WordPress image optimization is one of the most effective ways to boost your overall site speed.
Images are a big part of your website. They help attract readers to your posts, and make content more interactive. Yet, unfortunately, they can also be one of the largest and most resource-intensive parts of your page. Plain text and HTML code loads instantly, but you're often left waiting for one bloated image to arrive from the server.
By optimizing your images, compressing them to the minimum size necessary (without losing any significant level of quality), you can ensure your pages load as fast as possible. This is extremely important, not just for user experience, but for your perofrmance in Google SEO.
The easiest way to condense your images is with a WordPress image optimization plugin. These plugins use a variety of techniques to reduce the size of your images, or at least offset the time users spend waiting on images to load.
Read on to learn a little more about WordPress image optimization, as well as the best WordPress plugins to optimize images on your site.
What is WordPress Image Optimization Important?
Optimizing your images will make your site's load time significantly shorter.
This is done by reducing the files size of images, by reducing the resolution to what is needed and by stripping metadata (information such as when the picture was taken, what device was used etc).
Not only does it help your site load faster, but well optimized images can also help boost your Search Engine Optimization as your site speed increases. Google likes fast sites, as evidenced by their Core Web Vitals report. As a result, bloated sites that take too long to load tend to rank lower in Google search.
You can also use images to rank well through adding alt and title tags to your images. If these tags are filled with keywords relevant to your article, it will be easier to find on a search engine, as they pick out key words when search the web. This is just another part of ensuring your images are well optimized.
Do You Really Need a Plugin?
You can do WordPress image optimization manually - reducing the file size of any images before you upload them to your site. But if you're publishing a lot of content, this means a lot of images, and thus a lot of work to optimize every single one.
It's best to automate this with a WordPress plugin. However, there are a couple of things you should check your own, before you upload images:
- Your images are only as big as they need to be. The file sizes of images on your webpage can greatly affect the loading speed of your page. For example, unnecessarily large images, with big resolutions will take up resources, and ultimately will slow down the loading speed of your page. If these images can be set to a lower resolution, or compressed to be a lower file size, then this will speed up your website. To do this, images can be compressed, so that unnecessary information is no longer included, such as capture date and type of camera used.
- Your images are given relevant names. This will boost your SEO. Images with relevant names will be more likely to appear in search engines, thus optimizing your post, and directing traffic to your blog. This can be done simply, by adding a keyword into the title of the image.
After this, you can rely on an image optimization plugin to cut down the image files served to only what's absolutely necessary.
The Best Image Optimization Plugins for WordPress
WordPress plugins are the lifeblood of the platform, and one of the reasons it's by far the most popular CMS by market share.
Image optimization plugins are not sexy, like a page builder or a popup plugin, but they're arguably more important. Anything you can do to ensure your site loads fast is well worth the effort.
Here are our picks for the top WordPress image optimization plugins on the market:
Let's run through these plugins in a little more detail.
WP Smush Pro
This plugin grants you the ability to do image optimization individually, or bulk optimize images. With this plugin, you are able to compress .jpeg, .gif and .png images, using dedicated servers.
The free edition of this allows you to optimize images which are sized <1mb, whist the pro edition can compress images up to <5mb. It does all of this without the image quality deteriorating, as well as being able to compress newly uploaded images in the background automatically.
Price: From $19/mo
EWWW Image Optimizer
This WordPress image optimization plugin can be ran on your own server, which gets rid of the waiting time for third party servers to process your requests. It has arguably the best .jpg and .png optimization, which integrates JPEGmini. It can also find the smallest file format for images to be converted to.
In addition to this, you are able to optimize images individually as well as in bulk. These things will make your page load faster, and backups will be smooth.
Price: Starts at $0.99/mo
Media File Renamer
This plugin's use case is simple - it lets you rename your images by updating their titles. This might not seem that useful, but it is if you've been uploading images with unoptimized titles to your site for years, and want to fix this quickly.
It can also change the links in your posts automatically, saving hassle. If used in conjunction with relevant keywords, you'll get a big SEO boost from using this plugin.
Price: Free, or Pro version starting at $24/year
Imsanity is a WordPress image optimization plugin which will automatically resize big images. This saves the hassle of having to manually edit each one of these. It can also resize images in bulk, as well as having the option of converting .bmp files to .jpg , for easy scaling.
As well as this, it gives you the option to specify max width/height and .jpg quality.
CW Image Optimizer
CW Image Optimizer is very similar to the WP Smush Pro plugin. It's an image optimizer that resizes them automatically when you upload them to your WordPress site.
Whilst the file size of the image changes, the actual quality of it stays the same. CW Image Optimizer It utilizes Linux littleutils, which means that your images will never leave your server.
SEO Friendly Images
This plugin optimizes your images by adding alt and title attributes. This is important when it comes to getting your images to show up in Google searches.
While images generally won't drive the same amount of traffic as text results, this is still a piece of low-hanging fruit that can improve the overall performance of your site in search results.
This starts by putting the right keywords in your alt text and title, which is easy with this plugin.
Overall, these are just a handful of WordPress image optimization plugins which can be found on the internet. You can use more than one at a time but be wary as they may conflict with each other. There's only really need to use one image optimization plugin, which is what we advise.
The plugins listed are the most prominent and are packed with useful features which makes the task very convenient. If these plugins are used to your advantage, then it will boost your site's SEO, and will drive more traffic to your website.
In addition to making your site load faster in mobile browsers, well-optimized images will also make it easier when you go to convert your WordPress site to mobile apps, using MobiLoud. Your app will work a lot faster and smoother with no huge, bloated image files weighing it down.