Slow loading pages are not just a major let down for your potential lead but also for Google. Slow loading pages increase the bounce rate on your website and thus hurt your SEO greatly. Meanwhile, there are various ways to optimize your website to improve the loading speed; not many people pay attention to the images. Especially if you are working with a website development company that doesn’t pay attention to trends, you might have this problem.
If you are using full-size images on your website, now is the time to optimize your images and speed up your website. In this blog, we share everything you need to know about image optimization and how you can do it effectively using tools.
Is Image Optimization Necessary?
Let’s see. If the fight is for page one results, you cannot leave any stone unturned. You need to reduce the bounce rate as much as possible and improve your website speed to help you in your quest. When a lead lands on your website, they must explore your services and products. Otherwise, you are just wasting your money on the ads without getting a high return on investment.
Images can affect your WordPress website in three ways:
1. You are using very large images.
2. You are using too many images.
3. Images are contributing to the asynchronous loading of elements.
How do you test your WordPress site speed?
There are many ways to test your website speeds. The simplest method is by doing it with Pingdom. Pingdom is a very popular tool. You simply have to insert your WordPress site URL, choose a location closest to your hosting bases’ data center location on your hosting server, and start the test. About choosing the location, if you have a CDN installed on your site, the locations become very important.
Now once you start the test, the tool would display advanced information on the website performance. Using these insights, you can start optimizing your website. You will find the factors that need improvement and plenty of data and advice on the pages, requests, and other issues with complete performance analysis from these statistics.
There are some other tools too that can provide you with website performance analysis. GTmetrix, for example, is a similar tool as Pingdom and helps you analyze your site speed, performance, and other factors. Some of the important factors are:
1. Onload Time
Onload time calculates the speed of the pages that have been processed completely and all files on the page have finished downloading. It makes the onload time faster than the fully loaded time.
2. Fully Loaded Time
The fully loaded time calculates the page’s time when the onload process starts transferring data over again. It measures the whole cycle of responses and transfers it gets from the page in question. It makes the fully loaded time slower than the onload time.
Other than Pingdom and GTmetrix, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights. It is a very popular tool for testing your site speed. It displays your site performance on the desktop and mobile. It also gives you the best recommendations to improve your site and make it faster.
Coming back to our focus, these three tools also help in detecting how images are affecting your site speed.
How to speed up your WordPress Website?
Not just the image but other factors can reduce the speed of the website. Here are a few things that would help you in speeding up your website.
Caching means temporarily storing data in a cache. If a user accesses the site frequently, the data will automatically deliver without an initial loading process. Caching helps improve the page speed and thus if you do it manually or by installing a plugin. It can be implemented on-site very easily. There are some available plugins to do it such as WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.
2. Content delivery network
CDN requests your site content from the nearest server location to your readers’ accessing point. The more optimal this delivery system is, the better the site speed would be. The CDN would keep a copy of your site in many data centers located in different places, and thus the nearest server will request your content and translate it into faster loading time.
3. GZIP compression
Through this method, you can compress your site files and make them smaller. It will reduce the bandwidth of your site and will transfer the respective files to the browser faster.
Both the WordPress Super Cache and W3 Total Cache can come with GZIP compression feature that can be enabled after installation. Many popular WordPress hosting providers have this feature too. You can use these tools for a quick inspection, and you can start manually optimizing your website.
Another way to compress your site files is by choosing light-weighted WordPress themes and deactivating the unnecessary plugins. Moreover, try to clean your WordPress Database regularly for better speed.
4. Image Optimization
Finally, the part you have been waiting for the most. Image optimization helps in speeding up your WordPress site. And here is how you do it.
Websites are using more and more visuals than ever before. Multimedia such as images, videos, podcasts, have gained immense popularity, and this has made the site owners use graphics and heavy images. Better the graphic quality better would be the website appearance.
Sometimes people forget that uploading images regularly will affect the WordPress site speed gradually. Especially if you have an image-heavy site, your content is mostly images and visuals.
How to optimize your website Images?
There are two ways to optimize your website images – manually and using WP plugins. If you are very keen on taking control of your site and doing things on your own, you will manually optimize the images. But WP plugins are efficient too. They automatically would optimize the images and improve website performance. But, let’s start with the manual method first.
(A) Manually optimizing the website images
Manually optimizing the website images is a tiresome job. It includes compressing, resizing, reformatting, and cropping images.
1. Change the image format
There is no best format when it comes to using images on the website. But there are some recommended image formats that you can use to format your content.
- PNG: PNG is used for graphics, logos, icons, design sketches, texts, illustrations and can be edited by the photo editors and maintain a good quality even after compression. They lose very less data when compressed.
- JPG: JPG is another popular format. Photographers, casual users, and bloggers mostly use it. It is lossy and can be compressed to smaller sizes while preserving good quality. It supports various colors and thus, losses very little when compressed.
- WebP: WebP image format introduced by Google is a very efficient image format. It is even smaller than JPG and maintains the quality of the image too. WebP image format has its cons and would not be supported by all the browsers. Thus, PNG and JPG are still your number one option.
Apart from this, you can use JPG for the photos as it offers various colors and has very less loss when compressed. And PNG can be used for screenshots, graphics, transparent images, and a limited color but still a good solution for your image needs.
2. Maximum Display Size
Most of the websites today are made responsive. It means you will be served at different resolutions. Maximum display size is the largest resolution that an image can take counting all the potential screens that can access it.
You can check the maximum display size of an image by resizing your browser manually and making it gradually smaller by dragging its edges to the extent that the image comes back to the largest dimension. It is the breakpoint because the image size would suddenly break.
3. Resize and crop the images
You can resize and crop the images and upload them to your site. You will save disk space and keep the site lighter. If you have a website where images or photographs have to be showcased, you will have to put them without cropping it. But if you can crop your images and display only what you want to get attention then cropping the image is a good solution.
4. Compress images
All the photo editors can help you compress the images. You can go with the quality of 100%, but you can lower it to 70-80% without compromising on the quality. You would find that reducing the quality little would not be noticed by the visitors. Once you have compressed the images, you can go further and use the techniques mentioned above to reduce the images’ size even more.
(B) Automating the Image Optimization
You can use various WordPress plugins. But we highly recommend you WPFileo WordPress plugin by Solwin Infotech. It is a tool trusted globally and can help you in doing various functions all at once. All you have to do is integrate it into your WordPress website. Once integrated, the tool will organize large numbers of media library files such as texts, images, audio, and videos in a few clicks. It can manage thousands of media files easily and is thus a very efficient tool.
It also comes with a Gutenberg editor that helps in customizing the column numbers, link, caption, crop images, and more. Apart from the regular functions, it would also customize the folders, upload files directly to the folder, resizable sidebar, easy migration, and much more. If you are looking for automated Image Optimization, the WPFileo WordPress plugin is the best tool to use.
We have mentioned all the necessary things you should know for image optimization and improving website performance. Use the image optimization process and other optimization factors mentioned in the blog and reduce your bounce rate significantly. Use tools mentioned in the blog to reduce your manual work and fast-track your website optimization process.