Optimizing images for your website or app has a lot of benefits. It can help speed up your website, could help you retain visitors, and can make your images load faster for visitors on slower internet connections.
More and more, people are using cloud-based APIs to power their apps and services. However, building incredible mobile apps and websites isn't only about coding. With APIs, developers also need to know how to implement them, and they need to know how to do it well. This guide will help developers optimize their images using cloud-based APIs that adhere to best practices and standards.
Importance Of Optimizing Images
Images are a key factor in the success of any content. They can be used for branding and marketing purposes. Images also help to engage your audience. They can convey a message, tell a story, or impact your reader.
Moreover, when it comes to eCommerce websites, they can dramatically increase the chances of a successful conversion. However, there is more to optimization than meets the eye.
Most images from modern cameras (smartphones and DSLRs) are extremely large. This is obviously an excellent benefit for editing as you have copious amounts of data to play around with. However, when it comes to using them for websites or applications, these larger sizes can pose a serious issue. Large image file sizes slow down websites because they require more resources from the server to process them.
That means that your webpage can take up more time in loading and may not be as responsive as it should be. According to a study published by none other than Amazon, adding 100ms to page load time costs 1% in revenue. This can add up to a significant amount, and this takes into account that people know and trust the Amazon brand. If you operate a small eCommerce site, your lost revenue may exceed 1%. When it comes to size, there are two factors at play:
- Dimensions:Image dimensions are the width and height of an image. The larger the size, the higher the file size will be. For example, if you have a photo of 5000 pixels by 2000 pixels, the total pixel count will be 10,000,000 pixels. This is complete overkill for most applications and results in slower and unresponsive websites.
- Quality: Similar to how the dimensions dictate pixel density, so will quality. For example, if you reduce the image size to 2000 pixels by 500 pixels, you still have 1,000,000 pixels to load. However, you can reduce this further by performing some kind of compression on the image. Image Compression is a process that reduces the size of an image file by removing or replacing less essential parts of a digital image.
Image metadata includes information such as title, description, tags, and keywords and can help you to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Image metadata is essential for SEO because it provides the search engines with more information about the image that they can use to rank it in their search results.
It also helps you build relationships with your audience by providing them with a lot of context about your images. This is vital if you have gone to the effort of having a professional image created for your products and want the photos to rank to provide you with additional organic traffic.
Image caching is a simple but effective way to reduce bandwidth usage and increase performance. It can also be used to reduce server load or improve page load time.
Caching is also an essential part of website optimization and SEO strategies. You can do this by using plugins or other software on your existing website.
Content Delivery Network
Content delivery networks (CDNs) are systems of distributed servers that are used to deliver web content. CDNs can help reduce the load on the origin server, improve performance, and provide redundant copies of the content.
Many companies use content delivery networks to optimize their websites for speed and scalability. Essentially, a CDN stores a copy of your images (or other content) in various locations worldwide, making it faster for people in different countries to access the data.
While all of this sounds great, what does it mean in practice, and how can you optimize your images if you have a large number? One way is to use an image upload API to perform most of the optimization tasks mentioned. But to understand what these are, you first need to understand what an API is.
What Is An API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. An API is a set of rules, procedures, and routines designed to make your life easier. The most common use case for an API is the automation of tasks. For example, you can use an API to automate the process of sending out mass emails to new customers or automatically create content for social media pages.
Or, in keeping with the topic of this article, you can use them to perform numerous image optimization tasks on your images to get them ready to use in your website or application.
Why Are They So Useful?
As the internet becomes more and more accessible, APIs are becoming a necessity for many businesses. They allow for flexibility and scalability in terms of data collection and dissemination, which is crucial in today's digital world. APIs are used to connect different software and platforms, enabling different software to communicate with each other seamlessly.
APIs have become extremely popular in recent years due to the increasing demand for automated services that reduce the effort required for bulk processing. APIs are useful because they allow users to quickly and easily perform specific tasks without spending time coding or dealing with complex programming languages like Java or Python.
What Is A Cloud-Based Image Optimization Service?
Cloud-based image optimization services are a type of service that allows users to upload their images and receive a finished product in return. Cloud-based image optimization services have become popular, especially for small businesses with limited resources. These services typically use artificial intelligence and machine learning to get the desired results.
Advantages Of Using The Cloud
A cloud-based service offers a variety of features that make it more efficient than manual image optimization. These features include automatic detection of optimal image size for the platform, optimized image compression, and automatic image optimization based on file type. They are also more secure than manual optimization because they are hosted in the cloud and not on your computer or device.
This means that your data will be safe from malware or other threats when you upload your images for processing with this service. They also enable you to enhance images on the fly, increasing efficiency and reducing human error. They are also instrumental if you allow users to upload their own photos to your site or app for the following reasons:
- User interaction is increased since they don't need to do anything.
- You have access to data to analyze how the images are optimized and used.
- Some will allow you to store pictures on the cloud, dramatically reducing hosting and storage costs.
- Many cloud optimization services will perform caching and store photos on their own CDN.
This service really shines if you have hundreds or even thousands of images that need to be bulk processed. By plugging the API code into your website, the actions will be performed automatically.
How Do You Use An API?
Different APIs are available, including REST APIs, SOAP APIs, and GraphQL APIs. The most common type is REST API, which many applications use to retrieve data from servers or servers. The process usually starts with finding the appropriate API for your project, then building an application around it, followed by testing the application on a local machine before pushing it live.
You usually get different codes used for different parts of the process, then install the code on your website or application. For image processing, you might have to upload a package manager and then create a button on your site that links everything together once clicked. The best services will also provide protection against overuse or attacks like a DDOS attack.
Traditional Methods Of Image Optimization
In the past, you were limited to manual processes to optimize your images. This takes time and can be incredibly inefficient if you rely on user uploads or have many files to process.
Image Editing Software
Most image software like PhotoShop or Lightroom allows you to alter the size and quality. This still takes an inordinate amount of time and precludes users from uploading optimized images even with bulk processing features.
There is a raft of online services that allow you to upload images to the cloud and have them processed. However, they have the same problems as stand-alone software: they do not allow user uploads, allow only a limited number of uploads at a time, and are still manual.
Image optimization is vital for your website because it can save you bandwidth and resources from processing large images. In addition, it can reduce loading times, which can improve visitors' overall experience. Fortunately, optimizing images can be a painful process; but thanks to the availability of image APIs, this process has become easier than ever.