Using up too much space on your website can be like overpacking your suitcase. When you try to cram more in there than you should, bad things happen. Maybe that souvenir you bought breaks or your toothpaste explodes all over everything, if you can even get it closed in the first place.
Problems can arise from overstuffing a website hosting account, too. If you fill it up, you won’t be able to add new files. If your email accounts are tied to your hosting you won’t be able to receive any new mail. I see this most often with visual artists and ecommerce sites, where people are constantly adding large images and videos to their site.
Saving space on your website can not only help issues like those from cropping up, but some of these tips can also help speed up load times on your website, which in turn leads to a better user experience and can even increase search engine ranking.
With all that in mind, here are a few tips on saving space on your website.
- Reduce your image sizes before you upload them. That photo you took was indeed amazing, but you don’t need it to be 5000 pixels wide on a website. You can use Photoshop, GIMP or many other image editing programs to resize your images before you upload them. I usually recommend setting the width to about 1200 pixels.
- Save for Web. In Photoshop, go to File > Save for Web. This reduces the file size (not the actual size of the image) by saving it at a lower resolution, as high res images aren’t needed on websites. It also strips out things like the metadata that aren’t needed in an online image.
- Don’t upload the same image multiple times. If you want to use the same image in different places, just link to the image you already uploaded. If you need it to be a different size, you can easily set the height and width in different instances.
- Don’t upload everything. Let’s say you’re a photographer who did a photoshoot of a family and you want to create an image gallery of the shoot to show off your work. You don’t need to upload every single image you shot. Pick the best ones and only use those. Not only does it save space, but it also creates a better user experience.
- Use plugins. If you’re using a WordPress site, two plugins I use on just about every site I build can help save space. WP Smush is designed to reduce file size even further when you upload images. The free version lets you bulk reduce 50 images at a time. (I’m running that for a client as I type this and have saved almost 35 MB with about 92.5% of the images still to go.)
Another one is W3 Total Cache. In addition to caching your site, which speeds it up anyway, it also minifies many files, which removes unnecessary characters and spaces from code.
- Clean out your email. Switching gears from on-site steps you can take, take a look at your email. Make sure to clean out your junk, sent and trash folders regularly. Don’t forget to look through your inbox from tie to time to get rid of emails there that you don’t need anymore.
Of course, if you’ve done all of that or just don’t feel like keeping up with it all, you could always just upgrade your hosting account.