Looking for image optimization best practices? You’re in the right spot.

Images play a crucial role in enhancing the user experience of your website.

However, if not optimized correctly, images can significantly slow down your page load speed, negatively impacting both user experience and search engine rankings.

This blog post will walk you through the best practices for image optimization, ensuring that your images not only look great but also help your site perform at its best.

Why is Image Optimization Important?

Optimizing your images is essential for several reasons. First, it improves page load speed, which is a critical factor for user experience and SEO. Faster-loading pages lead to better user experience, higher engagement rates, and improved search engine rankings. Additionally, optimized images contribute to better content delivery by balancing quality and file size, ensuring your visuals are clear without being overly large.

1. Choose the Right File Type

Selecting the appropriate file type for your images is the first step in image optimization. Different file types serve different purposes. Here is a quick breakdown:

TypeUse CaseFile Size
PNGText-heavy images, transparent backgrounds, detailed graphicsLarge
JPGBlog posts, photographs, images without transparencyMedium to Large
SVGLogos, decorative icons, scalable graphicsTiny
WEBPWeb images, combining the best of PNG and JPG for web useSmall to Medium
GIFSimple animations, low-color imagesSmall to Medium
PDFDocuments, infographics, printable materialsVariable

When in doubt, go with WebP; it’s a relatively newer format, and it’s amazing for site speed.

2. Upload Images at the Right Width/Dimension

Ensure that the width of your images matches the content width on your web page. Avoid uploading excessively large images, like a 2000×2000 pixel image for a blog post, as it unnecessarily increases file size and load time. Resize images to the exact dimensions needed for optimal performance.

This is a little hard to explain in words, so check out this quick video.

3. Compress the File Size of Your Images

Compressing images reduces their file size without sacrificing quality, making your website faster. Here are my favorite image compression tools:

  1. Squoosh – A free tool that allows you to compress and convert images to WebP in one go.
  2. Canva – For blog posts, export as JPEG and reduce the size to 75. This tip from Honeywave Creative is a game-changer.
  3. EWWW Image Optimizer – A WordPress plugin that compresses images upon upload. I actually don’t use this anymore because I prefer to optimize my images before even uploading them to my website, but this is a great option.
  4. Siteground Optimizer – Available for sites hosted on Siteground, this tool also compresses images upon upload. LOVE LOVE LOVE this tool. Within your image library in WordPress, you can individually set the compression level for each photo.

4. Use Descriptive File Names

Avoid generic file names like “image-1.jpg.” Instead, use relevant keywords that describe the image content, such as:

  1. chicken-fajita-wrap-ingredients.jpg
  2. samantha-digital-primary-logo.svg
  3. social-media-marketing-manager.png

5. Add Alt Text for Every Image

Alt text is essential for accessibility and SEO. It should describe the image for those who cannot see it. For example:

  • Ingredients to make chicken fajita wraps presented on a table
  • Blue Samantha Digital primary logo mark
  • Social media marketing manager working from her laptop

Avoid keyword stuffing like this:

  • Chicken fajita wraps, crispy chicken fajita wraps, chicken fajitas
  • Samantha Digital, web design, SEO, websites, search engine optimization
  • Social media marketing, social media, marketing, marketing strategist

Conclusion

Proper image optimization is crucial for maintaining a fast, user-friendly website that ranks well in search engines. By following these best practices—choosing the right file types, compressing images, using descriptive file names, and adding appropriate alt text—you can ensure that your images enhance rather than hinder your site’s performance.

Questions about image optimization best practices? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll get back to you ASAP!