5 Ways to Optimize Image File Sizes for Web Use

To maximize visitor engagement and conversions, your page needs to load in less than 2-3 seconds. And since so much visitor traffic now originates from cell phones, often on lower bandwidth 3G connections, it’s important to optimize your images.

In 2018, the median website page size was approximately 2.1 Mb. And the average page size was much higher.

Here are 5 ways to reduce image file sizes to reduce your page size and improve your page load speed:

  1. TinyPNG
    TinyPNG is a web-based tool that uses lossy compression techniques to reduce the file size of your PNG files. By selectively decreasing the number of colors in the image, fewer bytes are required to store the data. The effect is nearly invisible but it makes a very large difference in file size, with size reductions up to 70% or more.
    Remember: PNG file formats are best used for logos, line art, and icons with transparency; photographs should generally be saved as compressed JPGs.
  2. Adobe Photoshop, Elements
    Graphics editing software allows you to custom crop and/or scale images to their actual visible dimensions. Plus, these tools provide a ‘Save For Web’ or Export option that allows you to reduce file sizes for web use thru compression. A compression (‘quality’) setting of 50%-60% of the original image is often sufficient to reduce file size and retain image quality. An advantage of using these tools is that you can also perform color and lighting corrections.
    If your organization cannot afford Photoshop, Elements provides most basic image editing tools; GIMP is a cross-platform open source alternative available for free.
  3. File Explorer (Windows)
    This is a quick method that allows you to send images at smaller dimensions. Right click any image and select “Send To: Mail recipient.” A window should be generated giving you the ability to send the image(s) from Smaller sizes (640 x 480 pixels) up to Large size (up to 1280 x 1024). With the exception of full width or super wide panorama header images, most images on your website should not need to be wider than 1,280 pixels.
  4. Cell phone
    If the images are accessible on your cell phone, both iPhones and Android give you options to ‘Reduce image size’ when forwarding images.
  5. WordPress
    When you upload an image to your Media Library, by default, WordPress creates 3 physically different, proportional versions of your image: thumbnail, medium, and large sizes. (These default image dimensions need to be adjusted to coordinate with your theme layout) Be careful inserting full-size images into your website.
    You can further reduce image sizes with WordPress Plugins – such as EWWW Image Optimizer, Smush, TinyPNG. My favorite web host, SiteGround, even includes an image optimization option with its SG Optimizer performance Plugin.
    And, if your WordPress Theme supports it, WordPress 4.4 added native responsive image support by including srcset and sizes attributes to the image markup it generates. Browsers can now choose to download the most appropriate size and ignore the others — potentially saving bandwidth and speeding up page load times in the process.
    UPDATE: WordPress 5.3 introduced a native feature that limits the maximum dimension of uploads to 2,560 pixels.

5 Hallmarks of a Good Backup System

I believe that there are two types of people in this world. Those who have lost data and those who will lose data. Consequently, it’s imperative to backup all of your data files on your computer if you run a business from your computer.

A backup system is analogous to an insurance policy. We hope we never need to rely on it, but we’re very glad that we have it, if it is needed. And just as different insurance policies provide different amounts of coverage, not all backup systems provide the same level of protection. Here is a list of the 5 essential characteristics of a good backup system.

  1. All files on your computer are backed up
    Your backup system should backup all files on your computer. This includes the operating system, all applications and all of your data, such as your word processing files, PDFs, spreadsheets, photos, music, etc.
  2. Backups occur frequently and automatically
    Your backup system should run automatically every day, or even more frequently. Many cloud-based backup systems check every 15 minutes for recently edited or created files and back them up
  3. Multiple backup copies are created
    A rule of thumb is that if it’s important enough to backup once then it’s important enough to backup twice. Your backup system should produce multiple backup copies of your files. The multiple copies should be kept on multiple disks which are securely stored in both on-site and off-site locations.
  4. The backup system is monitored
    You need to monitor your backup system to know that it is running. The status of backup systems can be monitored by clicking one icon on your Mac or PC to see the date and time of the most recent backup. Some backup systems can email a daily report indicating success or failure. These reports might list the number of files or the amount of data backed up.
  5. The backup system is tested periodically
    You need to test your backup system a few times each year to ensure that it’s working properly. Through testing you’ll learn how to recover files from your backup system. Testing will build comfort and confidence. Then, when a true emergency arises, it’ll be easier to remain calm and restore the needed files.

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Top 5 Screen Resolutions in the U.S. in 2018

According to to StatCounter, which tracks statistics on over 2 million websites globally, the most popular desktop screen resolutions in the U.S. in 2018 were as follows.

Desktop Screen ResolutionPercentage Market Share
1920×108019.45%
1366×76816.51%
1440×9008.83%
1536×8646.13%
1600×9005.14%

Now, you’ll notice the shares above do not equal 100%. Well that’s because mobile phone use continues to increase…

Desktop Vs Mobile Vs TabletPercentage Market Share
Desktop52.27%
Mobile39.86%
Tablet7.87%

Of course, all of these numbers vary widely by demographic. For example, a retail restaurant will typically serve more mobile visitors than a heavy e-commerce site. Last year, I conducted a Site Audit for a data-driven website for scientists where 98% of visitors used desktop computers to access the information. Obviously, their Return On Investment for a mobile-responsive site upgrade would be minimal.