Image Optimization for Websites - A Guide - TopNotch

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A Brief Guide Regarding Image Optimization

A slow-loading website is one of the biggest concerns. It not only creates a bad impression in front of your customer but also affects your SEO. So, you need to keep these things in align when running a business or a personal website.

There are various ways to speed up your WordPress website. One of the most important from the list includes image optimization for web and we will discuss it in detail in the following blog:

Significance of Image Optimization

 

According to a study, following are the three main reasons that affect the WordPress website:

  1. Images are large- You should use small sizes.
  2. Too many pictures- It requires many HTTP requests.
  3. They are responsible for synchronous loading of elements along with CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. By displaying your images progressively you will stop your images from loading at the same time with other elements and this will make page load quicker.

So by doing the WordPress image optimization, your site will be lighter. But before you do that, you need to figure out what is slowing down your website. This is the point where the speed test comes in.

Testing Your WordPress Site Speed

 

There are many website speed testing tools that will help you in testing the website speed. Some of the best are listed below:

Pingdom: It is one of the most popular tools used by common users and developers. You just have to open the Pingdom and insert your WordPress site URL and choose a location that is close to the data center location of your hosting and start the test. Adding more to the information, if you are having CDN installed on your site, then your location matters a lot.

The Pingdom tool is having a simple interface and display the advanced information on how a website is performing that is useful for the developer. From these statistics, you can figure out either your site is doing well or you need to work for the website speed optimization. This is nice because it provides you plenty of data and advice on request, pages, and other issues and performance analysis.

GTmetrix: The next interesting tool is GTmetrix. It is similar to Pingdom and it will analyze the website’s speed and performance in depth.

The onload time will calculate the speed after a page has processed completely and all the files on-page that have finished downloading. This is the reason that onload time will always be faster as compared to the fully loaded time.

The fully loaded time comes after the onload process when a page starts transferring data again and again. This means that GTmetrix includes the onload times when they are calculating the speed of the page. It basically measures the whole cycle of transfers and responses it will get from a page in question.

Google PageSpeed Insights: The next popular tool for testing site speed is Google PageSpeed Insights. The above two tools only measure the speed of your website on desktop but this tool will measure the speed of your mobile website as well.

Other than this, Google also gives you the best recommendation to improve your website for getting faster loading time. Keeping all this in view, with these three tools, you can effectively measure your website speed.

Ways to Speed up Your WordPress Website

 

Wondering, how to speed up the website? Following are some of the ways that will help you to speed up your WordPress website:

Caching: It is the action of temporarily storing data in a cache so that user access your website frequently. The data will automatically be delivered without going through the initial loading process again. For your information, a cache is a sort of memory that will collect data requested many times from the same viewport and it is used to increase the speed of serving this data. You have to install the WordPress caching plugin to improve your website speed.

Content Delivery Networks: A CDN will request your site content from nearest server location to your reader’s accessing point. This means it will a copy of your site in many data centers in different places around the world. Once a visitor accesses your site via their home location, the closest server will request your content that translates into faster loading times. For WordPress, Cloudflare and MaxCDN are two popular solutions. 

GZip Compression: With this method, you can compress your site’s files. This will reduce your website bandwidth and will transfer the respective files to browse faster.

Both WP Super Cache and W3 Total Care come with GZip compression feature that you can enable after the installation. WordPress hosting providers get this feature already enabled in their standard packages. You can also add GZip compression to your WordPress site manually by modifying your .htaccess file and you should be aware of the Gzip compression ratio as well.

Why Should You Optimize Images For Web?

 

Nowadays, a website is using more visuals to grab the attention of the user. Multimedia that includes videos, images, and the podcast has become popular over the last five years that make the webpages image-heavy. Most of the people are not paying attention to the fact that uploading pictures on their WordPress website will affect their website speed. But if you have an image-heavy website, then you need to do something about it.

Optimizing Website Images

 

You can do it manually or either using plugins. We will be discussing both methods to give you a better understanding:

Optimizing Image Manually: In optimization, stuff like resizing, compression, and use of right formats, cropping and more are included.

Using Right Image Format: There is no specific rule that can tell you about the right format for your website but there are some frequently used formats listed below:

PNG: It is used for graphics, illustrations, icons, design sketches, logos, or text so that it can be easily edited in photo editors. These pictures provide you great quality even after the compression. The reason is, it is lossless and the no significant data is lost during the compression.

JPG: It is one of the popular formats among photographers, bloggers, and casual users. You can compress it to smaller sizes while still preserving a good quality seen with naked eyes. JPG supports millions of colors and this is the reason behind its frequent usage.

