Did you know image file types can affect a site in different ways? Here’s why choosing the right image file type matters.
Images are an essential component of any website. Not only do they show off your products or services, images also make your site more visually appealing.
There are many different image file types and, yes, it matters which one you use.
Choosing the correct image file type is essential because different image file types can affect a website differently. Some can cause a webpage to load slower, change the SEO score, alter the aesthetics of your site, and more.
Why Image File Type Matters
Having an understanding of image file types is important because, as we’ve already mentioned, there are benefits and disadvantages to each. Here’s just a couple of ways different image file types can affect your website:
Firstly, images can take up a lot of space on your WordPress website, and that means that your webpages could be slower to load. Optimizing and compressing your high quality images can change this, so your website load time is not affected.
If you want to improve the overall page speed of your webpages as well as improve your SEO ranking, having smaller image file sizes on your website is helpful.
Using the right image file types can also affect the overall aesthetics of your website.
Clear, high resolution images give a professional look to your site. Pixelated, low res images won’t have the same effect.
It’s important that your website and its images look good, no matter the kind of device or the browser it’s viewed on.
Not all image file types are compatible with all browsers and not all of them are fully mobile responsive. Make sure you check how your images look across browsers and device types.
Your image file types should be consistent across your web pages. This keeps your pages from becoming too complex or overloading your server and page load time with different file types.
How Many Image File Types Are There?
There are hundreds of different image file types out there. However, it’s likely you may have only heard of a handful. Some are definitely more popular than others, and only a select few are ideal for use on WordPress websites.
Vector vs. Raster
Broadly speaking, image file types fall into two main categories: vector or raster. Vector images are made using mathematical formulas. They are easier to resize and alter. Vector image file types include PDF, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), WEBP, and Adobe Illustrator’s AI format.
Raster images are actually more commonly used on the internet. Raster images are made up of pixels that come together to make an image. However, their resolution can be lost when the image is resized or changed. Raster image file types include JPG, PNG, and GIF.
Most Common Image File Types Explained
The most popular image file types are raster images – JPG, PNG, and GIF. You’ve probably heard of these ones. They’re most commonly used, and are compatible with WordPress. So, let’s get to know them a little better.
First up we have JPGs. JPG, also written as JPEG, is an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group. JPG images are great for their vivid colors and high quality. However, when you start to compress a JPG the image quality can drop dramatically, so be aware!
The more the image is compressed, the more the quality drops. When you compress this type of image, you can also affect the overall optimization of the page since the quality of the image is lower.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics, and was created to help transfer images across the Internet.
This image file type is best for screenshots, infographics, logos, header and footer graphics, and more.
Like JPG, a PNG image file can display millions of colors, but the data the file holds is heavier than a JPG and can affect the website speed. One advantage is that the images are not changed or lessened in quality when the page is optimized.
PNG images are sharper than JPG images even after they have been compressed, so if you want to keep your high quality photos, it’s an excellent option.
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, which supports the use of static and animated images. Lots of animated memes and few second clips you see online are GIFs.
However, GIFs only supports about 256 colors, so it’s not ideal for bright colors or color gradient use.
One advantage is that GIFs support transparent backgrounds and text labels, which makes them easy to edit or create. GIFs are usually simple animations or low-resolution videos. Also, the file size can be reduced easily without losing the visual quality.
So, Which Image File Type Should You Choose?
Raster images like JPG, PNG, and GIF are the best option for any website, as they are fully supported by all browsers. However, vector images are best for logos and images that need lots of edits.
If you have a vector image that needs to be uploaded to WordPress, simply convert it to raster images first for the best results.
WordPress actually accepts several image file types, including JPEG, JPG, PNG, ICO and GIF images as a default. But JPG or PNG are the only image file types that WordPress allows to be directly uploaded to any page or post.
You have the ability to change this by installing a WordPress plugin or customizing the code of your website.
Taking the time to choose the correct image file type for your WordPress website is key to the overall success of your website. The image file type you choose affects the website speed, website performance, UX, SEO and more.
Compressing and optimizing your images is ideal for achieving great quality and website performance. Your images are a big part of the first impression that people get of your website, so it’s important to make it count!