Can we talk about images?

As I’m working through my website programme, teaching people how to build a lovely website of their own, one of the questions I get asked A LOT is what size images should be. The answer I tend to give is as small as possible but no smaller. Don’t compromise on the quality of how something looks but don’t make people load massive images unnecessarily.

There are 3 reasons for this

  1. Google does not like big images on websites
  2. Spam filters do not like big images in emails
  3. Users do not like big images because they load slowly and use up all their data.

So how do we make images the right size?

I’ve got 2 quick and simple suggestions for you compete with videos.

1. Resize

If you take a photo on your phone using the default settings it will probably be at least 3MB. Huge. Great for printing out as a canvas on your living room wall. But for use in an email or on a website we really want it to be under 100kb (1000kb = 1MB so less than a tenth of the original size).

As well as being higher resolution than we need a photo from your phone will be bigger in dimensions than we need. Your average phone screen is about 500 pixels wide, a generous computer monitor might be 2000 pixels with most under 1500px so a photo that is 4000px wide the average for photos from my phone) is at least 2x bigger than it would ever need to be even if it was going to be a full width image on a big desktop.

So step one is to make it physically smaller using a resize option. On PC you can just double click the image to open it then right and resize. On Mac you open the image then go to file > resize. Etc. I’ve made a couple of quick videos to show you here

How big should I make it?

This really depends on where it is going. For an image in an email then 500px wide is usually plenty

For a website think about where the image is going. If it takes up half a page and we know a full page can me 1800px then we might make it 900px. If it’s just small image for a blog then 300px might be enough. You have to use your judgement.

2. Squish it! (Compress)

There are lots of tools available to compress images. If you are on WordPress you can get plug-ins that compress images as you upload them. I could write a whole article on that alone, indeed one day I might!

But as not everyone is on WordPress and I personally prefer to upload my images already squished I want to share a great tool to do that. It’s called batch compress. It’s so simple and fast to use that I am pretty sure there is real magic involved.

The creators claim this magic is because the image is actually compressed on your computer rather than being uploaded and then compressed which also means that if you have a slow internet connection it will still work for you quite fast.

It’s sooo easy to use that I nearly didn’t make a video but I know sometimes it’s helpful so you can see one here.

Helpful? I really hope so!