Images contribute to the large part of website as they add a visual appeal to your content and can be helpful in attracting great level of visitors attention. Visuals make people 80% more likely to read your content. But, the very important motive of attracting visitors fails miserably if your images are not optimized as they will take forever to load. Stats say that a 47% of visitors expect the websites to load under 2s. If you are looking on how to load your WordPress website under 2s, check out this article
So, it becomes crucial for web developers to take control of image size and quality in order to improve the website performance and load time.
Image optimization is an art and science both in itself. Art because, no one has a simple one liner answer on how to compress images in the best way. And it is a science, because there are variety of tricks and techniques that can help you significantly reduce the size of images.
Why image optimization ?
Types of image compression
Image compression is either lossy or lossless. Lossy works by discarding original files and lossless retains all the original data. There is a wide variety of image optimization algorithms that takes different approaches to alter file size.
Lossy Image Optimization
Lossy image optimization is a way to compress image in which some data from the original file is lost. In this technique, when you compress your individual image, you cannot go back to the original one. Images are great aspect for lossy compression as our eyes have different sensitivity to different colors. Major benefit of using lossy compression is that it drastically reduce the size of an image. But do you know, what is the fact behind achieving this ? This is achieved with the loss of image quality.
Lossy compression is hardly recommended in a case, where you need to cut down your image size without taking care of its quality. Usually, industry people are not using lossy compression for image optimization.
Lossless Image Compression
Lossless compression reduces the size of an image without any quality loss. Generally, this is achieved by removing unwanted data from JPEG and PNG files. GIF, PNG, and BMP files are considered as lossless. However, these formats may see slight loss in quality. But the major benefit of using lossless compression for image optimization is that it allows you to retain the quality of your image while reducing the file size.
Now that we know, that image optimization is must. Let’s see how you can do that with your WordPress website. There are two ways to optimize images.
Let’s look at the plugin options that you can use to optimize your images
1. Using the WP-SmushIT plugin
Optimizing every image would be beyond pain and time consuming process. There is an amazing free plugin called WP-SmushIt which will automatically optimize all of your images as you upload them.
Imagify plugin runs a quick test on a page of your website with Imagify’s image optimizer. After running the test, you can download compressed images without altering original images. You can then compare the original & compressed image to check if there is a loss in quality.This way, before using the optimized images, you can first check the results and if you are not satisfied, you can always move back to the original file.
3. EWWW Image optimizer
EWWW image optimizer automatically optimizes your images as you upload them. Another interesting feature of this plugin is to convert your images to the file format. You can also optimize images which you have already uploaded.
This free plugin automatically resizes your images to a more “sane” size. The most amazing thing about Imsanity is that you will able to set a maximum width, height and quality. This plugin is very useful when it comes to processing images to make them smaller.
Optimus is a freemium plugin that can optimize your images up to 70% which saves a lot of bandwidth automatically leading to make your site loading quick. Pro version offers you much better compression
6. Lazy Load
Lazy load is a plugin which loads your text content instantly and loads the images as the user scroll down the page. This plugin basically uses jQuery.sonar and loads the images only when the image area becomes visible to the user.
ShortPixel is very simple to use plugin. It comes with a clean interface and useful features. It is a compression tool that will help you in improving the loading speed of your images without affecting the quality. This plugin using both lossy and lossless compression.
Prizm is a popular image compressor with advanced features. It uses unique API to process the images and compress them by making sure about quality. This plugin is simple as it involves resizing of images and bringing them down to smaller size.
Now, that we are done with all the options for optimizing images using plugin, let’s take a look at how can you optimize the images offline before uploading them to your WordPress website
1. Using optimizilla
Steps to optimize image by lossless compression online (http://optimizilla.com/)
2. Using TinyPng.com
Same as optimizilla. TinyPng.com comes with two options ( free and paid ). The free version offers you to optimize 20 images with a 5MB Limit Max. Whereas, the pro or paid version will allow you to upload unlimited images with a 25 MB Limit. Start compressing at https://tinypng.com/
3. Using ImageOptim ( Only for Mac Users ) – I use this personally
imageOptim is an app that optimized PNG and JPEG images. It is lossless image compressor for Mac users. The best part about this compressor is, it is open source and completely free and it integrates with best image optimization tools like PNGout, Jpegotim to name a few, Zopfil.There are uncountable plugins available in WordPress repository for optimization of images. You can choose the one which suits best to your needs.Download the free app from https://imageoptim.com/mac
4. Using RIOT Image Optimization tool for Windows
Works same as ImageOptim. Just think of it as a Windows alternative for ImageOptim. Download it from http://luci.criosweb.ro/riot/
There are numerous ways to save those bytes for a better and quicker loading website by optimizing your images. Do it on the server using plugins or just compress your images on your PC / Mac before uploading. We gave you the best ones that we found . If you have any suggestions, just comment them and we will check it out.0
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