How to Add Graphics to a Web Page
src="graphic file name">
One of the best ways to create an impact with your web page is to add some graphics. Graphics can add color, depth and sparkle to a web page and can serve to catch the eye and retain viewer interest. For these reasons, web page headings are often rendered as graphics since, like book covers, these are the first things a potential viewer sees when surfing the internet.
Graphics are placed on web pages using the
. Note that the
element is an empty
element, i.e. no content appears between the start and end tags, and hence
only requires a start tag. The 'content' is your graphic file, the name of which is used as a value in the
. The most fundamental syntax for rendering a graphic in a web page uses the
element with just the
is the full name (including file extension) of the graphic you wish to display.
, you can either use relative addressing
addressing. Relative addressing only requires the graphic file name as the value for the
attribute providing that the graphic resides in the same directory
as the HTML file it is intended to be loaded in. Absolute addressing uses the full URL
to the graphic as the
value thereby allowing you to place the graphic in any directory. Thus if the URL to your website is
and you keep your graphics in a directory called 'pics' then your source code would look like this:
is your Second Level Domain
is your graphic file name.
Similarly, if you were constructing a personal home page to be viewed offline
, you could specify paths to graphic files on your computer. For example:
Web graphics are generally served up in one of two formats: GIF or JPEG. Hence GIFs carry the .gif
file extension and JPEGs carry the .jpeg
Here are some more details:
- GIFs (short for Graphics Interchange Format) only support 256 colors hence they are best suited for simpler illustrations which don't require a fine gradation of colors. On the upside, GIFs retain their quality after data compression rendering a crisp, clean and reliable finished product. Two further advantages are that, unlike JPEGs, GIFs can be animated and GIFs can have their background colors rendered transparent such that the color of your web page will show through.
- JPEGs (short for Joint Photographic Experts Group) support 16 million colors and hence are much better suited for photographs and complex graphics employing a wide range of colors and gradations. JPEGs use what is known as a 'lossy' compression technique that reduces the quality of your image after compression depending on how much you compress it. When saving or converting your image to JPEG format, most graphic editors will offer a range of compression percentages to choose from. You will have to decide between greater compression and thus lower image quality or lesser compression and higher image quality.
Fast Loading Pages
The thing to keep in mind with both GIFs (especially animated GIFs) and JPEGs is that large file sizes can significantly increase the time it takes to load your web page. The typical web surfer is one of the most demanding individuals on the face of the earth and much discussion has been devoted to the subject of how long they are willing to wait to see a fully loaded web page. In fact, Google announced in April 2010 that how fast your website loads will be one of the factors used to decide how well your site ranks
in its search results pages.
You can use the Google Page Speed Online
tool to see how fast any web page loads and get a page speed score (according to Google). If you have images that need optimizing, it will be automatically listed as a clickable link reading 'Optimize Images' in the Details
section of the resulting page speed report. Clicking through on that link will give you exact details about which images on the web page need to optimized and by how much.
For instance, if you run the Iron Spider home page through the Page Speed tool
, you'll see I get a score of 91 (not too shabby!) although according to Google there is still room for improvement by optimizing three of the images used there to save 1.7KB in image file sizes. A trifling amount but, well, you get the picture (it's on my to-do list!)
So as you can see, keeping your graphics file sizes small by optimizing compression of your JPEGs and taking care when constructing animated GIFs keeps the total file size of your web page small and makes for quick loading pages. This means less viewers throwing their hands up in despair and running out the door screaming, "This is taking too long!!" and could even mean higher rankings for your page in Google search results.
You can take further steps to facilitate how browsers will load graphics on your web page by specifying your graphics' dimensions
. You can also specify an alternate text which will show in the event that the viewer's browser is set to not display graphics...