Google has made it clear that the web should be fast and, lets face it, how much slack do you cut a slow site? A page load time under 4 seconds is considered acceptable. Over
20 seconds is penalty territory. Google’s target is 2 seconds. There are loads of tools out there to analyse your site and they generate a list of recommendations for suggested fixes too. Understanding and implementing those recommendations isn’t always easy; especially when it comes to images. Here we’re looking at optimising images using the popular site analysis tool GtMetrix – we have no affiliation with them at all.
Masterly inactivity …
… or do I even need to do anything?
Run your site through the GtMetrix tool and look out for these recommendations:
- Specify image dimensions – if the dimensions are in your CSS you can safely ignore this
- Serve scaled images – if Gtmetrix complains images are being “resized in HTML or CSS” this may not be true. In our experience it can inaccurately interpret the size images are being served at. Double-check its right before you make any changes. Are the images on your site really being served at the size Gtmetrix claims?
Here we’re looking to “losslessly” reduce the filesize of an image, not reduce its width and/or height. The “losslessly” part means none of your visitors will be able to spot the optimisation when they see the image.
There are a bewildering number of tools out there to work on your images from Photoshop to Yahoo’s smush it. However, here’s a neat, time-saving tip: GtMetrix already produces an optimised version for you, just follow the “See optimised version” link and then use that to replace your unoptimised image.
How low do you go?
GtMetrix is going to give you chapter and verse on all images that need compressing, but in all likelihood you have a million and one other things to do. If your site is already graded “A” you’re already out of “quick wins” territory. Once the amount you can save drops below 10% per image its probably time to move on and look for other quick wins.
Lots of web professionals are going to have their tool of choice for this job, whether its the Gimp, ImageMagick, Gifsicle, tinyjpg.com or “the studio takes care of that”. If you’re a busy site-owner on a budget you can use this quick win to help improve your site speed. Image compression is just one of many issues that reports like these can highlight. Talk to your web development agency to get the best results. Alternatively send us your Gtmetrix report and we’ll give you a free 15 minute consultation on quick wins and best results.