The way images are posted on the Agonist creates a huge load time for first time/occasional users. It’s bad for initial and repeat views and participation.
The speed at which a web page loads is directly related to the total size of the page in KBs. You can tell the size of the page by scrolling to a neutral part of the front page and left clicking. At the bottom, you will see, “Page Info”. Click on that and you ahe the page total. The Agonist front page is 116KB. Compare that to the front page of the Huffington Post 11:53 8/8/2012 at 57.31 KB. But tht’s not the wole story.
The Huffington Post as a bunch of images on it. They don’t register a size because they’re incorporated into the 57 KB total.
However, the Agonist has individual images totaling over 800 KB. That means that when Joe Average user hits the Agonist front page, there is a huge load time. That’s frustrating and lots of them will go away and stay away.
Sites like Agonist do not have Huff Post resources to produce a snazzy but very small (low KB) front page. They rely on posters to reduce image size when posting, thus keeping the total low.
The image sizes above are guaranteed to drag the site response time down for users, first time or occasional in particular.
There is an easy solution – Optimize your images and make a much better site
First, check your image size. Some of the images on Agonist are much larger than displayed. That accounts for part of the huge KB total for all images. Check the size of your image on your PC in inches. Reduce it to a reasonable size and save it as either a JPEG or GIF file. If you use PING or TIFF, you will create a huge KB size without any real benefit
After you do that, follow these steps to optimize your image – create the smallest file size.
Here’s the example we will use. It’s the picture for this article, Romney holding up an etch a sketch over his face. I ran the page info by left clicking on the image. It was 107 KB. You get this information by scrolling the cursor over the image, left clicking, and reviewing what is below. The relevant info is next to the arrow.
Here is how you reduce the file size.
(If this image had been sized before it was posted (3 x 2 or so) and saved as a .GIF file, it would have been 70% smaller than as posted.. Optimization would still be desirable but .)
=> Go to this site – Image Optimizer -
Then fill in this information on the very first page of the site. The instructions for using this free service are listed in four steps on the image. Once you do it a few times, it’s very easy.
When you are done filling in the image, click Optimize. You will then see the results:
So, the original image was 5.25 x 4.2″ but appeared smaller in the Agonist front page (who knows why, doesn’t matter). The image size was 105 KB. I downloaded, reduced it to 3.0 x 2.25″, and saved it as a .GIF file. That alone reduced it by 70%, down to 30 KB.
THEN I optimized it. and it’s now down to 14 KB, the same size but much less volume in KB and much less drag.
Think of how slow the site is with all those KB – 800 KB – slowing users down.
They will go away. Just by sizing the image to the real size as posted, using .GIF or JPEG, and optimizing the images on Image Optimizer, this picture went from 105KB to 15KB.
There may be other optimizers out there. If you find a better site, let me know. But this one is more than adequate.