Why are some websites really slow while others are not?

Don’t be scared, I will only write for non-techies and only about images, not about coding or about some similar scary stuff. This post is for website owners, who are able to manage their own content and who’d like their visitors to stay on the website.

Nowadays more and more business owners are able to handle their own websites. They write blogs and update content. If a typical small business is able to do this on a long term basis without any help, it’s already a great success. However, you need to be careful with the images you upload, because oversized images can slow down your website - and if your visitors have to wait too long for a web pages to load... they will leave your site and look elsewhere.

Although an image you’ve uploaded may seem to be OK at first glance, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is. In the case of a responsive website, you may assume that the size of the uploaded image is ideal because it looks perfect on the website. However, in reality the image may be much larger than the optimal size and will consequently slow down your website.

There are three things you should do to ensure your images don't slow your website:

  • Ask your webmaster about the optimal image size on that particular page
  • Resize the image to the suggested size by using any free image editing software (one of my favourites is xnview)
  • Use a free online image optimizer before you upload your image (my favourite is kraken.io)

Following these three simple steps you could reduce the size of your image files by up to 80%.

You may ask yourself: Do I really have to bother with all of this?

Well… I think, yes. Oversized images can cause a negative impact on the search results of your website. On top of that, don’t forget: Browsing on a mobile phone is often made by mobile network connection, which is much slower than the connection you use at your laptop.

If you've already learnt how to update a website, it’s really worth taking another 30 minutes to learn how to create not just ‘usable’ but also optimized images.

Finally, here are two images which look the same but the optimized image (the second one) is 80% smaller. The difference in quality is really negligeable.