If you run Google PageSpeed Insights on your website one of the common recommendations is to optimise the images on your website.
Most images on a website are in either JPEG or PNG format, and both these image formats are already compressed, so why is Google telling you to optimise your images further?
Sometimes it is simply because you are displaying the image on your website smaller than the actual image itself. Usually there is a good reason for this especially if a website is responsive as you need the image to be slightly higher quality in order that it looks good when it scales to all possible device sizes.
However another reason is that Google assumes you could apply a number of quite clever file compression techniques including stripping out unnecessary metadata from the image and applying more advanced and aggressive compression techniques that are appropriate for web based images.
For example the standard “Save As” option in most image editing software saves a lot of additional metadata on files which help with ensuring the colours look right when it is printed to paper. All of this is useless for an image that will only be viewed on the web. With advanced image editing software you can use export tools to strip a lot of this out, and apply additional compression, but this is quite a lot of extra work for every image and would need to be repeated every time an image was updated.
Fortunately if you use Webfuel CMS a solution is now at hand. You can now apply these advanced compression techniques directly from your file manager. You can compress your images simply by right clicking on them in the file manger and selecting “compress”.
Our compression tool offers 3 levels of compression:
- Normal – this is a totally lossless method so the image will be exactly the same, and the image compression is less
- Aggressive – this is the default and should result in an unnoticeable change in the quality with decent compression
- Ultra – the most compression and there may be some small image quality reduction
In testing we regularly see compression levels close to 50% without any noticable change in the image quality. All this adds up to a faster loading site, and happier visitors.
This feature is currently experimental and we have number of additional improvements to roll out. One future development we are working on is to scan you website for new images and apply compression automatically so that you don’t need to do a thing – you just get a faster loading website.