Without images, most sites will look like a massive wall of text. High-quality images are very important to attract the attention of visitors. They will dilute the content and make it easier to read and understand. Not to mention the extra traffic from image searches. But in order to have all these benefits, images must first of all be properly optimized.
Most WordPress site owners end up loading images that are not optimized for web, which can cause more harm than good.
Below we will tell you why you should definitely do image optimization and explore five ways to complete the WordPress image optimization procedure.
Why WordPress image optimization is so important
Non-optimized images on the site will result in incredibly slow download speeds and bandwidth. Images can take up a lot of disk space, and most of them may be unnecessary.
Here are some top reasons to optimize your images.
Your site will load faster
Slow loading of the site does not allow users to interact with it normally. This leads to the reluctance of users to be on such a site and quickly leave it. You cannot expect your visitors to stay and wait for your images to load.
Your site will take up less server space
Usually, you cannot influence the disk space limits provided by your hosting provider.
But, if you reduce the size of your site, it will certainly have a good effect on the speed of its work.
You can reduce the sprawl on your site and make it leaner and more efficient. Plus, reduce your server cost if you pay for storage.
Your search engine rankings will improve
Google and other search engines don”t like slow sites.
By optimizing your images, you will increase your productivity and therefore your rankings.
With optimized images, Google will index and rank them much faster, which will give a great boost in traffic.
Optimizing your images doesn”t have to be difficult or time consuming and can be a regular activity for you. Unoptimized images can be bad for your website”s success.
Below, we”ll show you how you can optimize your WordPress images to maintain quality and not sacrifice performance.
5 Ways to Optimize WordPress Images
Your goal in optimizing images on your website is to reduce file size without compromising image quality. There is no perfect way to optimize, but you can find a balance instead.
There are many approaches you can take to optimize your images. You can even link multiple together to achieve the smallest possible file size.
Read on to find out five different techniques you can easily apply to optimize images for the web.
1. Choosing the correct file format
Before starting the optimization, make sure that you have selected the correct file format (extension). The correct file format will affect the file size and the ability to optimize it.
The two most common formats are JPEG and PNG.
JPEGs are usually used for photographs and pictures in general for the following reason:
- comparatively smaller
- uniform image quality,
- the ability to resize or compress without loss of quality.
PNG files are used for vector images, logos, screenshots, and smaller images. Since they are larger in file size, you probably won”t want to use them often.
Besides PNG and JPEG, you can find many more file types. But they are not recommended for web use.
There are, of course, exceptions. You”ve probably noticed the explosive popularity of GIF in recent years. This small video-like animated image can be used to enhance your existing content. If you plan on adding a small video, make it a GIF, not an MP4.
2. Compress images
When compressing an image, you need to find a balance between compression quality and image size.
With minimal compression, you will get a larger file size, but a higher quality image. At a high compression level, the image size will be very small, but the image quality will suffer.
Your goal should be to find a balance between file size and compression ratio.
If you run a site dedicated to high quality images, like a photography site, then it will take longer to find a balance between the two. But you can use the optimization settings for each image.
Below we test tools for use locally on a computer, online on the web, and even some WordPress plugins that you can use to optimize your images without losing quality.
Manual Image Optimization Tools
Desktop tools (installed on your local machine) offer you more customization control optimization. If you, for example, work in an image editor like Photoshop, then this option may be more suitable for you.
Automatic Image Optimization Tools
If you prefer a more simplistic approach, then you can use online tools that automatically optimize your photos.
These tools are great if you don’t want to spend time learning the details of how editors work.
With that, all you have to do is upload your photos, the tool will launch and you will download the optimized photos.
Before you start optimizing your images, it will be very helpful to choose the right image size. There is no point in uploading a massive image to your site if you plan on resizing it.
3. Resizing images in WordPress
Resize images correctly before uploading them. This way you will be dealing with a smaller image from the beginning.
For example, let’s say you need a 300x300px image, but instead you upload a 3000x3000px image and leave it up to the WordPress theme to display the image correctly.
This will increase the load on the channel and lead to slow loading of the picture.
The best approach is to determine the required image size according to the requirements of your theme and prepare it accordingly. Then run it through the optimization tool and upload your image.
4. Checking the accuracy of cropping the image
WordPress has a built-in image editor that allows you to crop images right from the admin console.
Of course, this can be very handy, but we recommend that you crop your images before optimizing and loading them.
If you decide that the image needs to be cropped for better placement on your site, then remove the image from the site, crop and re-upload.
By making too many changes in the admin console, you can save multiple versions of the same file. This will increase the server load and the overall size of your site.
5. Improving image SEO
Did you know you can optimize your images to improve your image and site rankings in search engines?
Optimizing images will speed up your site and increase your rankings. But there are a few additional steps you can take to improve your SEO appeal.