In one of my previous posts I highlighted how page load speed is one of the 200+ factors Google uses when it ranks your page. For wedding photographers this is particularly important as a large percentage of the content on your website will be made up of images. Therefore it makes sense that images are highly optimised to help your pages load more quickly.
SEO for Wedding Photographers – Image Optimisation
What size images…
The first thing you need to consider is the size of the images you want. By image size I refer the actual physical size of the image e.g. 4000 x 3000px. Images this size are rarely needed for viewing online and as part of your work flow to should reduce to the required size.
The home page (front slider) of my website theme has images which stretch to suit the screen resolution of the viewer. I carried out a little research on common screen resolutions and found 85 percent of users have screens larger than 1024×768. As high definition screens are becoming increasing popular I decided to for my home page I would use only landscape images with the longest edge of 1920px. Another key area on my website is my portfolio for show casing my work to potential brides and grooms. For my portfolio I use images 1200 x 800px.
It’s also worth pointing out that image optimisation is a two part process, compression and image size.
Which software is best (Photoshop v Fireworks)…
Most wedding photographers are competent in the use of Photoshop and it’s probably a program they use on a daily basis. So when it comes to optimising and uploading images to their website, 99.9% of photographers use what they are comfortable with, which in most cases is Photoshop. It has many built in features for batch processing images and is a very powerful application, there is no doubting that.
However, there is another program produced by Adobe called Fireworks and is predominantly a tool for creating web graphics. As Fireworks is a tool for the web it has amazing compression algorithms. It also has the ability to batch process images just like Photoshop.
How to optimise images using Photoshop and Fireworks…
In the following tutorial I have demonstrated how to use both Photoshop and Fireworks to optimise an image. The image size will be reduce so the longest edge is 1920px, so the example image would be suitable for my home page (front slider). I will use a compression ratio of 75 percent, note, Photoshop uses a 12 point scale so 75 percent equates to 6 out of 12.
As you can see Fireworks produces images with smaller file sizes and no noticeable difference in quality from Photoshop images. Some may argue the Photoshop image is slightly better quality and they may be right, but the Fireworks image is nearly half the size, yes that’s right nearly 50% smaller! Remember, the faster your site loads the better for Google ranking.
Is it worth all the trouble…
So I hear you say, in these days of superfast broadband does a 169kb saving really make a difference.
Let’s do some maths! Let’s say you have 250 images on your website and 50 visitors a day.
• 250 images x 169kb saving per image = 42.25MB saving per visitor
• 50 visitors per day x 42.25MB saving per visitor = 2.1GB saving per day
• 365 days in the year x 2.1GB saving per day = 766GB saving a year
The above figures are not extreme either and probably conservative for the majority of photographers. There is a clear saving, the extent of which will clearly depend on your own circumstances, the bigger the site the larger the saving.
Photoshop and Firework are both great tools but Fireworks definitely has the edge. If you want your pages to load quickly and your customers to have the best possible experience then optimise your images. Who knows you may even get a little boost from Google.
Thanks for reading this article and hopefully it was of some use to you. If you have any feedback or questions, leave a comment and I will do my best to answer.