The Ultimate Guide to Image Optimization for WordPress


The Ultimate Guide to Image Optimization for WordPress
The Ultimate Guide to Image Optimization for WordPress

Whenever starting a new blog, many beginners simply upload the original images without any processing. These larger image files can make the page load slower, and you can solve this problem by optimizing the images.

In this post, we will show how to optimize images for faster web performance without losing quality. In addition, we will also share the best WordPress automatic image optimization plugins in order to make your website building process easier.

What is Image Optimization

Image optimization is a process of saving and delivering images with minimal file size without degrading the overall quality. This process may sound complicated, but in reality, it is now very easy to implement. Many plug-ins and tools are able to automatically compress image sizes by up to 80% without significant loss of quality.

Image source Depositphotos

In short, image optimization works using techniques such as Lossy (lossy data compression) and Lossless (lossless data compression) that help reduce the overall size of the file with almost imperceptible quality loss. If you have ever received image optimization recommendations from WordPress hosting support or speed testing tools, this will mean that you need to reduce the image file size.

Why image optimization is important

Optimizing images can bring many benefits, the following are the most important ones.

  1. Faster page loading
  2. Improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings
  3. More sales, higher customer conversion rates
  4. Less storage and bandwidth, helping to reduce hosting and content delivery network (CDN) costs
  5. Shorter site backup times, which can reduce backup storage costs
  6. Next to video, images are the most important item on a web page, accounting for an average of 21% of the overall web page volume, according to a study by HTTP Archive. In addition, fast-loading web pages rank higher in search results and have better conversion rates, so image optimization is a must for any individual or business that wants to achieve online success.
  7. Now, you may be wondering how much image optimization can really help?
  8. According to a study by Strangeloop, every 1 second delay in website loading time can result in 7% lost sales, 11% fewer page views, and 16% less customer satisfaction. If these numbers aren't enough to get you to take action, you should know that search engines like Google also offer priority SEO treatment for fast-loading pages. This means that by optimizing web images, you can both speed up your website and improve your search result rankings.

How to optimize images

To achieve the best web performance, you need to find the perfect balance between minimum document size and acceptable image quality. Three factors are most noteworthy in the image optimization process.

  1. File formats (JPEG, PNG, GIF)
  2. Compression (higher compression ratio = smaller document size)
  3. Image size (height and width)
  4. By choosing the right combination of all three, you can reduce document size by up to 80%.
  5. File format

For most websites, there are only three image file formats to focus on: JPEG, PNG and GIF. Choosing the right file type is crucial for image optimization. Simply put, you should use JPEG for photos or colorful images, PNG for simple images or when transparency is needed, and GIF for animated images.

  1. PNG format is uncompressed, which means it is the highest quality image, but has the disadvantage that the document is usually large.
  2. JPEG is a compressed file format, which slightly reduces the quality of the image to provide a significantly smaller document.
  3. GIF uses only 256 colors and lossless compression, which makes it the best choice for animated images.
  4. Compression

Image compression comes in different types and levels, and each setting will vary depending on the compression tool you use, but most image editing tools (e.g. Photoshop, Skylum Luminar, Capture One, GIMP, Affinity Photo, etc.) have built-in compression capabilities. Alternatively, you can save the image normally and then use a web-based tool (such as TinyPNG or JPEG Mini) to simplify the compression process.

Although a bit tedious, both of these methods allow you to compress your images before uploading them to WordPress. There are also popular image optimization plugins such as Optimole, EWWW Image Optimizer, and a few other options that automatically compress images as they are uploaded, and many beginners and even large companies prefer to use such plugins because they are both simple and convenient.

  1. Size

Typically, when importing photos from a smartphone or digital camera, they have a high resolution and large file size that is great for printing or desktop publishing, but not for online sites.

Resizing image files to a more reasonable size can significantly reduce file size, and you can do this simply by using image editing software. For example, for an original photo with 300 DPI resolution, 4900 x 3200 pixels, and 1.8 MB size, we chose to output in JPEG format for higher compression and changed the size to 1200 x 795 pixels, which reduces the file size to 103 KB, 94% lower than the original file.

The best image optimization tools

As mentioned before, most image editing software comes with optimization and compression features, and we recommend that you use these tools to optimize your images before uploading them to WordPress, especially if you (like us) are perfectionists. This method will help you save disk space on your WordPress hosting account and will guarantee the fastest speed and best quality since you view each image manually.

  1. Adobe Photoshop: an advanced image processing software that allows you to save images optimized for the web. You can set different file formats and, for JPEG format, you can also choose different quality options.
  2. GIMP: an open source alternative to Photoshop for optimizing web images, with the disadvantage that it is more difficult to use.
  3. TinyPNG: Free web application that uses intelligent lossy compression to reduce the size of PNG files, and its sister site TinyJPG focuses on JPEG image compression. For developers, they have an API to automatically convert images, and for beginners, they have a WordPress plugin to automatically optimize for you.
  4. JPEGMini: uses lossless compression technology that can significantly reduce document size without affecting the perceived quality of the image. You can use the web version for free, or purchase the desktop program. They also have a paid API that automatically performs server-side optimizations for you.
  5. ImageOptim: This is a macOS utility that compresses images by finding the best compression parameters and removing unnecessary color profiles without losing quality. the Windows alternative is Trimage.

The best WordPress image optimization plugins

We believe that the best way to optimize images is to do it before uploading them to WordPress, but if you run a multi-author website or need an automated solution, then try using the best image compression plugins at

  1. Optimole: a popular plugin developed by the team behind ThemeIsle
  2. EWWW Image Optimizer
  3. Compress JPEG & PNG images: the TinyPNG plugin mentioned above
  4. Imagify: a plugin provided by the well-known WP Rocket team
  5. ShortPixel Image Optimizer

Summary

If you haven't already compressed your images for web optimization, you need to take immediate action. This will have a huge impact on the speed of your site, not to mention that a faster site is better for SEO and you may find that search results rank better as well.

In addition to image optimization, using caching plugins and content delivery network (CDN) services can also significantly speed up page loading. In addition, you can also use WordPress dedicated hosting services, as they usually offer both caching and CDN and make them part of the platform.

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Conclusion

The only question is, which side are you going to pick?

Let me know in the comments.

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