People who search for information on their mobiles are impatient, eager to get their information quickly and go.
That’s why having a fast loading website is important, and more precisely, optimized images on your web pages.
If your home page is a hefty 3 megabytes due to un-optimized images, it’s going to cause people to leave before they get to see your site.
- Un-optimized images are often the culprits behind slow websites.
- Most images can be “shrunk” while retaining most of the quality.
- Simple free software and WordPress plugins can easily reduce image file size.
- Site load time and site speed can be increased with “Lazy Loading”, available in WP plugins widely – and free.
Easy and Powerful Solutions
Regardless of the image type you use — JPEG, GIF or PNG — it’s vital to keep an eye on file size when you upload many images into your posts.
If you’re concerned about bounce rates, take a look at image size.
If you’re wondering why people don’t like browsing your site, perhaps there’s an image that takes too long to load.
Images are powerful ways to communicate on a website, but they also require an attentive administrator who will run them through optimization before upload.
Are you up to the task?
Here are 3 ways to optimize images for a faster website:
Automated Optimization Using Plugins
WordPress doesn’t come with an image ‘reducer’ or optimizer.
Thankfully, there are a slew of image reducers available on the WP plugin marketplace, but the most user friendly are those that don’t require a subscription, and actually reduce image sizes.
We will only make one recommendation here because the others we have tried didn’t do the job, or cost too much for a simple process.
1. WP Smushit – FREE!
After installing the plugin using your WordPress console, click Media > WP Smush.
Then scroll to the bottom of the screen that populates, under “Smush in Bulk” and click Bulk Smush to shrink your images.
When you go to upload new images in the future using WordPress’ media uploader, WP Smushit will automatically shrink them for you, saving valuable memory – both on the server and user side. You will see the difference in site speed and site load time after installing this plugin.
Best of all, it is automatic and you won’t have to spend more time on yet another website administration issue.
2. Compress JPEG & PNG images – FREE!
JPEG and PNG dominate the web. Unlike GIF, JPEG affords you more colors. PNG format is superior in that it is lossless, unlike JPEG. Regardless of which you prefer for your website and purposes, it’s still critical to observe file size and compression quality. The TinyPNG plugin “Compress JPEG & PNG images” is a free and automatic way to process your PNG and JPEG files in WordPress.
This tool is based off the web-based TinyPNG service.
2. Manual Image Optimization
Sometimes manually optimizing images is best. For such situations, we use the Image optimizer. But it comes at a cost if you are using the free version: it applies a watermark.
If $45.67 is a good enough price for you to be able to instantly optimize hundreds of images effectively, the Image Optimizer is a fast and efficient tool for that.
Image Optimizer – Free Watermarking-Version and $45.67 for Full Version
Optimizilla – Free! Online Only
The free alternative is the online-only manual image optimizer, Optimizilla. We like the little dino.
Whether you have just one image per post to reduce or twenty, it’s important to minimize the load time of your site by checking your image file sizes. Here’s how:
As you can see above, WP Smush has already automatically reduced this image upon upload. Right beneath the thumbnail preview of the image, WordPress shows us the date it was uploaded, then the file size (109kb) and dimensions. Using 10 images with this file size will stack up against site speed.
Is there a limit to how many images I should use in each post?
Although it may seem like we have to stop using big images (high quality, big sizes) to prevent site speed problems, there are ways around the limitation imposed on us by browsers, servers, personal computers and mobile devices.
One way to prevent problems with site speed and load times is to use some type of lazy load function.
This WordPress plugin provides image reduction and lazy loading, a procedure by which images are loaded only when they appear in the viewing area of the user.
So if an image is off-screen somewhere, the website isn’t bogged down by having to load it when its not even being viewed!
- Optimize Image File
- Lazy Load
- Limit Image Size (Dimensions) – This feature is somewhat redundant as WordPress already contains this feature.
While getting information on the go has its limitations in 2015, such as bandwidth and processing limitations – there are a lot of free solutions to reducing image size that will make your visitor’s browsing experience better.
If you’re not sure if your site is slow, here is a tool you can make use of immediately – Pingdom’s Site Load evaluation tool. It’s free.
Once you see that your site is over 3 seconds, you can break down into detail what slowed down your website for Pingdom. Chances are, it is images, lack of gzip compression or codes that need to be joined together for more efficient loading.
You can learn about those issues as they come up. For now, focus on images.
Do your images need to be reduced?
All image reducers, “image optimizers” and “image shrinkers” mentioned above.
WP Smushit Plugin – free WordPress plugin
WP Optimize Plugin – free WordPress plugin
Compress JPEG & PNG Plugin – free WordPress plugin
TinyPNG – Web only
Optimizilla – Web only
Image Optimizer – Free version with watermarking, $46 paid version