Website Development and Marketing
Image Compression and Load Time

By image size i mean the file size not the visual dimension of the image, height and width that sort of thing. I am referring to the amount of memory the image uses in bytes that has to be transmitted to the end user. Though dimension does play a part in file size in so much as the larger the images dimensions the larger its file size. File size can be decreased without drastically change dimention.

Why You Should Reduce File Size

Why you would want to reduce file size, i'm glad you ask, the single most important reason is load time. One of the main problems with web sites is load time. Load time is the amount of time it takes for a website to fully load or more importantly for something to appear on the page. This problems is primarily caused by the size of the images on the page. Why is load time so important... good question. Load time is the number one reason a web site fails to turn a profit. People as a general rule are impatient and that is an extreme understatement. There are endless other sites that offer similar products, services and information as yours site and if you make visitors wait they often leave. Another reason is that if a page takes too long to load especial the home page visitors may assume the page is broke or not working and hit the back button. This is very common of visitors clicking threw from a search engine. The most important reason in my mind is search engine like fast web sites. They load quickly and it makes there results look good so fast site do well in search engines.

When to use GIF and When to use JPG

The two most common file formats for images are GIF and jpg. GIF will Produce a crisper smaller file size for images that have very few colors in them commonly referred to as "color pallet", cartoons, logos, text and other images with a small color pallet do well in GIF Format. JPG images are best for images with a large color pallet and lots of gradation of color such as photographs.

Compressing Images

jpg is easier than GIF to compress though there are ways to do compress GIF's the easiest way is just to reduce the images dimensions. Many image editor will give you the option to choose the number of colors in the color pallet the fewer the colors the lower the file size. jpgs are the simplest images to compress. Any good image editor will ask you what quality you wish to save a JPG image as. If it still looks good at low quality it will have a much smaller file size, the lower the quality the smaller the file size the faster the image will load.

Here are two great tools for image compresion:
Dynamicdrive.com online image optimizer makes it easy to optimize images.
Pixlr.com online image editor for those of you who can't afford expensive commercial software this is about the best product available.

One of my favorite things to tell new customers is "the only one who really cares what a site looks like is the site owner". No one wants to hear it but it's true. As long as your web site looks professional and is fast thats all that matters. Your profits will go up as your load time goes down.