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One of the best and effective methods of improving web site page load times is image compression. I use some freeware utilities to achieve this which I thought I’d share. So far I haven’t found anything better.

Trout’s GIF Optimizer
This is for GIF’s and makes, initially, non noticeable compression changes. However, the true power is using the “Color Reduction” facility. Often you can reduce the number of colours used, bringing in a compression of 50% of more.

JPG Cleaner
This is a little more specialist but it useful just to run a folder of JPEG’s through. This, basically, removes any invisible tagging information that may have been attached to a JPEG by products such as Photoshop. It’s the less useful of the 3 listed here but still, as a freebie, useful to have in your “armoury”!

Meantime, away from images compression I’d finally like to recommend a few more freeware image products which I find essential for web development:

Pixie
This displays a little window on the screen which gives you the current colour under the pointer and even displays it’s RGB and HTML values. Press a key combination to copy this information to the clipboard for pasting directly into a stylesheet.

JR Screen Ruler
It’s a ruler. On the screen. Flip it from horizontal to vertical – display in CM’s, inches, pixels, whatever. There are various screen rulers available but I’ve found this to be the best.

Scott’s Box Shot Maker
This will create a 3D image of a box or book with your images on – if you sell software or ebooks from your site this is a great way to create a virtual product image.