When I first became a web developer, I pictured spending hours coding and solving complex problems (I was dressed in black, my hair was ON POINT, and there was really cool, suspenseful music in the imaginary background).
The reality is a little less glamorous. I spend a LOT of time optimizing website images: finding, editing, adding overlays and gradients, compressing, tagging, and on and on.
It’s crucial to get website images RIGHT because the two most important aspects of a well-designed website are:
- Really great images
- Compelling website copy
Today, kids, we’re talking about website images. Why? Because no matter how well designed, coded, or developed, bad images will make a pro website look amateur.
Here’s how I suggest you make it rain with perfectly optimized website images:
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STEP 1: Start by evaluating to make sure every image you add to your website has a purpose.
- Is the image quality good enough? Can you use a cell phone image? Sure- for a thumbnail. Hard rule. Professional images aren’t as expensive as you think they are and can be used repeatedly (from social media to print).
- Is it relevant? Your images should lend to your story by providing information and context. If you’re just placing an image as a filler, consider how to use the space better.
- Does it lend to the user experience? There is so much to this, but here’s a pro tip for using images of people:
- If you want to establish trust- look directly in the camera (like, not creepy, though)
- If you want to encourage an action, look in the direction to draw the eye there
STEP 2: Put your website images on a diet, because when it comes to website images, it’s bikini season all year long.
Large images slow down your web pages, and given that you only have a few seconds to wow your customer, slow-loading images are the slow walkers of the internet world.
Optimizing images is finding the balance between the smallest file size and acceptable quality. Sounds complicated, right?
Not if you use the nifty little trick I’m going to share with you now; I use JPEG IO to upload images for squishing to the perfect amount of pixels, then re-download them ready to use. It’s like Spanx for your website.
STEP 3: Now give those website images a pretty name.
This is the final step in creating optimized images. Image SEO sounds complicated, but today I’m going to show you how easy it is.
“Images as just another way to drive traffic to your website.”Corey, WanderWeb lady
Google Image Search is a commonly used tool nowadays. Your goal is to name your images what one would search for, and then cross your fingers they will click your image and therefore increase your website traffic.
So name your images (and duplicate the name on the ALT tag) using this logic, and you’ve got a solid start.
And that, friend, is the basics of optimizing website images in three steps.
Questions? We’re always here for you.
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