The internet is always changing and upgrading. So even after I’ve built your dream site, my job as a web designer is never done. We have to make sure your site continues to stay on top of the latest formatting, works seamlessly with the latest browsers and devices, and can be easily found and highly ranked by search engines.
One of my biggest ongoing projects usually involves images. Photos are a simple but essential part of good visual design. They’re eye-catching and can convey an immediate impact on the user.
As such, photos are ubiquitous in web design. We use a lot of them, and they’re everywhere.
The Problems with High-Quality Images Online
But photo formatting online can be surprisingly complex, and can directly influence the quality of your website.
The essential problem we face is that we want your photos to look good, which means accounting for rich colors and sharp details. In short, these qualities take up a lot of space.
Big Files are Bad for Business
So when I take a high-quality image and incorporate it into your web design, I’m asking your website to load a lot of data. Basically, the more data, the slower the website.
Now multiply that problem times however many photos we want to use on your site.
A slowly loading page isn’t just bad for users. It’s bad for search engines, too. When search engines see how slow your site loads, your SEO tanks.
There’s the Rub
So this puts me in a tricky position. I want your site to look great. But I also want it to load quickly and appear at the top of the Google rankings.
How do I use high-quality images without affecting your SEO and your user experience?
Google to the Rescue
Thankfully, Google has been developing a solution. Google is an online juggernaut, so they know what needs to work on the web. Google isn’t just a search engine; the company has its hands on all aspects of online interaction. The company’s developers understand the tricky balance us web designers are trying to strike.
Google’s latest solution to the web image conundrum is called WebP. This fantastic file format allows me to use high-quality images that are up to 1/3 smaller than standard file formats like PNG or JPEG.
What does this mean for your site? Great quality photos and an even faster load time. Win-win.
And as of May 2021, the WebP format is now supported by 94% of browsers worldwide.
So that’s what I’ve been up to: Working through my clients’ sites to convert your fabulous photos to this great new WebP format. It’s been a process, but it’s always good to know that I’m constantly working to make your site better.