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Images are key to any website, and how long they take to load is an important facet of the overall user experience. In fact, 40 percent of people abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load. And how fast your website loads can have a major impact on your Google ranking.
So how can you increase image load speed on your website? In this article, we’ll break it down.
Larger images take longer to load, slowing down your website. Many images, even the ones taken on your phone, are larger in size than they need to be to still look great. Before uploading an image, scale it down in size using free photo-editing tools or a program that’s already installed on your device. The size you reduce it to will depend on the content area width of your website.
Alternatively, the WordPress.com platform allows you to resize an image with its Image Editor in the Media Library.
A CDN is a network of servers around the world that speeds up the delivery of your website’s content. It does this by using servers that are geographically close to you. There are services that you can use that have plans that range from free to paid, such as Cloudflare or StackPath.
If your website or blog is built on WordPress.com, then it comes with Jetpack’s powerful CDN automatically enabled.
To increase image load speed, you can opt to have your content temporarily stored in a cache. For self-hosted websites, you can download a plugin such as W3 Total Cache, WP Rocket, or WP Super Cache. If you’re a WordPress.com user, the platform does this for you already as part of Jetpack’s essential features. In fact, adding a caching plugin can interfere with the WordPress.com platform.
Images can use a lot of data, which take a longer time to load. Compress images manually on your computer before you upload photos, or use a plugin on your website to do it for you. Again, Jetpack automatically does this for your WordPress.com website.
It’s likely that you have multiple images on a page, especially if you have an eCommerce store or if you’re a blogger. Instead of having all of the images load automatically when someone visits a page on your website, you can choose to only load visible images to speed up image loading. This is called Lazy Loading.
There are plugins that allow you to do this, but there’s also an option that you can choose on your Jetpack-connected site, called Lazy Images.
Finally, using a high-quality hosting platform can have a huge impact on how fast images load on your website. The options are endless, and they can vary immensely by price. Whether you have a free or paid WordPress.com website, you know your website is hosted on a top-notch platform.
By implementing these strategies, your website photos should load within the click of a button.
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