WebP: An alternative to JPG and PNG is the WebP. This web image format was introduced by Google. It has been playing an important role by providing even small sizes as compared to JPG while preserving the quality of the images. According To Google, WebP will give you 34% smaller image as compared to the JPG image and up to 26% smaller than PNG images. But remember that WebP image is not supported by all browsers or by WordPress as default.

Moving on, if you are not able to optimize the images, then you need to avail the image optimization service for the satisfactory results.

Finding Maximum Display Size of Your Images: If you are planning to optimize your images by yourself, then you need to find out what will be the maximum display size. As your site is responsive, all the images you upload will be served at a different resolution based on the user’s viewport.

Wondering how you can check the maximum display size of an image?

First, you have to open a page or a post that contains the images you are going to check.  You will need to resize your browser manually to the point where the image jumps to the largest dimensions. This point is known as breakpoint as the image size suddenly breaks.

After image jumps to large dimensions, press right-click Inspect (if you are using chrome browser). You need to hover over the URL of an image in the top-right of the screen you will see both dimensions served at and its original dimensions. The latter is what users will be downloading while the former ones represent the maximum display size of the image on the page.

For instance, if you are planning to make your images retina-friendly, edit them using twice the maximum display size for better quality. The image in the screenshot is having 428×321 pixels, you should make it 856×642 pixels for better Retina quality.

Crop and Resize Images: When you are dealing with files that are having dimension a lot bigger than you normally need to showcase on your site. You can simply resize or crop them and then upload them on your site. This will help you in saving disk space and keep your site light. In addition to this, you can crop images anytime if there is only one detail that you want to show to your people. You have to crop and resize the image so that they can look good on your website. In addition, if you want to update the look of your website, then you should avail the affordable website design service from a professional company in your area.

Compress Images: All the photo editors have the option where you can set the quality of the images and save them. Usually, quality of 100% is preferred but you can lower it to 70 to 80%. You will not notice a big difference if the image is already having a huge resolution, the size will be smaller in this case.

In addition to this, after you have set a lower quality percentage and save the image, then you can go deeper with another round of optimization to reduce the size of image b reducing the online tools.

Set Image Optimization on Autopilot

 

In order to automate the image optimization process on your website, you need tools like WordPress Image Optimization Plugins. We will be discussing the three important tools so you can observe everything in detail. We will be discussing the tools like ShortPixel, Optimal, and Smush.

Optimole

It is probably the most complex of all because it encapsulates all the features you need for efficient image optimization. So, if you are planning for smart image optimization in all aspects, then you might need Optimole.

Optimole will transfer your images to a cloud where they are being optimized. The optimized images are shifted through CDN that will make them load faster. The plugin will replace each image’s URL with a custom one.

In addition to this, adapting the images to each user’s screen size is another key feature of Optimole. This means it will automatically optimize your images to the right dimension based on the user’s viewport. These transformations are fast without consuming any extra space on your website.

Another interesting thing about this is that it won’t optimize all images in your WordPress media library automatically. This will only optimize the images that people request by entering a page on your website.

ShortPixel

It is a popular WordPress plugin that is best for optimizing your images in bulk. The plugin works on autopilot and will optimize the image by default you upload on your media library. You can deactivate this option if you don’t need it.

The plugin offers lossless, glossy, and lossy compression that you can apply even for the thumbnails. All the modified images are saved in a separate folder in your site where you can also go back and forth to undo or redo an optimization. For instance, you can convert back from lossless to lossy and vice versa or simply restore it to the original files.

If you are planning to optimize the images all at once, then you have to click on the Bulk Actionsà Optimize with ShortPixel and click Apply. Your images will be compressed on a few months. This tool allows you to convert PNG to JPG automatically by creating a WebP version of your images and optimize the PDF files. Moreover, it also provides CMYK to RGB conversion. It will work with Cloudflare CDN service to upload the optimized image on a cloud server.

Smush: The next big name in WordPress plugin space is Smush, a friendly tool that will optimize your images. It comes with beautiful tracking dashboard where it will keep you up to date on your website total savings by telling you the number of items needs to be optimized, items that are optimized, and the method to be used.

It is having a bulk compression, automatic PNG to JPG, and lazy loading and CDN integration. This tool uses lossless compression by default, it focuses on keeping images closer to their original versions as possible. The drawback of this version is that it should not offer the same amount of feature in a free version as in Short Pixel or Optimole. You have to pay for some basic functionality.

Conclusion

 

Hope now you are aware of the fact why optimizing images important. You can’t underestimate the role of image optimization. But it is clear that images are responsible for slow loading speed and Google don’t like slow loading website. To avoid this, image optimization is the key and you have to optimize your images to improve your website speed.If you are still wondering to make your website design elegant and functional, then it is best to connect with TopNotch Innovative Technologies, a Boston website design agency to upgrade the look your website. The professionals will do all the needed changes to update it according to the latest trends.

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