Put simply, optimizing your website’s images is one of the easiest ways to make a dramatic positive impact on your website’s speed, performance, and accessibility. Consider this real-world example: I was recently working on some new functionality for a client’s site when I noticed that their image upload directories contained a lot of really big images. And by “really big,” I mean over 5,000 pixels in size with file sizes as much as 10 MB.
After discussing the matter with the client, I spent some time auditing and updating their images. This included:
- Resizing really large images down to a smaller, more manageable size
- Converting images to the proper format (i.e., PNGs to JPGs)
- Compressing all images with ImageOptim
- Deleting unused duplicates
Before I started, the client’s image upload directories contained about a gigabyte’s worth of images. After my audit, those same directories totaled less than 300 MB. I was able to reduce their image footprint by more than 70%, simply by taking some very simple steps. And all with little to no loss in their images’ quality. I also provided the client with a series of recommendations for future images, including preferred dimensions and helpful tools for adjusting and compressing their images.
The median page weight of webpages continues to increase every year, to nearly 2.3 MB in 2022, with images accounting for nearly a megabyte of that (~43% of the total weight). It seems reasonable to assume that if website owners spent even a modicum of time and resources on optimizing their website images, they could dramatically reduce that number, thus making their websites faster and more efficient while improving their users’ experience.