Optimize Your Website Photos for Higher Conversion Rates

Tabitha Armstrong February 23, 2018

Your images may be causing you to lose leads

My 5 year old website loads slow, especially on mobile. Why is it doing that?
My first guess is your images. Most websites are image heavy and when a small business manages their site in house, file size tends to be an overlooked detail.website photo editing and compression
In out modern tech inclined world, people are not willing to wait for a page to load. The longer a page takes to load the higher the probability your leads will never see your headline – many will bounce before it loads. (You can test your website speed here.)
My guess is if you optimized your images you would see increased load speeds.
Optimize? Do you mean test different images to see which converts better?
No, in this case optimization means make them smaller and SEO friendly. But smaller doesn’t mean smaller visual space on your webpage. It means making the data smaller.

I’m confused.

Okay. Let me explain. When you take a photo with a digital camera, even with a modern cell phone, you get an image that is thousands of pixels tall and wide.
digital-photography-compressed-for-websites
Each pixel has data that needs to be received by your device in order to load. The more data, the longer the load time. If you took those raw images from your phone and used them on your site, at full size, you are talking about millions of pixels that need to be received and processed by a device… All of that data just for your photos. Add in ads, copy, moving elements on your site, and the type of internet connection you have… Now you have a site that doesn’t load for 10 seconds, or 30 seconds, or maybe almost a minute… This equals BOUNCED LEADS!
I don’t know anything about making image data smaller. I make my photos 8x10s in my photo editor. This way I can use them for other things.
If you are thinking in photo inches, you have to change your mindset! Think in data size. A standard Android phone takes images that are over 1 MB – that is huge. Other phones can take photos up to 20 MB in size. You want photos on your site that are under 100kb.editing-photos-for-websites
Not everyone knows what those numbers mean but it doesn’t matter! There is an easy way to compress your photos without that digital knowledge. You need 2 things. A photo editing program and an Internet Connection.

Whew – okay you had me worried. I have both of those things!

If your photo is full width like a banner image you need it to be at least 1920 pixels wide. Other images within your site can be 600 to 700 pixels in width. Or smaller if you’re using them as thumbnails or icons.
To do this open your image in your photo editor

  1. Use the crop tool to frame the best image
  2. Go to your resizing tool, and instead of using “inches” as the resizing metric find “pixels” (normally in a drop down menu). You should then be able to manually type in how many pixels wide your photo should be (1920 for full width, 600-700 for others)
  3. Save your photo – naming it using a keyword
  4. Use an Online image compressor. We usually use compressjpeg.com but there are others.
  5. Upload the photo
  6. The program will automatically compress the photo. You can further compress it using the slide bar beside the image preview. For page images, get it as much under 100kb as you can without distorting the quality of your image. For full width or banner images, get the size as close to 100kb as possible without distortion. Click the “Apply” button to save your manual changes
  7. Download the image to your computer. The new, compressed image has “min” in the title showing it has been minimized
  8. Upload the new image into your media manager on your website. Remember to add in your keyworded alt tag description.
  9. Replace the image on your webpage with your new, compressed image.
That sounds really easy.
It is. Time consuming – but easy.
So how do I know if my site images need to be replaced?
In your site’s back end media manager you should be able to go to each photo/image/graphic, click on it, and see how large the file size is.
So, is that all there is to image optimization?
Not quite. The other piece is SEO. See, your images are also looked at by search engine bots. While technology is progressing in image identification – search engines use the name and alt tags on your images to quickly decide what is on the page. Having a photo title named using a keyword, and having an alt description that tells the bots what is in the photo while also using a keyword, all lead to better ranking on a search engine.
Can you give me an example.
This image
planning for marketing
Was named “planning marketing success” before I uploaded it to my website media folder. The keyword is “marketing success”
My site automatically generated a url for that image that contained its name creating another keyword connected to the image.
I added the alt description “business-woman-holding-sign-goal-planning-and-marketing-success” telling search engines what is in the image and using a keyword.
Now when it is added to my page, search engines see the keywords attached to the image, and see it is being used on a page with similar keywords and context and so the search engine bots can make a reasonable assumption about the content of the page.
Make sense?
It does!
There is a lot to know about keyword research and how to go about using and not using your keywords. But if you are already using a keyword set, adding these phrases into your titles and descriptions is easy. Just make sure you use them in a natural way, like you would if you were speaking. It will save you trouble in the long run.
And if you are already re-uploading the images on your site, you might as well take the few extra seconds per image to make the search engines happy – and improve your SEO quality.
Because this process is so time consuming, many business owners opt to have a professional do it – paying by the hour or for the entire job. How much it will cost depends on the number of images on your site. But remember – the more images not optimized, the slower the site, the longer the load time, the more business you are losing!
I’m going to give it a try.
Here are a few more links to articles on image compression in case you need more help. Tips for Sizing Images; Photo Editing in Photoshop; Image Optimization