Web performance engineer at Google, explains how you can choose the best file format for your picture through the next representation in Web Fundamentals on Google Developer website.

3) Do image compression whenever needed

It is important to reduce the images’ size through a compression method. There are two methods of compressing images:

  1. Lossless compression: Here, all the unnecessary metadata linked with the images is removed without degrading the quality.
  2. Lossy compression: Here, the quality of the image is slightly reduced to accomplish a smaller size. The file size obtained in lossy conversion is lower than lossless compression.

4) Do not skip the CDN

Website images not only need to be optimized but have to be delivered fast and easily as well. An image CDN (Content Delivery Network) makes the rapid delivery of optimized images possible by reducing the distance between the online visitors and the servers. It saves many costs by eliminating the need to invest in separate server providers in different parts of the world.

5) Set up browser caching

Browser caching instructs the visitor’s browser to save some specific files on the visitor’s local system instead of downloading them repeatedly. Browser caching can be used for images and many other types of files like statistical resources and object data.

There are many ways to leverage browser caching. Simply adding some lines of code to the .htaccess file is the most effective way. The .htaccess file can be found with the help of an FTP program for connecting to the root directory of the website’s server. Browser caching stores the images for a decided interval of time for easy and quick accessibility.

6) Optimize your flaky connections

If the visitor doesn’t have a reliable internet connection, the webpage with a lot of content and images cannot be loaded. Sometimes this will leads to the loss of a business opportunity as well. Therefore, it is recommended to optimize image content for spotty connections.

One way to optimize the images for slow connections is compressing the images appropriately in real-time. Here, ImageEngine simplifies the whole compression process. It fetches and optimizes the images in the right format, dimension, and quality directly from the URL and then delivers the images on the website’s front-end via global image CDN.

7) Remove Any Irrelevant or Unneeded Metadata

Metadata is the information stored in the image file and it is generated automatically by the device that captured the image.

Additional metadata, such as EXIF data (a record of all the camera settings) can be added manually using dedicated software or directly on digital cameras.  All sorts of information such as exposure time, aperture settings, camera type, date taken, author, and other information can be embedded into an image. These data might be irrelevant and can be removed.

Sanitizing your image can be extremely beneficial for improving a website’s loading speed time. Therefore, make sure to keep the data that is important for you and delete the unnecessary image data. Then, you can optimize your images and make it easier for search engines to understand your visual content better.

8) Reduce the File Size Using Plugins

If you’re a WordPress user, you can find out that there are automatic ways to compress your images, by using plugins. Plugins can work very well as a second step for image compression. You need to select the plugins that suit you the best and get to work.

For each plugin the steps are easy:

Sign in your WordPress » Plugins » Add New » Search for the plugin » Install now and wait for a few seconds » Activate. Then, if you like you can go to the specific Plugin and look through Settings to make sure everything is according to your needs.

9) Use vector graphics where appropriate

Here’s what Google says about vector graphics:

Vector graphics use lines, points, and polygons to represent an image. [They are] ideally suited for images that consist of simple geometric shapes (for example, logos, text, icons, and so on), and deliver sharp results at every resolution and zoom setting, which makes them an ideal format for high-resolution screens and assets that need to be displayed at varying sizes.

Many sites use vector graphics for their logos and other simple on-site elements. SVGs (Scalable Vector Graphics) are the most popular vector format on the web. No matter what browser, device, or screen resolution you have, SVGs will look crystal clear because they don’t pixelate.

10) Use image sitemaps

If you want Google to discover all of the images on your site and have these perform in Google Image Search, you have to create a sitemap that includes the URLs of all images.

Creating an image sitemap increases the chance of your images showing up in search results. There is one key difference when creating an image sitemap than creating one that includes your web pages. As Google says, “Image sitemaps can contain URLs from other domains, unlike regular sitemaps, which enforce cross-domain restrictions. This allows you to use CDNs (content delivery networks) to host images.” And this leads to understanding why you should host images on a CDN.

11) Use of Responsive Images

To deliver the right optimal image for every screen size, images should be responsive. It enhances the user experience and reduces load time. According to the browser or device in which images are viewed, images of different sizes are displayed. To create a responsive image, you need to have different versions of the image.

Improve the page loading speed, increase conversion and sales rate with consistent user experience, reduce load over the server and server memory and boost conversations are some advantages of responsive images.


Saving an image for the web, using image optimization tools, removing irrelevant metadata, resizing images to scale are just some examples of how you can optimize your images. There are many tips and tricks to optimize images, but of all these tips, using a CDN has proven to be the most effective and long-term solution for many businesses all across the globe. In the end, make sure you test your visual content using plugins, tools, and software to ease up the process.

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