Images are a powerful way to communicate online, but not every image on a website is equal. While you should take advantage of the fact that 65% of people are visual learners, you should also make sure you’re selecting quality images that will enhance–not take away from–your website.
Select the right size for your quality image
We don’t recommend downloading the largest image file you can. While it’s important to use high-resolution pictures, images that are too large will slow down your website. Think about what you want to use the image for, which will help you determine what size they need to be. A smaller image on a block or between text can have a smaller resolution and file size. Images that appear on a homepage slideshow need have a large resolution and fit the ratio of your slideshow to appear properly. Make a note of the default resolution and ratio of your homepage slideshow to make this process easier.
Be aware of image licensing
When searching for images for a new website, it’s very easy to download and publish someone else’s work without their permission. This could land you in trouble.
If you’re looking for free photos, search for images on Google’s Image Search and select the “labeled for reuse” option under Tools. The search results will show images with a commons license or that are in the public domain. Note: Some images that appear in search results may have conditions on the license. Be sure to read and follow those conditions. Give credit to the image’s author when possible.
There are also free sites like Pixabay, Public Domain Pictures, and Good Free Photos where you can download images worry-free. If you’re willing to pay for access to a stock photo library like Shutterstock, you can find, pay for, and download high-quality stock images.
Edit your images to match your brand
You can take photos for your website on your smartphone, but composition and editing can help you make your image more suitable for your site. After you take a photo, be sure to open the image in an image editor to make changes that fit the image’s purpose on your site.
Make sure your quality images are mobile-friendly
As we mentioned before, large file sizes are the main culprit in a site’s slow loading time–especially images! With Google’s focus on mobile first, images need to strike a balance between quality and an appropriate file size so they will load quickly on a smartphone. Avoid uploading images larger than 2000 pixels wide or tall and larger than 1 megabyte.
Image compression is a significant part of making larger images load faster. Online compression tools such as Tiny PNG can help compress large slideshow backgrounds to a more manageable file size.
If you need help finding, editing, or sizing images for your site, USABAL can help. Contact us today for a consultation.