The importance of correct image size

The Web is a visual medium

This means it’s important to use images. A post with a nice photo or that uses imagery to make a point is likely to be far more attractive to a visitor than one with a lot of turgid text.

But this doesn’t mean that you should just add any old shots, especially that nice snap of a sunset you took last night with your smartphone. There is a balance to strike between making your site or post visually attractive and bogging your site down.

The problem is that your iPhone – and most other modern digital cameras and smartphones – take enormous images that will affect page load speeds, meaning that users will have to wait ages for a page to load. Search engines hate it too.

As standard, your iPhone 6 takes a photo that could nearly fill two 17 inch monitors, and a level of quality almost unthinkable when digital cameras first hit the market in the late 1990s. In many ways it’s great to have such technology at your fingertips – but these are not appropriate for use on your website.

If you load smartphone images straight to your WordPress site, you’re going to slow your site down dramatically.

Make it small

This means two things:

  1. Reduce the image’s dimensions. 600-800 pixels wide is usually ample. You can do this in any image editing software, such as Photoshop, or even in paint.
  2. Reduce the file size. This means using a compression tool such as JPEGMini. The file size of most images can be significantly reduced with no visible loss in quality. Our sites all use an extra image optimisation plug-in that will cut any remaining fat when you upload media.

Add some text

When you add the photo, remember to fill in the alt-text field. This is the text that displays when a user doesn’t or cannot load the image itself, and is used by screen readers for the visually impaired. Google rates this blurb as highly important, so not filling it in is likely to negatively impact the post’s search rankings. Ideally, you’ll use some text that targets the same keywords as the overall post while still sensibly describing the image itself.

Caption are also important. Image captions are read three time more than main body content, so don’t miss this opportunity to engage with your audience.