• Michael Linsin

The Big Problem With Images

I include an image on every blog post at Smart Classroom Management. Besides adding much-needed color, images draw the reader's eye to the title and entice them to scroll down to the main text.

Blog post images are also pulled from the page when readers share your work via social media. Research is clear that social media engagement is higher when there is an attached image.

The problem with images, however, is that they're heavy - taking up an average of 21% of a webpage's total size. This means that they slow your page down. They make it difficult to attain a loading speed of less than two seconds, which is the point at which bounce rates begin to climb.

This is important because your bounce rate is the rate at which your readers leave your site without clicking on any other pages. Most often it's an immediate click of the back button because they get tired of waiting. A high bounce rate also signals to Google that your site may not be worth listing in their search results.

If your page load speed takes longer than five seconds, which isn't unusual if you have a large image, the bounce rate goes all the way up to 38%. So what can you do about it? How can you have cool images that draw readers but still allow you to have a fast website?

You compress them.

According to WhatIs.com, image compression "is minimizing the size in bytes of a graphics file without degrading the quality of the image to an unacceptable level. The reduction in file size allows more images to be stored in a given amount of disk or memory space. It also reduces the time required for images to be sent over the Internet or downloaded from Web pages."

Luckily, there are several image compression websites to choose from. Several years ago I discovered Tiny PNG and have been using it ever since. It's free and it compresses my images as much as 80%. It's also really easy to use.

After creating an image at PicMonkey, I simply drag it from my desktop and onto their homepage. In about three seconds it's ready to download. Now, it's important to mention that the image quality may not be as high as the original. But as long as you compress the image only once, you won't be able to tell.

It will look just as bright and clean and colorful as the original.

The best part, of course, is that it won't slow your page down. It will pull your readers in and hook them into the first few lines of your article. It will invite them to stay and click around without frustration.

Image compression is a small thing. But like so much of successful blogging, it can make a big difference.

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