While many small businesses can get by solely on word of mouth, those looking to grow must learn to use the internet to their advantage. For many companies, reaching potential customers can be as simple as setting up a Facebook or Instagram account, but growing a business that can thrive in the digital sphere is not as easy as it seems.
In today’s digital world, having a website that can connect with those looking to purchase your product is essential for any business, large or small. Before diving into the various ways that businesses can market themselves online, let’s examine the most popular image file types and explain what sets them apart.
PNGs: The Defining Feature
If you recall, Google introduced their own image format, PNG (Portable Network Graphics), largely in response to JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) competing for web browser support. For those not in the know, PNGs are simply non-proprietary image files that can be opened and viewed in all major browsers without additional software. This makes them extremely versatile for use on the web. In fact, because of their versatility and embeddability, many designers use PNGs to create mockup images, wireframes, and prototypes prior to laying down some code.
An Industry-Standard Format
PNGs offer several advantages to businesses as a web image format. Let’s examine a few. First, PNGs are supported by major browsers, so any work that you do online will be accessible to all major browsers. This makes it significantly easier for your target audience to find and access your content. Additionally, because of their cross-browser compatibility, PNGs are ideal for digital and email marketing strategies. Since every major browser can understand them, there is no need to worry about whether or not your potential customers have a particular web browser, email client, or device they are using.
Create Content That Will Stay Up-to-Date
The great thing about the internet is that it is constantly evolving. Just as HTML and CSS were once cutting edge technologies, so too are PNGs and similar file types. Because of this, content that is created today will be viewable tomorrow, and perhaps even two or three years from now.
Openness To Future Developments
PNGs are developed and maintained by a wide community of open source developers. This means that anyone with the ability to contribute can do so, and new features can be added as needed. In addition, since PNGs are non-proprietary, anyone can view the specs and continue to develop new features as needed. This level of collaboration makes the entire image file format extremely flexible and open to continued improvement.
Easily Embed Into Layouts
In case you’re wondering, embedding is when a user clicks on a button or link that takes them to another page where they see ads and content related to what they were searching for. When used in conjunction with advertising, embedding is a legitimate way to generate revenue. However, when used in isolation, as in the case of a corporate website, embedding can often leads to the site being flagged as a suspicious activity by web browsers and security software because it is difficult to tell whether or not the content is actually related to the advertisements.
Because of their wide support among designers, developers, and users, PNGs offer additional advantages to businesses seeking to use them online. Let’s examine a few more. First, if you have used Photoshop or a similar photo editing application, you likely already know how easy it is to work with PNGs. The vast majority of image-editing software can open and save files in the PNG format, so it will be no great challenge to move your photos from one format to another. This makes importing and exporting much simpler tasks, saving you both time and effort.
While there are many advantages to PNGs, there are also a few disadvantages that you should be aware of. First, although they are supported by most browsers, they are not officially supported by Microsoft Internet Explorer. Also, since most browsers can understand them, it is possible for automated software to consume large files quickly, leaving little room for other tasks. This can cause performance problems for those using older computers or those with limited storage.
PNGs Vs JPEGs: What Is The Difference?
As you may have guessed, Google created PNGs to address some of the problems that the JPEG image format encountered. Still, there are some notable differences between the two formats. Let’s examine a few.
JPEGs Are Better For Smaller Files
JPEGs were originally designed to be a smaller, more efficient replacement for the now-obsolete TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) image format. Like TIFFs, JPEGs are uncompressed image files, allowing for larger images and more flexibility with regards to how they are displayed. This makes them ideal for online use where smaller file sizes are preferred due to constraints of bandwidth and storage.
Also, because they are a commonly used format for both professionals and consumers, JPEGs are supported by most major browsers, meaning that they will work on any device or platform. In addition, since they are widely supported, you are less likely to encounter issues with regard to file compatibility, as there will always be at least a few other files on the server that browsers can understand. This will cut down on the time you have to spend troubleshooting issues as they arise.
PNGs Are Better For Browsers
Since you read this article, it’s likely that you’re already aware of (or at least somewhat familiar with) the issues that JPEGs encounter on the web. Due to the fact that most browsers do not support the format well, it is often best to avoid using them on the web. This means that you should always consider using PNGs whenever possible.
Additionally, since most browsers can open and display PNGs, they offer greater security to those working online. Many browsers include several layers of security that must be cleared before anything can be viewed, making the process somewhat cumbersome for those not familiar with it. Still, the effort is worth it in the end, especially if you’re dealing with sensitive information that you don’t want prying eyes to see.
Bold, Contrasting Colors
One of the unique features of the PNG image format is that they allow for greater freedom of color. While JPEGs only support a few basic colors (red, green, and blue), PNGs allow for all colors to be used as long as they are not the same as the background color. This means that it is much easier to create contrasting colors with PNGs, as there is no need to worry about the colors looking washed out due to being on the same plane of vision as the background.
Also, since background colors are not a concern with regard to matching hues, it is much easier to create images with a high degree of contrast, providing greater visibility for messages and messages within images.
Although the PNG image format was largely created to provide a better alternative to the JPEG image format, it has turned out to be quite popular among designers and developers, as well as those who need to exchange large amounts of data online. This is largely due to the fact that most browsers support the file type, making it an ideal choice for web-based applications.
The advantages and disadvantages of each file type are largely dependent on what you are trying to accomplish. Still, due to their versatility and cross-platform compatibility, it is often a good idea to use and develop with PNGs whenever possible.