The importance of images on a website/blog can never be understated. It helps you convey the message effectively (a picture is worth a thousand words) and gives the reader a visual break from the monotonous text (especially in blogs). With better camera-phones and high-resolution digital and SLR cameras making their way into people’s lives, websites cannot afford to upload a low-resolution image on the site. However, images also tend to increase the page load time which is a cause for concern since people expect websites to load within no time. Image optimization is a technique using which you can offer high-quality images on your site in the minimum possible size ensuring faster load time for pages.
The process of image optimization can be divided into three broad steps:
- Choose the right dimensions for the image by viewing it at 100%.
- Utilize the option of saving an image for the web. This is provided by most image editing software programs.
- Remove unnecessary data like additional color profiles, metadata, etc. and compress the images.
In WordPress, there are hundreds of plugins and tools to help you optimize images. Today, we will look at the best tools for your WP site:
Developed by WPMU DEV, WP Smush is a free and powerful WordPress image compressor which helps you optimize your images. The plugin scans all the images on your website and scales it before adding it to the media library. It uses advanced lossless compression techniques and the free version allows compression of images up to 1MB. To increase the image size allowed for compression and avail a host of other benefits, you can opt for the premium version, WP Smush Pro starting at $49 per month for unlimited websites.
EWWW Image Optimizer
The EWWW Image Optimizer is a free image optimization plugin. The images are optimized within your server and not transferred to a third-party website. This means that optimization takes less time and it can be extremely useful when tackling huge media libraries. For those who don’t have the permission to execute files on the server, the plugin offers cloud tech optimization too. There is no limit on the file size and the images optimized are visually lossless.
With the Imsanity plugin, you can configure the maximum height, width, and quality of an image on your website. If any uploaded image exceeds these specifications, then the plugin automatically scales it down. If there are any images that you don’t want to resize, then you can add ‘-noresize’ to the filename and the plugin will leave it uncompressed.
Imagify Image Optimizer
The Imagify Image Optimizer plugin offers three levels of compression:
- Normal – no quality loss
- Aggressive – tiny, but unnoticeable loss of quality
- Ultra – strongest compression method using a lossy algorithm.
The plugin also offers a backup option wherein you can restore the images to their original version whenever you want. The free version allows you to compress around 25MB of images (~250 images) per month. They also have paid versions with additional features.
While image optimization can help you improve the speed of your website, another element that you should focus on is the type of hosting used by you. WordPress hosting plans offer a hosting environment compatible with WordPress enabling improved performance of the site. Further, these plans also manage other tasks like optimizing the WP-database, automatic updates of the core, plugins/themes, etc. All these contribute to a better site speed.
These were some plugins that we thought could help you optimize images of your WordPress website. Have you used any of these plugins before? If yes, then do drop a comment and share your experience with us. Do you know of a better plugin than the ones mentioned above? Please feel free to share them as well.