Image Optimization for WordPress: Solutions and Results
Visuals are great and visitors like to interact with them. No wonder why photo sharing platforms like Instagram are that popular nowadays. The reason is simple and straightforward. People like images as they convey more through less. We’re more likely to check out a post if it’s supported by images rather than the one which has only plain text. Similarly, web publishers and bloggers aim to include good quality relevant imagery to their published posts to ensure clicks, larger number of page views and shares.
Relevant images will also help you get better search engine rankings, and bring you more credibility. However, there is also a downside with going overboard with high resolution photos and images. Heavy images can affect the overall performance of your website and sabotage your search engine rankings.
High resolution images of large sizes can drastically affect your site’s loading speed. The larger the image size the longer it will take to load the page and as a result slow down your site’s performance.
The slower the page loading the higher the bounce rate. Surveys and analytics show that visitors are likely to close the page or push the “back” button after only 4 seconds if the page loading is not fast.
Slow site performance,of course, affects overall user experience on your website. Slow site speed can frustrate your visitors and is likely to affect the number of returning visitors. Who wants to go back to a website that took ages to load , right?
But just because large images can affect your site performance, does not mean you can’t afford having quality images on your site. Image optimization is the way to have lots of quality images on your site and still have a fast loading website. It basically involves adjusting your site images to the right format, dimensions, resolution, and quality that will yield the smallest possible file size while also ensure that the resulting image is appropriate for the specific content, the overall page design, the requesting device, and the expectations of your site visitors. The benefits of image optimization are many and those include:
- Faster loading speed
- Higher speed score on Google Page speed
- Better search engine rankings
- Lower bounce rate
- Less storage space on your servers
As you can see benefits of image optimization are many and pretty important if you aim for better rankings and more search engine visibility. So let’s find out what are the best optimization solutions available for WordPress users and which one you should go with.
There are basically two major ways to optimize images on a website, either manually or automatically with a use of an optimization service, i.e. with a plugin.
To be able to do image optimization manually you’ll need to have a basic knowledge about image formats. Here are three of the most widely used image formats on the web
- JPEG – use for photos and other images with millions of colors.
- PNG – use for images with transparent backgrounds
- GIF – best for animated GIFs
Also you’ll need to know the difference of lossy and lossless compression to be able to pick the right type of the compression. Lossy compression is best for JPEG images, since it helps you significantly reduce the image size, but the quality of the image may suffer as well. Lossless compression is best used for PNG and GIF files,where the compressed image will be heavier but the image data will be kept intact. Basically you have no quality loss.
There are literally hundreds of ways you can compress images to your needs.
Image optimization on WordPress
Image optimization on WordPress generally involves two categories: resizing image dimensions to avoid wasted pixels and compressing images to reduce their file size.
As a WordPress user you have a couple of options to optimize you images. You can either manually resize and compress the images and upload them on your website afterwards, or you can you can resize images directly in your WordPress media library after you upload them.
Depending on the theme that you use on your website WordPress will generate different versions of images you upload with different file sizes and dimensions. There are generally 3 predefined image sizes: thumbnail, medium and large.Each type has its own dimensions.
The advantage of manual image compression is that you have more control over the images and photos you upload on your site, but a major drawback is that it’s pretty time consuming.
This much for the manual image compression, now let’s get to the automatic compression which is mainly done with the help of plugins. This options is best for the users who don’t want to spend tons of time on cropping and resizing images but would rather have it done automatically.
You can automatize image compression on your WordPress website with the help of plugins. There is a number of plugins available for the WordPress users that will help you automatically resize and compress the images you upload on your website. However some degree of consideration is required when you decide to go with a plugin.There are lots of plugins out there, that come in different prices and quality. Some of them are affordable and doing a really great job and others will make almost no difference and some will even destroy your images and make them useless.
If you’re looking for an affordable and reliable image optimization solution for your WordPress powered website, 10Web offers a good deal for you. Its image optimization service will help you automatically resize, compress and optimize images on your website without any harm to the quality. It provides a lot of flexibility letting you chose the compression type, optimization quality and schedule that’s best for your website. It provides for automatic optimization,meaning that you can set schedules to optimize newly uploaded images on hourly basis and once or twice a day. You can choose to bulk optimize your images and easily convert your files from one format to another.
The plugin will give you detailed optimization reports on the compression results , where you can view overall optimization stats. One good thing about 10Web is that it provides a complete solution for running and managing fully functional WordPress powered website, and if you get the image optimization service you’ll get a bunch of other quality plugins,including backup and SEO. The service is super affordable and has a 14-day trial period, which you can give a try with and cancel anytime.
Image optimization with a plugin is obviously faster and comes with many handy features and also optimization stats and results.
If done right image optimization will bring not one but many benefits to your website, resulting in better site performance, better SEO ranks and visitor satisfaction. It’s up to you to decide which optimization option you choose to go with depending on the time availability and your needs.
Gayane Mar is the founder of WPCapitan.com, a WordPress enthusiast and blogger. She is a contributing author to a plenty of well known websites and blogs and enjoys sharing her experience and expertise to help people around on web.