When you are designing your first website, you’re tickled to death to add all the pretty images and stuff to it. You want the best graphics around. But wait.. The one thing that you need to know before adding all those images is, the more images you have, the longer it takes your site to load.
Search Engines like for you to keep the size of your homepage down. So that would hurt you with the search engines. As for your visitors, they’re not going to hang around for three minutes or so to wait for your page to load. So what do you do..
You can use images but you need to decrease the file size. Most images that you take with a digital camera or get off the web somewhere are really big images in size. So you need to use a program to shrink those images down some before placing them on your website. I use Fireworks 8 to shrink my images down and it can be done quickly and easily in Fireworks. Let me walk you through Decreasing the file size of your image.
Open your Fireworks program. In the top of your Fireworks window click on File > Open. Locate the image that you want to decrease the file size of. Once you have located the image click OK. Now your image is in your Fireworks program. If your image is to big for your use, select the Scale Tool in your Tools Panel and scale the image down some. Drag the bottom right corner towards the center until you are satisfied with the size. Next press Ctrl + Shift + X on your keyboard. That will bring up the Export window. On the right of the Dialog box you will see your image. Locate at the top of your image where it says JPEG – Quality 80 (or some number) – The size of the image and how long it takes to load it. On the left you will see Format and Quality. Choose your format (jpeg or gif) and bring the quality down some. Try to drop it as low as you can. But keep an eye on your image in the right, if you drop it to low, your image will look awful. Once you are satisfied with your size, click Export. Save your new image and click OK.
So now you have decreased the file size of your image. This will allow your site to load faster. I recommend you do this with all your big images. It makes a world of difference when you decrease the file size in Fireworks before adding it them to your website.