how to know the differences between image file types

how to know the differences between image file types
one little tip I picked up fairly late on in my blogging adventures was knowing which file type to use when I saved an image for my blog.  it affects the sharpness and resolution of any given file.  here is a simple break down of the difference between the file types so that you know which one to use and when:

  • GIF – these file types are perfect for graphics, logos and simpler non-photo artwork as it reduces the size of the image, but only pulls through 256 colours (it will automatically distill your image to fit those colours too upon saving). GIF files allow transparency too, so you can place it over another image easily if you are working on a design or use a coloured background.
  • JPEG – this is the most popular file type for digital cameras and consumer driven artwork.  it was created to allow people to share images easily without needing huge amounts of memory. the downside is that uses ‘lossy compression’ (yes that is a word) to do this, decreasing the quality of the photo. also remember that repeatedly editing and re-saving a jpeg file downgrades the quality each time.
  • PNG – a png file is the best file type to use when you are combined flat text/imagery and a photo together as it compresses them together better than other formats. it is a comparatively ‘lossless’ type too, so your file will save exactly as you see it. if in real doubt, probably PNG it.

sometimes it is best to keep images large, in which case using online cloud carriers like Dropbox and We Transfer are your best bet and can be used for free. Kira at Her New Leaf wrote a great post last year to help you decide which file type to use when and where. have a read here.

NB – please, please don’t forget to save your image with a useful title for site rankings to.  a bug bear of many is when somebody keeps the camera upload name (DCS001, etc) as the name of the file when you upload it to your site. this is pointless for search engine rankings, where as if you call it something relevant (ie; black coat topshop summer 2012 or, st martins lane hotel review london) you are far more likely to gain traffic through people searching for both images and whatever it is you are blogging about.

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2 responses to “how to know the differences between image file types

  1. Question r.e. image names – do you mean to save the file name when you’re actually uploading the image to your computer, or as you upload it to wordpress, etc.? I save my file names as relevant search terms when I upload to wordpress, but am I supposed to do it before this stage? Sorry if this is really obvious!

    • No worries at all. Yes, save the file name when you upload/download from the web. That’s what Google images uses to filter/search for content rather than WordPress’ platform.

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