Clean Up Messy Media: How to Optimize Your Site's Visuals for Faster Load Time
So you’ve just created your brand’s new website. You’ve got a great website host, a few fantastic images, maybe some engaging videos, and a pleasing color scheme.
But there’s just one problem: it’s too messy, and your website is taking forever to load.
This might not seem like a big problem, but when users are spending an average time of less than a minute on your site to see if it’s for them, a slow-loading page might make your business tank.
It can be frustrating to know that users will spend so little time on a website that most definitely took longer than a minute to put together. But people surfing the internet are bombarded with so much content to choose from each and every second they are online. They simply don’t have time to check out each and every site looking to get their attention.
To make sure that your site is one that users pay attention to, you can work to optimize your website media to keep your page loading quickly and keeping users happy. Keep reading for a few top tips to optimize your website media and connect more with the audience you want to reach.
Make your website mobile-friendly
A huge part of keeping your site desirable for users is to give them the option to view your website on their phones. Since we always have our smartphones on us these days, this is absolutely essential.
Ensuring that your website can be viewed on a laptop, tablet, and smartphone will help you attract more visitors and keep them.
Optimizing your website for mobile viewing can usually be done through your website host. It can be a pain to go the extra mile to complete this step, but it will save you time and likely make you more money in the long run if you do it.
Understand the size of your visual media
Most of us probably grew up with the notion of copying and pasting images into a document to get the visual result we wanted. While that may have worked for a college project back in the early 2010s, website maintenance requires a bit more technical finagling to get your visual media up to par.
One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when including images or videos on your website is their file format. When opting for photos, always try to use images that are in JPEG file format.
Why is this important?
Because an image that is in JPEG format has less data than an image that is in a PNG format. And whatever you do, stay far, far away from uploading images that are PDFs to your website. They are huge files with tons of data that will do nothing but slow down your webpage.
The less data you have in an image means fewer data that your website has to sift through in order to process your image. Which means a better loading time for your website.
Upload the best video format for your website
For images, finding the best file format to upload to your site is pretty easy because there are only a few great options to choose from (i.e., PNG or JPEG). But video formats can get more complicated.
There are a lot of video file formats that can work for your website, and different creators prefer different file formats. There is no “correct” video format, but below are just a few of the most popular file types that website creators like for convenience and compatibility with most websites.
While most of these file formats will be compatible with a variety of different websites, some like MOV require you to have preexisting software such as QuickTime player that works in tandem with MOV.
However, with all video file types, a good rule of thumb is to upload a video no larger than 1 GB to your website. Of course, the size will depend on the file type you use, but no matter the file format, exceeding 1 GB of video will likely make your website slow down much more than you want it to.
And with all visual media, check to make sure that you’re being strategic about what you are choosing to include on your site. If you’re featuring tons of videos, and your site is loading at a glacial pace, it is probably an indicator that you should switch up your visual media to include more variety.
Variety will help you in the long run as sites that have a combination of images and video tend to be favored more by users.
Double-check the compression size of your images
Once you’ve converted all of your favorite images into JPEG file format, go the extra mile and double-check the compression size of your images.
While most website builders automatically compress your images somewhat, you can manually edit the compression size to help your website process the data in the image as efficiently as possible.
Compressing the image further than standard settings might help you take the extra leap to make your website load faster for a better user experience.
Stay away from GIFs
While GIFs work wonders for websites like Buzzfeed or for a group chat, they probably won’t fit in very well with your brand. This is because GIFs take an enormous amount of data to run on your website, thanks in part to their never-ending loops that keep us so enthralled.
They might be an interesting way to spice up the visual media on your website, but do yourself a favor and don’t slow down your website by using GIFs. Save them for Buzzfeed and your text messages instead.
Tighten up the design of your website
A slow-running website could be the result of many different issues, but it should not be the result of a messy design. To optimize website media, take a minute to clean up any extra (and unnecessary) white space, inline spacing, and comments.
Sometimes website lagging can be exasperated by inefficient design, so make sure that your site is clean and efficient so that it can run more smoothly.
These tips can help you create a website that runs more efficiently and presents a better experience for users. Optimizing website media is an absolutely vital element of marketing your brand to audiences, so it’s great to keep an eye on what’s going on from a visual perspective.
But if you find that your website is still loading slowly for users, you might want to look into more technical solutions that might demand a bit more coding expertise. However, for many website creators, focusing on optimizing website media solves a lot of problems and takes their sites to the next level. Hopefully, these tips can help you achieve that too.