The Surprising Importance Of Image Optimization

The Surprising Importance Of Image Optimization Banner

You’ve just set up the exhibit booth Blazer Exhibits thoughtfully designed just for you on the trade show floor. Now, the traffic is flowing, and attendees are stopping in to see what your business has to offer, pulled in by the graphics and various design elements of your booth. Business cards and brochures are flying off of your display stand faster than you can keep up with. The show ends, you feel quite proud of how successful your booth was. You think, ‘In no time, this booth will have paid for itself with new customers and increased sales!’


Image Optimization
CC Image courtesy of SEOPlanter on Flickr

But before you sit back and celebrate, there is one more hurdle to clear: your website. Is it as effective as your booth at transforming leads into sales and loyal customers for life? If you’re returning from the trade show and not noticing a difference in numbers, it probably isn’t. It’s time to give your website a makeover, turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. You can make your website as powerful as your display graphics in your trade show booth!


It All Starts With The Graphics


Just as with your trade show booth, website visitors want to arrive at your site and see something that pleases them visually. Sure, your graphics are great, custom designed by a graphic designer for maximum effectiveness. They are as eye catching as the banners and display material designed for you by Blazer Exhibits! The problem is whenever a visitor comes to your site, it takes forever for the page to load. People don’t have time to sit around waiting for your fancy graphics to load, due to their enormous file size, and they’ll head elsewhere to find a pleasing website experience.


Did you know that something as simple as altering the file size could lead to a decreased bounce rate? Of course, you’ve probably already realized that decreasing your bounce rate adds up to increased sales! But how do you decrease the file size without sacrificing picture quality?


Photoshop To The Rescue


It’s as easy as opening that image in Photoshop and performing a few simple tasks. First, you want to get rid of any part of the image that doesn’t need to be there. For example, any white space that exists can be removed by simply cropping it away. Once you have the image the way you’d like it, it’s time to determine how wide the image will be online. Most of the time, 300 pixels will do the trick. Next, click ‘Image>Image Size>edit the width’ and input 300, or whatever number you’ve determined will work best. Check the box next to ‘Constrain proportions’ if it isn’t selected already.  Click ‘OK’, and there you have it, a smaller image.


Let’s say there is white background that you can simply crop away, as with an odd-shaped image. You can easily get rid of that white space by deleting that background layer. But what if your image is not layered? In this case, you can click ‘Layer from Background’ and select from the magic wand, quick selection tool, or lasso tool in order to indicate the area that should be deleted. Once it is selected, just delete it, and voila, you have a transparent image.


When you are through tweaking it for your website, you’ll want to save it in a format that allows a small file size without wrecking the image quality. Choose ‘File>Save for Web, and select ‘PNG-8’ as your file format. Click ‘Save,’ and you’re done!


But I Don’t Have Photoshop!


Some people simply cannot see a reason to pay Adobe their monthly subscription fee to use Photoshop. That’s just fine, there are many options available to you, some free of charge that do the exact same thing Photoshop does. Here’s a quick list:


Pixlr. Offering users over 600 effects to transform images to “That’s nice” to “Oh wow,” Pixlr is an app that touts itself as “the most popular online photo editor in the world.” Its interface is similar to that of Photoshop, so if you’ve gotten used to the Adobe software, the switch to Pixlr won’t add up to learning a whole new program! Oh, and it’s free, available for Android and iOS platforms.


Gimp. Another free alternative, Gimp moved quickly from the Unix-based system to Linux, Mac, and Windows. The tools offered the user closely resemble Photoshop, although the interface is a bit different.


Acorn. This program, available for Mac platforms only, was introduced to the market in 2007 and has been an affordable option for anyone looking for an alternative to Photoshop. It costs $49.99, and is a great way to make your images stand out from the rest.


PaintShop Pro. The latest version is available from Corel for $79.99, a Windows-based option that allows you to optimize your images and then some. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, and with layers support, cloning, robust editing tools, and the capability to create your own graphics, it’s a great choice if you do a lot of custom graphics for your site.


How is your website performing? Ensure that those leads picked up at the trade show aren’t clicking away due to poor performance caused by enormous image files. Get optimizing your images today!

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