Too many businesses neglect to make the user experience their focus when designing a website. As a result, they end up with a website that looks aesthetically-pleasing, but doesn't deliver results.
We've talked about human-centered website design and the importance of creating an intuitive website that is easy for the user to navigate through. Performance is a key aspect of a user-friendly website, and page loading speed is a factor that directly impacts performance.
How Load Speed Impacts Performance
Half of today's consumers expect a webpage to load within two seconds and will choose to abandon a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Research reveals that 79 percent of online shoppers will choose not to return to a website with performance issues. These statistics show that speed is a killer for your website and business if your pages are slow to load.
Factors that Negatively Impact Website Load Speed
There are a number of factors that have a negative impact on load speed, such as a third-party online ad network, poor choice of web host, or too many widgets and plugins. However, images are one factor in particular that have a tendency to slow down your website.
How to Optimize Your Images for Load Speed
An error that many businesses make is including images in a website design that are larger than necessary. As a rule of thumb, you want to keep your largest images around 2000 pixels to lower the file size but maintain image quality. Anything larger than this image size will negatively impact page loading time.
Also, be sure to take note if you're using JPEG, PNG, or GIF images. JPEG images are the smallest in size and are ideal for most of the images on your website. However, both PNG and GIF offer more transparency and quality, but should be used selectively to not impact load speed.
New Website Speed Test Image Analysis Tool
If you want to improve your website's performance, you need to ensure that you're using the optimal images on your website. Website Speed Test is a brand new website design tool that offers analytics to help you measure and diagnose how images are impacting the performance of your website. This free tool is easy to use. You simply provide it with your website's URL, click "analyze," and you'll be provided with a page full of results.
When reviewing your results, be sure to pay attention to the overall letter grade that you receive and the image weight comparison, which tells you quantitatively how your image choices impact performance. You can even look at specific images and diagnose individual programs. As a best practice, use this tool to make you aware of the changes that you need to make to your images to speed up your website.
In summary, your website is one of your company's most important assets. You can't afford to have a website that offers a mediocre user experience. Use this new tool to ensure that the images on your website are not negatively contributing to your website's performance.