How Modern Image Formats Can Speed Up Your Website
Learn how modern image formats like WebP and AVIF can improve your website’s page speed and boost SEO.
Image Source: Google Developers
Find out why it is essential to optimize images and how to convert them to modern formats.
How can modern image formats improve your website’s performance?
With search engines and users placing greater emphasis on the need for speed, fast-loading websites are key in ensuring low bounce rates and increasing the likelihood of conversions. As many webmasters focus on capturing the attention of users, high-quality images are often used as a way to keep them interested and on the page. Yet, one of the main culprits behind slow-loading pages is the size of the images. In fact, images account for up to 42% of the Largest Contentful Paint.
Fortunately, modern image formats offer a solution to this challenge, with more efficient compression and faster loading times. Read on to explore the benefits of using modern image formats and how they can be used to increase page speed.
What are modern image formats?
Modern image formats are file types that use advanced compression algorithms and techniques to reduce the size of images without compromising the quality of the media. Some of the most popular modern image formats include WebP and AVIF. These formats offer a number of benefits over traditional formats like JPEG and PNG and can compress images up to ten times smaller.
WebP was developed by Google in 2010 and it is a highly compressed image format that provides better quality and smaller file sizes than traditional image formats. This makes it ideal for use in web applications where fast load times and low bandwidth usage are essential.
Another modern image format is AVIF, which stands for AV1 image file format. Introduced in 2018, AVIF is a relatively new format based on the AV1 video codec. Like WebP, AVIF is designed to provide much better compression and improved image quality. Furthermore, AVIF is superior in the sense that it supports advanced features such as HDR and transparency, making it a versatile format for a range of applications.
What are the benefits of using modern image formats?
Because modern formats can compress media while maintaining quality, it can greatly help in website speed optimization.
Faster page load times:
One of the greatest advantages of WebP and AVIF is the faster page load times it brings. By reducing the size of images, these formats allow websites to load more quickly, improving the page speed and user experience to reduce bounce rates.
Better user experience:
Modern image formats can also improve the user experience by delivering high-quality images that load quickly. Especially since many users now surf the internet on their mobile devices and may be on slower connections or have limited data plans.
Marketers will know how important this aspect is to the success of their website. Page speed is a crucial factor in search engine rankings, and using modern image formats that are byte-sized can reduce page load times and in turn, improve SEO. With better search rankings, there will be increase website visibility
Reduced bandwidth usage:
When everything is on the cloud, storage can be expensive too. Reducing the size of the photographs and images on the website can help save the company’s bandwidth usage. This means lower hosting costs and improved server performance.
Improved image quality:
Thanks to a combination of advanced compression algorithms and support for advanced features like HDR and transparency, modern image formats can provide a more immersive and engaging user experience as compared to traditional image formats. Especially in applications such as gaming and virtual reality which require more versatile media.
How to use modern image formats?
Given that modern image formats are the way to go, how should businesses use them?
Choose the right format
The first step in using modern image formats is to select the right format for your needs. WebP is a popular choice for web developers and designers as it offers high-quality compression and works with most modern browsers. AVIF, though can be more efficient in terms of compression, is still limited to some browsers and may not be widely supported.
Image editing software like Photoshop can save images in modern image formats like WebP and AVIF. There are also free online conversion tools that can help you convert your images. All you have to do is to upload your image, choose the right format you want to convert it to, and download the new file.
How then will you know which to choose between the two? You’ll need solutions that can detect your user’s browsers and deliver the right format to them.
Use Content Delivery Networks
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are then the answer to that. You can set up automatic image conversion to modern formats. This means that when someone visits your website, the CDN will then automatically convert images to the most efficient format for their specific browser.
CDNs are also key as it helps save network time. Rather than fetching media from across the world, CDNs with points-of-presence (PoPs) geographically closer to your users can speed up the load time, further optimizing your images.
Ensure responsive images
Thereafter, the next step will be to ensure that all your images are responsive. Delivering a large image size to a small mobile phone can be a waste of resources and slows down your website. Responsive images that work well on various devices – desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones will help to improve overall site performance.
Test images to check for quality
No matter which method you chose, don’t forget the most important step – test your images after conversion to ensure that they still look good and are not overly compressed or grainy. Sometimes, you might need to adjust the compression settings or resolution to find the right balance between file size and image quality.
Why should you use modern image formats?
All in all, using modern image formats can be a great way to improve page speed and deliver a better user experience. By reducing the size of images and optimizing them, these modern image formats can lead to better SEO, reduce bandwidth usage, and boost the visibility of your websites.