I asked Brian D. Hawkins of HotBlogTips to share with us his tips for optimizing images in blogs:
When designing a website or adding images to a blog post, size does matter… file size that is. The larger the file size, the slower the page load time and that can be bad news for your PageRank. Improving page load speed can help your PageRank and bring you higher in the search engine results. Image optimization plays a large part in overall page load times.
In order to optimize your images, you must give up quality or the actual size/dimensions of the image or both. We can compress online graphics and photos while maintaining the actual image dimensions but we lose color and quality. The more compression the less quality. Our job is to find that perfect balance; that acceptable file size while maintaining a quality graphic or picture for your blog or website.
Image File Types
Most website image formats are GIF, JPG or PNG. For today’s comparison I chose to use JPG simply because that is my first choice for online graphics that require no animation or transparency. Many web designers prefer PNG; I recommend creating and optimizing both and choosing the best one for that particular image.
Image Optimization Comparison Test
I started this comparison test by creating a colorful graphic using GIMP Image Manipulation Program, which also has the ability to compress and optimize images. Gimp is not part of this comparison test but is a great product if you are not using Photoshop or another expensive graphic tool; Gimp is free. This original graphic has a file size of 20.772 KB and as you can see it has crisp lines and vivid colors.
Free Online Image Optimization Tools
Today’s comparison test involves three free online image optimization tools.
Site Report Card
Site Report Card’s image reducer tool was fast and efficient, as were all three online graphic compression tools I tested. This test rendered eight separate file sizes to choose from ranging from 2 KB to 10 KB. I selected an acceptable image that was reduced to 5.218 KB (shown below). That is over 75% smaller in file size than the original.
Dynamic Drive’s Optimizer is similar to SiteReportCard’s and generated ten compressed images to choose from. I chose a mid-compression level with a finished file size of 5.856 KB (shown below).
Image Optimizer was fast and very easy to use. I selected the ‘normal’ option and was delivered a 6.226 KB JPG image (shown below) and, as you can see, could be used on most websites.
So What’s The Score?
I guess, all in all, it’s a wash. Like I said, compressing an image is a balance between quality and file size. All three online image optimization tools I tested did a great job at reducing file size and the image quality is very close.
Out of the three online image optimization tools, both SiteReportCard and DynamicDrive had a nice selection of compressed images in various file sizes complete with a preview of each. Image Optimizer offered only one selection at a time with no preview but you can download image optimizer on your computer for off line use.
There are many other online image optimization tools available, both online and downloadable programs. Which website or program do you use?
Brian D. Hawkins runs several blogs including HotBlogTips.com where he offers free tips, advice and resources for other bloggers. Follow Brian on Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to the Hot Blog Tips Newsletter.