The single best asset of your website is your news / blog / posts. When you add news to your site, you are quite literally breathing life into your otherwise stagnant website. It is well known that Google visits and indexes stagnant websites only once every month or two. While sites with frequent, high-quality and relevant news can be visited and indexed by Google a few times each day!
When you add a news post to you site, it’s important to include at least one image that helps to tell your story. If your article is about the team of volunteers who keep your church clean, show a photo of them working hard. If your article is about the 10,000 pounds of food your students collected for the poor, show a photo of the “mountain of food” surrounded by the committee leadership.
Modern phones and cameras can take fantastic, high-resolution images. However, the actual files can be quite large. While your phone might shoot a 3 MB image, your ultra-fancy DSLR camera might shoot a 16 MB whopper! These gigantic files are much too big for your website and cause numerous problems for users.
Imagine… you are standing in the grocery store, using your phone to read the school’s article, and your phone is trying to download the 7 megabyte file a webmaster used on the page you’re trying to view! Not only will that take a while, but it might even cost you money depending on your cell phone plan! It also puts extra strain on the website server. And this assumes you’re patient enough to wait around for it!
A better practice is for the webmaster to “optimize” an image before adding it to the website. For the most part, that means reducing it from “huge” to being under 100 kilobytes. (A kilobyte is one-one-thousandth of a megabyte.)
Until recently, the process of properly editing a photo meant opening Photoshop, the industry standard for photo editing software. That also means it costs money. And not everybody has that kind of money. So if you are on a budget or in a pinch, here are some great alternatives that are low-cost and free:
Photoshop Elements – The folks at Adobe (maker of Photoshop) created a more consumer-friendly version of their pro software. While it does not have all of the high-end features of full Photoshop, it has everything you need to produce web-quality images. Elements varies in price depending on sales, but you’re looking at $70-100 to purchase and own it. You’ll need a PC or Mac to run it. Download Elements at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-elements.html
GIMP – Some smart programmers got together and said, “We don’t want to pay for Photoshop. Let’s make a free version.” You will need a Mac, PC, or Linux OS to run it. Download GIMP at https://www.gimp.org
Photopea – An even smarter programmer said, “I want Photoshop, but I don’t want to pay for it, and I want to be able to use it on ANY device, and I want it to run in a simple web browser.” It’s pretty incredible what you can do in a browser window these days. This is GREAT news for students using Chromebooks. And there’s nothing to download or log into. (Because it is free, there is a small display advert on the right side.) Try it out at https://www.photopea.com
How do I reduce the size of my photos?
- OPEN or upload your original file
- CROP the image to feature specific content
- RESIZE the image to your targeted width and height
- EXPORT / Save for Web – in this process you can adjust the Quality of the image. As you reduce the quality, the file size goes down. Get your image under 100kb, then go further, as low as you can go, until just before the image starts to look bit-mapped or pixelated.
- SAVE the new image with a file name that makes sense, like “st-charles-student-food-committee-helping-others-2018.jpg”
- UPLOAD your new “optimized” image as the Featured Image of your website news article!
Are you new to editing, and you feel a bit overwhelmed?
Fear not. The above process takes about 1-2 minutes (total) with just a little bit of practice. You can do it… have fun!
Let us help you.
Faith in Marketing builds custom, modern web/mobile sites for Catholic organizations, schools and parishes. Our sites are easy to use, easy to edit from any computer, and allow unlimited pages, events, and news posts. We do not use proprietary software that locks you into unnecessary contracts. Call (858) 877-3733.