James Carr

The WebP image format has been around since 2010, but browsers have only recently started to support it.

The WebP format, developed by Google, allows you to take advantage of the same benefits that make the SVG image format so appealing, without sacrificing the key factors that affect your website’s performance and accessibility.

Here’s why you should be using WebP images on your website to create a faster, more accessible experience for everyone who visits your site.

What is WebP and how can it improve website performance?

WebP is an image format that provides superior lossless and lossy compression for images on web pages. Using both VP8 and VP9 (video compression formats) as its foundation, it can save developers up to 40% in size while maintaining quality.

While it’s not fully supported by all browsers yet, most new browsers already support it.

There are two main instances where you might want to consider switching to WebP images:

  • If your site contains lots of large imagery, then conversion to smaller file sizes will lead to faster load times, ultimately improving user experience.
  • If you have users on mobile devices who may not have fast internet speeds at their locations, converting larger files into smaller ones will make the content display much quicker than if they were left at full size.

How can you convert your photos to WebP?

Converting photos to WebP is easy! All you need is an image editor that supports exporting and converting in a ‘webp’ format. Then simply go into the export options, choose WebP as the file type, and then simply save/apply your changes.

Alternatively, if you’re running a WordPress site, you can take advantage of several plugins which offer native conversion. This means you can upload images to your site in any format and know that they’ll be converted to WebP automatically. The plugins you might want to consider are:

Should everyone convert their photos to WebP?

What’s clear is that anyone with an image-heavy site would benefit from using WebP, and Google has published some test results showing how much of a difference it can make.

Pages loaded with WebP-encoded images were 40% lighter than those with JPEGs and took less time to load. Since visitors see web pages before they reach them—in their browser’s address bar or in search results, for example—speedier sites get more views.

Which browsers support WebP?

Google developers have suggested that the following browsers currently offer WebP support (of various levels), but this list may change as the use of WebP images becomes more common.

WebP lossy support

  • Google Chrome (desktop) 17+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 11.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.0+ (ICS)

WebP lossy, lossless & alpha support

  • Google Chrome (desktop) 23+
  • Google Chrome for Android version 25+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 12.10+
  • Native web browser, Android 4.2+ (JB-MR1)
  • Pale Moon 26+

WebP Animation support

  • Google Chrome (desktop and Android) 32+
  • Microsoft Edge 18+
  • Firefox 65+
  • Opera 19+

Need some help?

Site speed and user experience are vital aspects of SEO, but we appreciate that knowing where to start (or having the time to even get started) can be difficult.

If you think that your business could benefit by serving up a faster website to your users, get in touch with us today on 0845 485 1853 to find out how our SEO specialists can help.

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