A common mistake by beginner webmasters comes from the use of images. Too often have I come across a website that uses photos that are physically huge but display much smaller. This is done by using a large image as the source file and then setting the height and width to be a fraction of the size.

I primarily see this happen with photos that have come direct from a camera without being resized or compressed. Most digital cameras and smart phones take photos at file sizes and dimensions that do not belong on a website. I’m talking about pictures that are three or more times the size of your screen and upwards of 10 megabytes. A photo like that does not belong on a webpage with other content.

Why you should resize and compress your photos

You may be wondering why you should bother resizing the image. After all, you may want to show the big version to your visitors.

The reason you should resize and compress your images is because loading a massive image on your page is going to take time. Though it may only be a few seconds, seconds on the web can mean the difference between a visitor sticking around and leaving. The images will load slowly, and if you are showing more than one of these large images on the same page, you’re only causing your visitors to get annoyed with the lack of speed.

Another issue with using these oversized images is bandwidth consumption. The larger the file, the more bandwidth you are going to use. For some hosting accounts, bandwidth may be limited. Reduction in file size can keep your bandwidth costs down.

Resize Your Images

There are many tools that you can use to resize your images, both commercial and free. One great free resource is Picresize.com. Upload your photo to the site and set the dimensions you would like. Set only the width and the image will resize the height appropriately. You can even set an effect to apply to your photo. There is no required registration and the whole process can be finished in under a minute.

Compress your files

Yahoo! provides a tool called Smush.it which can reduce the weight of your photos. It applies file compression to bring your photo down to a smaller file size without not much noticeable visual difference. Simply upload your photo and Smush.it does the rest. Like Picresize.com, Smush.it does not require registration to use.

Make your visitors happier by resizing and compressing your photos. It will speed up the loading of your site and reduce the amount of bandwidth you use.