With blogs, entertainment websites, informational or private organization websites, and so on, one of the most important aspects is the load time that greets the user once they enter the URL. The load time is the amount of time the site is presented to the user, fully functional with images, text, video and so on easily visible and ready to be browsed. If the load time of a website is taking too long, users usually take it to mean that their internet connection is being slow on the uptake. Some users may just give up on browsing the website and move on, a prospect that may be very harrowing to many organizations. Speed is one of the most important objectives in the development and uploading of a website, thus it is easy to understand why private organizations want to ensure their website is quick to load, and that the user spends at least a portion of their time on it. There are several aspects to load time as well, for example, if the load time is slow some users take it to mean that the security on the website is low, and thus shut it off and move along to another. There are many ways to ensure the security of a website is not sacrificed with a smart load time though, one of which is ensuring that the website is regularly updated with the latest security measures. This not only does wonders to enhance the load time but ensures there is no loss of data or any threats to the information being gathered by the website. The speed and security remain intact, and the customer's experience is thus only enhanced so that they visit the site over and over again. The visitors and the numbers in which they come to the site are highly detrimental to the success of an organization and its website so it is easy to understand why the load time is an important issue.
One of the issues that might turn up due to a shortage of security and irregular updates on a website is that there could be several hacker entry points rising on the site. Because of low security, hackers could very easily tune into the personal details of customers that visit the site, as well as steal vital information about the organization itself. One of the most concerning points about this is that, unless the user is continually, or at least with moderate regularity, checking their website and scanning it for hacker entry points, they may never become aware of them until it is too late. This, as can be imagined, is a horrible concept to behold. It is thus highly recommended to regularly scan the website and to keep updated on the new security measures being introduced.
Another fairly common aspect that leads to a slow load time is the number of plugins installed on one website. Some users like to ensure their website stands out in the flashiest way possible, thus tacking on as many plugins as they can to ensure customer retention. While it may work in many cases, with the customers returning to the website at a faster rate, it could also translate into a very slow load time which could kill the entire experience for said customers. Not only this, it might put a lot of load on their own internet connections, for the fear of which they may not return. One of the biggest culprits, however, in ensuring a slow website load time is that images used on it may not be optimized for website viewing. This is one of the commonest problems found on websites where the load time is slow, but also remains a problem many people ignore.
When Should You Used Web-Optimized Images?
It is important to remember the fact that there is no wrong time to use optimized images. A website is, no doubt, a visual tool that sometimes only works because of the images that the user has utilized to make their website pretty, but more often than not these images are not suitable for viewing on a website and kill the load time. While there are certain exceptions to this rule, it might well do the user better than harm to use low-res images.
It is true that a user who wants to run a photography website would never want to go for low res images, or even a stock photo website would ensure they are using images that show up clearly and are displayed big enough to sway a customers decision on whether to buy it or not. There are websites like NASA that offer huge images of the solar system, stars, and space, which are solely for the purpose of enjoyment, and are always extremely high quality and can be examined in minute details. Another case in which high res photos are acceptable is when websites offer 360-degree views of a room or the like.
However, just as easy as it is to examine pictures in high resolution, there is no reason why any of these exceptions would harm their business if they opted for low res as well. The biggest advantage to this would be a load time cut in half. Usually, on websites such as the ones listed above, it doesn’t matter how fast the user's internet connection is, the images will take their time in loading and be visible in their entirety. This could be a major drawback to the website as many people now just want a quick overview and don’t want to spend more than a few seconds looking at a certain image. While it is easy to understand why a photographer, who works hard to ensure their shot is perfect and immaculate, would want the audience to view their photograph in all its high-resolution glory, it is also important to keep a balance between what’s important, that is, customer retention. Keeping pictures less than 100kb mean not only do the pictures look great, but they load at an optimized time making for a great browsing experience for the user. A solution to wanting high res images on the site and also having a quick load time is easy to achieve as well. Website developers could simply ensure they offer the user a separate window to view the image in a higher resolution, with these images being hosted by a separate server. This could mean users get to browse the website on a good load time while still being able to enjoy the user’s photographs at leisure. Some users try to find a solution past this by inserting pictures more than 100kb into a display area that doesn’t offer more space. The result of this is shoddy visibility, which makes for a very unprofessional website and could cost the user more visitors than they could afford. User impatience is something that must be avoided at all costs.
Optimizing Images For The Web
The good news for new developers is, it is fairly easy to optimize images from the web, either they are for blogs, websites, posts, or pages relating to one's theme on a blog website. The procedure is quite simple, with the user only needing to set the default resolution at 72 dpi. This is the most optimized resolution and simply does not need to be higher according to the internet visibility standards of this day and age. Given that there are fixed lengths and pixel widths on a website, it is easy to conform to a standard that is working for the rest of the internet than trying to squeeze in an undoubtedly well-photographed image into a tiny space, lowering its visibility and increasing user impatience. Adobe Photoshop is the most obvious option to go with when optimizing images as it keeps its standard resolution at 72 dpi automatically. It also has the “Save for web" option which is very helpful for users who use the software solely for web designing.
Another useful option for users may be plugins like WP Smush.it. Specifically designed for the optimization of images straight from the web onto the web itself, plugins like these are highly recommended for people who do not have much experience with software like Photoshop. It offers easy-to-understand instructions as well as automatically generated length and width that set up an image exactly the size it needs to be. It can easily take care of the image optimization needed for new as well as existing images on a website. However, it is important to ensure that the plugins the user chooses are those that don’t affect the overall quality of an image. Some plugins add in a little signature of the developer or put a watermark across images that might then lead to lower quality in terms of visuals. It is better to ensure you are choosing the best plugin for your website, for which research beforehand is a must. Images often show as thumbnails on the front page or the inside pages as per the theme of the user, thus it is vital to understand their position on a page and the effect of the plugin on them before it automatically resizes them and ruins the aesthetic of a page. Most of all, it is important to keep checking that the website’s load time is optimal, and isn’t being affected by the changes in the size of the images.
Optimization of Theme Images
While we have already talked of the standard resolution of images on a website, another very important aspect is the background image. Many users tend to overlook the size and quality of the background images, relying on the fact that the front view of the page is more important. This could turn out to be a grave mistake as it is often the background images, the overlooked high res ones especially, that could be leading to a slow load time and killing the outlook of a website. If a background has to be used and it is smaller than what the website requires, then the solution is to use a pattern that is quicker to upload as well as playing a part in the quicker load time of a page.