Importance of File Size
In the preceding chapter, you learned several methods of producing professional-looking images in print. These techniques, geared toward producing high-resolution images, often result in large files. You cannot use the same files on your Web site that you processed for print. The Internet is a low-resolution medium geared toward an audience with little tolerance for long download times.
The standard resolution for Internet images is 72 ppi. Since each pixel your monitor displays is able to produce 256 shades of gray and over 16 million different colors, a low-resolution image still looks very good on a monitor. You can post images at a higher resolution (which increases the file size), but there will be very little perceivable improvement in quality.
Naturally, the larger the file size, the longer it takes for your readers' computers to download the file. And many valued members of your audience may still be using older, less advanced technology that will make the process slower yet. Decreasing the resolution of your images will enable your Web site to load faster for your readers.
The smaller your file sizes, the less bandwidth your site uses. This is significant if the company that hosts your Web site charges you for the bandwidth your site uses. Bandwidth costs can quickly devour a Webcomic's profits.
To understand bandwidth, think back to the information superhighway metaphor. Bandwidth is the amount of space your files take up on the road. If your site uses small compact car–sized files, you're using relatively little bandwidth. If your site is constructed with huge tractor trailer–sized files, though, you will require more room on the road.
Moreover, your bandwidth is not calculated solely by the size of the files being stored on your Web host's computers. Your bandwidth accumulates each time those files are delivered to another computer. In other words, every time a reader accesses your site, all of the files that get sent to her computer to create your Web site get counted as part of your bandwidth. If your file sizes are large, your site's bandwidth accumulates more quickly.
Scott Kurtz, creator of the daily comic strip Player Vs. Player, has written a very good account of how bandwidth costs can impact a Webcartoonist. His essay titled “Can Success Kill Your Webcomic?” is found online at