Lately I’ve noticed many of my favorite genealogy blogs are taking a long time to load pages and images. Out of curiosity, I saved some of the images to check the file formats and sizes and I was shocked!
Size Matters: Blog Images
One recent blog post had almost 10 different images in PNG format with an average size of 663k each. This means at least 6.6MB of data downloaded just to view the blog post.
Many bloggers don’t realize that Google and other search engines rank your site on how fast your main page loads. What does this mean? The more large images, the slower the page. Use the PageSpeed Insights site from Google Developers to test your site. Once you’ve entered your blog URL, you’ll receive feedback on ways to improve your blog’s speed and load time.
Personally, I try to use JPG images when possible for all my blog posts, but I’ll admit that sometimes the images are blurry due to the nature of the JPG file format. I love the PNG format, but a simple 570x width image (the best size to ensure social media sharing) can be 600k or more in size.
TinyPNG to the Rescue!
One solution I’ve found is TinyPNG: a free website that will convert your PNG images to blog friendly images without distortion. On average, I’ve seen a 70% or more reduction in image file size, but my readers don’t see any noticeable difference between the original PNG and the reduced sized version. In fact, the image for this blog post is only 32k, reduced from its original 600k file size.
To use TinyPNG, go to https://tinypng.com/ and then open the folder holding one or more PNG files to be reduced in size. Select a file and “drag” it into the box in the middle of the screen. TinyPNG will quickly reduced your file size, tell you how much room you’ve saved, and offer a download link to the new file.
Download the file and then use this compressed image for your blog posts. One trick I use: I give the new PNG file a different name than the original so that I always have the full PNG to fall back on in case I need it. Simply add the word “compressed” to the end of the file name so you now which is the original and which is the TinyPNG version.
Review Your Base Blog Images
Once you get the hang of using TinyPNG, examine the file size of your blog’s header graphics. I’ve also noticed many blogs are slow to load due to header banners that are 1.2MB or more in size! Not only does this mean a slow page load, but you are eating up bandwidth . . . this is important if you pay a monthly fee to have your site hosted and bump up against your monthly bandwidth limit!
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