Website performance - namely the ability of a website to load quickly - is crucial for many reasons. Here are the two most important ones, related as they are:
1. User experience
Firstly, a new visitor to your website will not wait around for the page to load. They will simply leave, and not come back.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Secondly, Google, and other search engines do not like slow websites, mainly for the first reason.
After all, search engines are in the business of ranking websites based on whether it is worth visiting them, so they will give slow loading websites a poor rank, meaning the website will not appear near the top of search results.
Website speed is the top ranking factor. Think of it this way: in an extreme example, a website that is so slow as to not load at all may as well not exist, in which case why should a search engine even list it?
Let's do it..
This section will be expanded-on shortly. For now, here are the main tips in brief:
- Photos - pictures of people and things - should be in jpg format.
- Logos and vector graphics ie. images with hard edges should be in png format.
- Ideally run images through ImageOptim.
I always install a size-limiting plugin called Imsanity (as in Image Insanity) which automatically limits the maximum image size based on your website requirements. This prevents you accidentally overloading the website by uploading a huge image.