Speeding Up Your Photography Website for SEO

In today’s digital era, professional photographers showcase their artistry and skills through their online portfolios, making websites an indispensable tool for their success.

However, there’s one pressing issue that plagues the websites of many professional photographers: slow loading speeds. 

In this article, we’ll explore the importance of a fast website for SEO and discuss effective strategies to accelerate your photography website, so your stunning imagery reaches your audience in the blink of an eye.

The Importance of a Fast Website for SEO

Before delving into the solutions, let’s first understand why a fast website matters for SEO. Search engines like Google prioritise user experience, and site speed plays a significant role in that.

A slow-loading website frustrates visitors, leading to higher bounce rates and decreased user engagement. Search engines interpret these signals as indicators of poor user experience, potentially affecting your website’s search rankings. 

A fast website, on the other hand, encourages longer visit durations and higher user satisfaction, positively influencing your SEO efforts.

Monitoring Your Pagespeed

To tackle the issue of slow-loading websites, first we need to find out where your website currently stands in regards to pagespeed. Two excellent tools for this task are GTMetrix and Pagespeed Insights

GTMetrix provides detailed reports on your website’s performance, highlighting areas that need improvement. They also offer a unique grading system from A-F. You want to aim for at least a B if you can.

gtmetrix pagespeed A grade for the lead source

Pagespeed Insights, powered by Google, evaluates your site’s speed on both mobile and desktop platforms, offering tailored suggestions to enhance your website’s loading time. What’s great about Pagespeed Insights is the colour grading of green, orange, red. This easily highlights which platform your website is suffering most on.

If you’re unsure on any of the suggestions or fixes, speak to your developer, or contact us.

Screenshot of pagespeed insights of the lead source wesbite

Ways to Speed Up Your Website with Image Optimisation

Photography websites are notorious for hosting numerous high-resolution images. As captivating as they are, these images can be major culprits behind slow loading speeds. Uploading your beautiful pictures in their highest quality sounds like a really good idea, but realistically, it’s damaging your website. 

To optimise your images effectively, consider two factors: format and size. 

JPEG is the ideal format for photographs, as it offers a balance between image quality and file size. 

Uploading images in their display dimensions (not larger) prevents the need for resizing during loading. Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’ve edited and exported the perfect picture.

It’s exported specs are as follows:

File type: JPEG
File size: 18.6MB
File dimensions: 4096 x 2304

Firstly, the file size is huge and will take the server too long to load for website users.
Secondly, the dimensions are larger than most 1920 width screens.

If you’re displaying said image as a full width across, perhaps as a background for a section, then reduce the dimensions down to 1920×1080 and re-export. This will also reduce the file size. 

What if the picture isn’t for a full width section and just used within content?

This is where things may get complicated. You’ll need to find out what size the image would be rendered at in the display area.

Here’s an example.

We have a picture of Rob here on our front page.
We can see the “Intrinsic size” of 600 x 800px.
The content area for the image is only
445 x 594px.

This shows us that the server needs to do a bit of resizing. Luckily not too much, not compared to 4096px down to 1920px.

Ideally we would export our image and upload at the 445x594px display dimensions.

You can find this info out by right clicking images on a webpage and selecting “Inspect” or “Inspect element”.

Don’t stress too much!

This sounds really tedious and pedantic and you really shouldn’t worry about getting sizes really accurate. Just hazard a guess – remember screens are 1920 in dimensions, so if your image is going to take up less than half the page, make sure it’s below 960px.
Less than a quarter of the page? 460px etc.

Got a wordpress website?

For those with WordPress sites, a plethora of plugins, such as Smush and Imagify, streamline image optimisation effortlessly. These plugins compress images without sacrificing visual quality, ensuring your website remains snappy without compromising on visual appeal.


The Significance of Caching for Your Photography Website

Caching is a critical technique that boosts your website’s speed by storing static versions of your pages. When a user visits your site again, the cached version is delivered swiftly instead of generating the page from scratch. 

This reduces server load and accelerates load times, contributing to an improved user experience. Fortunately, WordPress offers several caching plugins, such as W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache, to handle this process seamlessly.


The Impact of Web Hosting on Website Speed and SEO

Often overlooked, web hosting can significantly impact your website’s speed. Opting for a reputable and well-performing hosting provider ensures that your website has a solid foundation for fast loading times. 

Shared hosting, while economical, may hinder website speed due to resource-sharing among multiple sites. In contrast, dedicated hosting or managed WordPress hosting offers better performance, resulting in a faster and smoother user experience.


What have we learnt? 

A fast-loading website is not only vital for impressing your visitors but also plays a pivotal role in SEO success.

Monitoring your pagespeed using tools like GTMetrix and Pagespeed Insights helps identify areas for improvement.

With the heavy image content on photography websites, optimising images through appropriate formats and sizes is very important.

Make sure to utilise WordPress plugins for image compression to streamline the process.

Embracing caching and selecting a reliable web hosting provider complete the puzzle, resulting in a photography website that captivates users and soars in search engine rankings. So, don’t let a sluggish website hold back your photographic brilliance; speed it up and let your art shine!

If you’re concerned about your SEO, feel free pick our brains by emailing info@theleadsource.co.uk or using our contact form.