Make your images smaller

Are you running your own website or blog? Then you should always compress images. In this article, we show you why and how to do it.

compress images

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Why compress images?

How do you make the image size smaller?

What is the fastest solution?

Have you ever visited a blog, just to pull your hair out by its roots in frustration because it takes to much time to load the content? If yes, it is probably because the person behind the site did not compress images on the site.

Imagine: You take a photo with your phone’s camera and upload it to your computer. An image like this can have a size ranging from a couple of megabytes and upwards. With an excellent camera, a photo is more likely between 15 and 20 megabytes, a good thing if you plan to put a large version of it on the living room wall.

The question is: How often do you do that? These days most photos are never seen anywhere else than on a computer or smartphone screen. You just don’t need this enormous amount of data.

Why compress images?

Do you enjoy waiting for a long time to get your meal at a restaurant? Do you enjoy spending 20 minutes in line at the grocery store? Getting stuck in rush hour traffic on a Friday make you smile?

Your answer is probably “NO”. Precisely the same scenery presents itself every time someone visits a website. Visitors do not like waiting. So if you are pushing a 2, 5 or 20-megabyte image in one of your articles or blog posts, a lot of potential readers will disappear. It is even worse when you have many pictures in the same article. If a blog post has 15 images, and each of those accounts for around 3 megabytes, we all of a sudden have 45 megabytes of data to download at the same time. That is quite a wait for the poor guy or girl who stumbled upon your page. Most likely you will never see him or her again.

According to Kissmetrics, most people will leave a website if it takes more than six seconds to load the content. So THAT is the reason why you need to compress images.

One more thing: Don’t forget that around 50 percent of people visit your site through their smartphone, where you have a data plan for each month. How happy do you think those readers will be if they figure out that your article alone cost them between 10 and 50 megabytes of their data plan?

How do you make the image size smaller?

Technically this is mostly about two different elements: Pixels and compressing the data that you find in the picture file itself.

Let us use a regular picture taken by a smartphone as an example. That photo has a pixel width of 3900 (around 100 centimetres). Photos that you put on your site does not have to extend a pixel width of 1500. So just by resizing the picture, giving it fewer pixels, the image size will be reduced drastically.

Compressing can be done with a lot of free online services. One service that we recommended is Pixlr Editor. After uploading your photo, choose a new pixel size by clicking “Image” and then “Image size in the top menu.

Example: A smartphone photo is 3984 pixels wide. We change this to 1500 pixels in Pixlr Editor.

Size before: 3,08 MB
Size after: 1,4 MB

The next step is to save the photo to a prefered folder on your computer. When clicking “save” in Pixlr Editor, you will notice that the setting “Quality” automatically is set to 80. This setting is the key to compressing your photo even more. Not in pixels, but in bytes. Pixlr removes any unnecessary “data” in the photo, without making the loss visible for us.

This saved photo is the one that you want to upload to your website.

Size before: 1,4 MB
Size after: 0,3 MB

This process will not take you more than a minute or two, and it will be worth your time in gold when giving your users the best possible experience on your site.

What is the fastest solution?

Do you want to have a quick fix, you also have several “drag and drop” solutions online. The difference is that you will not be able to adjust the pixel size. The result is a photo that is bigger than if you follow the steps above. A small tip to avoid the issue is to lower the pixel size on the camera of your phone.

Lanterne recommends the two sites CompressNow and Compress JPEG. Both of these sites do an outstanding job at compressing your images, and they are also to be trusted.

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