Jan 08

Image Performance Tips For Authors

Wed, 01/08/2014 - 07:45 — julie

photodune-2593177-maximum-speed--s

In this article we’ll give you some tips to help you improve the performance of your item and profile pages. It’s a well known fact that page load time is a vital part of maximising sales online. Google says it best:

Fast and optimised pages lead to higher visitor engagement, retention, and conversions.

The time it takes your Marketplace item, profile and live preview pages to load can have a direct and drastic impact on your sales. Here’s how to make the impact a positive one.

How Your Content Impacts Page Speed

You can add custom HTML to some places on the Marketplaces, including your profile, item descriptions and support pages. This custom HTML can include images that you host.

By far the slowest part of the Marketplaces are these self-hosted images. That’s because they’re often not optimised for the web, and are usually hosted on comparatively slow personal servers, or on free image hosting services (like Dropbox, Flickr or CloudApp).

The image below shows all of the images that load on a typical Marketplace item page:

skitch

The highlighted items are images hosted by the author. These can often push the page load time up by three or four seconds.

How to Improve Your Item Page’s Speed

1. Use Fewer Images

The single easiest way to speed up your item page is to simply include fewer images. Watch out for images with lots of text. Aside from adding to page load time, this content is invisible to search engines and not selectable by users. Where possible, add text content and links to the page as text or HTML rather than embedding it in an image.

2. Use An Appropriate Image Format

Many people use JPEG as their default image format, but the size and quality of your images can be improved depending on the content of the image.

As a general rule:

  • JPEG is best for photos and images with lots of gradients
  • PNG or GIF are best for images with flat colours and images with transparency

But you should experiment with all three formats to see which gives you the best combination of quality and performance.

3. Compress and Optimise Images

When you export your images from Photoshop, always use the “Save for Web” option. Once your image is exported, you can make it even smaller with an image optimisation tool. These tools are able to strip unnecessary data and compress your images even more than “Save for Web”, usually losslessly.

Some tools you might like to try include:

There are more tools listed in the best image compression tools for web designers.

For the Pros: Host Your Images Somewhere Fast

Free hosting services are usually not the fastest. If you want to stick with free image hosting, experiment with a few options to see which performs best for you.

If you’re hosting your own images, talk to your provider about their best options for fast image hosting.

Finally, you can use a CDN to dramatically boost the speed of your images. Tuts+ has some helpful articles to get you started:

Header image credit: ponsulak

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