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January 25, 2023

PNG vs. JPEG: The Right Image Format for Web Optimization

When it comes to creating a seamless and engaging user experience on the web, the quality and performance of your images play a significant role. Choosing the proper file format for your pictures can significantly affect how they are displayed and how quickly they load. Optimizing website graphics or image content is essential for getting users and optimizing performance.

Nearly 39% of users leave sites due to poor image loading times. Image optimization is essential to improve website performance; it limits image file size without compromising image quality—thus, less resource use, loading speed, and positively influencing SEO.

In this article, we'll discuss the key differences between PNG and JPEG image formats, factors to consider when choosing between the two formats, and tips for optimizing images for web use.

Overview: Differences Between PNG and JPEG Formats

PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics and uses lossless compression, preserving an image's original data without losing quality. This makes it an excellent choice for high-quality images or graphics with transparent elements. However, PNG files tend to be larger, negatively impacting website performance.

On the other hand, JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) uses lossy compression, resulting in smaller file sizes and making it popular for web images. However, it doesn't support transparency, making it less suitable for graphics with transparent elements.

From planning to launch day, learn how to make your next redesign project a  success with our Website Redesign Guide.

Factors for Choosing Between PNG and JPEG

When it comes to choosing between PNG and JPEG, there are several factors to consider:

  1. Image quality
  2. File size
  3. Compatibility with different software
  4. Transparency

First and foremost, consider the quality of the image. For example, if you are working with high-quality images of a sunset or a portrait, PNG may be the better choice as it preserves all the original data. On the other hand, JPEG may be more efficient if you work with images that don't require as much detail, such as images with simple patterns or solid colors. 

From planning to launch day, learn how to make your next redesign project a  success with our Website Redesign Guide.

Another factor to consider is the file size. As mentioned above, PNG files are generally larger than JPEG files, so if you are working with many images or are concerned about page load times, JPEG may be the better choice. However, if the file size is not a significant concern and you want to maintain the highest possible image quality, PNG may be the better option.

Compatibility with different software is another factor to consider. PNG and JPEG are widely supported by most software and web browsers, but PNG is not always supported by older software or devices. If you need to ensure that your images will be displayed correctly across a wide range of devices and software, JPEG may be the safer choice.

Transparency is an important factor to consider when working with graphics. PNG supports transparency, while JPEG does not. If your image includes transparent elements, PNG is likely the better choice.

Optimizing Images for SEO

Optimizing your images for the web not only improves the user experience but it can also positively impact your website's SEO. Search engines like Google use image file size, alt tags, and file names as ranking factors. By optimizing your images, you can improve your website's page load times, which can lead to higher search engine rankings. Here are a few tips for optimizing your images for SEO:

    1. Use descriptive file names and alt tags that include your target keywords.
    2. Keep file sizes small without compromising image quality.
    3. Use relevant images to your content and add value to the user experience.
    4. Use sitemaps to inform search engines about your images. 

Find out how you need to improve your SEO strategy by conducting an SEO audit  with New Breed.

How to Optimize PNG or JPEG Images for Web

The optimal image size on an online platform like WordPress or HubSpot should be 200 x 200 pixels for fullscreen backgrounds between 1600 x 2500 pixels wide, and for many other images, a max size of 8800 pixels. Pictures on the edges will ensure their loading is accurate for the computer or mobile screen.

Here are some steps to achieve image optimization:

  • Resize the image to the appropriate dimensions for your website or project. Larger images may take longer to load and affect your website's performance.

  • Adjust the image quality as needed. PNG uses lossless compression, meaning it preserves all the original data of an image without losing any quality. However, this can result in larger file sizes. JPEG uses lossy compression, which means that some of the original data is lost during the compression process. Adjusting the image quality can help you find the right balance between image quality and file size.

  • Save the image with the appropriate file name. Use descriptive, keyword-rich file names to help search engines understand the content of your images and improve the chances of them being found in search results.

  • Compress the image to reduce the file size. Several tools and services can help you compress JPEG images, such as TinyJPG or and TinyPNG or PNGGauntlet.for PNG images.
  • Use responsive images to ensure your images are displayed correctly on different devices. Responsive images are designed to adjust to the size and resolution of the device they are being displayed on. This can help improve the user experience and reduce your website's load times.

By following these steps, you can optimize your PNG or JPEG images for the web and improve your site's performance. Remember that specific optimization techniques depend on your project's needs and available resources.

The Takeaway

Image optimization is an important aspect of website design and can greatly impact the user experience and search engine rankings. By understanding the differences between PNG and JPEG formats and considering factors like image quality, file size, compatibility, and transparency, you can make informed decisions about how to use images on your website. However, image optimization is just one aspect of creating a high-performing and user-friendly website.

Website redesign is a complex process that considers various factors like user experience, search engine optimization, and website performance. A well-designed website not only looks good but also provides a great user experience that helps to increase engagement and conversions.

If you're considering a website redesign, download our guide to help you navigate the process and ensure your new website is optimized for users and search engines. Our guide can provide you with the information and tools you need to create a website that is fast, responsive, and easy to use. It can also help you understand the latest design trends, best practices for user experience, and how to optimize your website for search engines.

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Elizaveta Shkurina

A former art kid with a passion for all things strategic and creative, Liza is on a mission to shake up B2B spaces. When she's not busy launching brands and driving revenue, you can find her chasing down Brooklyn's best food truck (Tacos El Bronco), or cuddled up with her dog to decode Reddit conspiracy theories.


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