Websites running off Magento tend to be rich in images primarily to showcase the various products that are available. However, as much as these images are essential to show customers the products that are on sale, they also contribute significantly to the website’s loading time.
Loading time (or conversely, page speed) has a direct impact on user experience – with many users often giving up on websites that take too long to load. Additionally, it also affects ranking on search engines as well as other metrics that can ultimately affect conversions.
Because of that, it’s important that you take steps to optimize your images for Magento so that they (along with the web pages that they are on) load faster. Typically, optimizing images focuses on three areas in particular:
The first step when optimizing photos and images for Magento is to save them in the right format. Nowadays that mostly involves JPEG for the smallest file sizes or PNG for transparent or higher quality images. Sometimes GIF is used, though normally only for animation.
Essentially the resolution of an image is its size, and should ideally match the size that it is displayed on the website. The higher the resolution of an image the larger its file size, which is why saving a high-resolution image but displaying it as a tiny thumbnail is wasteful. In some cases, it may even be a good idea to create multiple versions of the same image in different resolutions, particularly if your website is responsive and scales according to the screen size of devices.
Often images are compressed to reduce their file size while also sacrificing some of their quality. As such a balance needs to be found between file size and quality, though some lossless compression options do exist that can slightly reduce the file size of images by stripping away unnecessary metadata.
Although it is possible to optimize all three of the areas listed above when saving the images or photos, Magento offers another option in the form of various extensions (both paid and free). Most of these extensions are able to compress images to reduce their file size, and some will also help to adjust the resolution and format as well.
Whether you opt to use extensions to optimize images on Magento or prefer to optimize them prior to uploading them depends largely on your workflow. Individually, it may be easy to edit photos and optimize them at the same time, though when dealing with images in bulk it may be more convenient to let extensions handle the workload.
At the end of the day, now that you know what needs to be done to optimize images and photos for Magento, you should be able to dramatically reduce their file sizes and improve page speed of your website. Keep in mind that you’ll want to continuously optimize any new photos and images that you add as well so that your Magento website constantly loads as quickly as possible.
Ragini has run several ecommerce websites and is a big fan of the Magento platform. She is currently focused on optimizing Magento websites to increase their page speeds.