How to avoid image formatting mistakes for your website?

An often overlooked aspect of creating a blog or website is the visual content. Most bloggers are focused on creating high quality written content and then throw in a few pictures as an afterthought.

The problem is that humans are primarily visual creatures. We remember what we see much more vividly than what we read. Writing is composed of abstract ideas, but images are concrete and seem much more real to our brains. If your website is designed to sell products, a clear and attractive image will do more to sell them then 1000 words of product description. Since this is the case, it is important that you take the time to ensure that your images are displaying correctly.

Here are a few of the most common image formatting mistakes to avoid on your website.

The first thing to consider when uploading an image you want to use is the size. If it is too large, then your website will load much more slowly. This can be frustrating for customers. They may just decide it is taking too long and move on to a competitor.

On the other hand, if your image is too small, it can be hard to see. Displaying all of the details of your product is crucial to an effective image. The more important factor for determining the size of the file is the megabytes or kilobytes rather than the number of pixels. As with most things in life, the best solutions is a compromise. Find a size that is easy to load without sacrificing too much quality.

Another problem people encounter with formatting their images is “pixelation.” This is when a picture is blurry and difficult to see, because it is being stretched to fill a space larger than its original dimensions. To avoid this, you want to make sure that your image has between 72 and 120 pixels per inch (PPI). This range will keep your image looking good for the vast majority of screens. As an added bonus, the file size will also be manageable at this scale. You can use a photo editing program to change the resolution and size of the image.

Cropping and framing are skills you will need to develop in order to produce attractive images for your website. Cropping is when you remove unnecessary parts of an image, especially a photograph, focusing in on the part that is important. This is a good way to eliminate empty space and uninteresting background. The only issue is that you need to start with a very high quality image in order to significantly crop your picture.

The more you crop an image, the lower the resolution will be. Framing is how your image is laid out. You want it to look as balanced as possible. For example, not everything important in the picture in the lower left hand corner. Also, be sure the subject of the image is in focus, avoid too much negative space, etc. Before posting an image on your website or blog, you will have a lot of control over how it looks, but remember to keep it simple. You don’t want to go too crazy with editing your photos to the point where they are unrecognizable.

Learn the strengths and weaknesses of the different file types. You have probably seen these acronyms at the end of your files and maybe don’t know exactly what they mean. JPG is usually used for photos because of the wide spectrum of color it offers and high resolution. PNG is often used for logos because they work well for displaying pictures with text. GIF images can be animated, but are lower resolution. PDF is almost like a snapshot of the original content. It will always look the same no matter how it is viewed. Also, remember that it is important to include meta-data to make your images easy to find for the major search engines. This will drive traffic to more image heavy websites.

Those are the major image formatting mistakes to avoid on your website. With a little practice, you will soon be a pro at editing and publishing high quality pictures.