When it comes to website creation, nothing beats WordPress regarding ease-of-use and flexibility.
Be it an online store, a professional business website, or a personal blog, this CMS is packed with everything you need to create a professional looking, visually-appealing site within a day.
However, recklessly overloading your site with fancy graphics can be your undoing. Without proper optimization, a single image can slow your site down and ruin the experience for your audience.
If you can’t keep your website’s loading speed below 3 seconds, then you can say goodbye to roughly 40% of your audience. Furthermore, Google indicates that site loading speed is an important SEO factor because they’re all about user experience.
So not only will a sluggish site hurt your conversions, but you’ll also be positioning yourself for failure by compromising your search rankings.
Don’t fret – there are several easy ways for you to optimize your WordPress site for speed. This infographic from WPShrug.com sums them up quite nicely:
As you can see, one of the easiest ways to speed up your website is to optimize your images. This process can be easily done with the help of plugins that are readily available from the WordPress library.
Without further ado, below are five of the best image optimization plugins you should use:
WP Smush is one of the most popular image optimization plugins there is, and it’s not hard to see why. All you need to do is activate the plugin and use the “Bulk Smush” feature to start optimizing your entire media library.
One of the advantages of WP Smush is that the quality of images is largely unaffected despite significant file size reductions. You can also enable automatic compression for future uploads to save time.
Just like WP Smush, EWWW Image Optimizer also utilizes lossless compression to reduce the size of images without compromising quality. It also offers bulk optimization features for images that are already in your media library before the plugin was installed.
But don’t let the plugin’s simplicity and straightforwardness fool you. Under the hood, EWWW Image Optimizer has a bunch of settings you can personalize such as optimization levels, format conversion, and WebP support.
This plugin may seem a little weird, but Imsanity does its job incredibly well. It quickly and automatically resizes large images to achieve faster loading speeds.
Apart from the basic optimization features, Imsanity also allows you to specify the maximum scale of images according to their use. Header images, for example, may have a different maximum size from the photos within your blog posts.
These configurations can be accessed directly from the plugin’s settings page, which is the only interface it has. Apart from those, it doesn’t overcomplicate the process with extra features such as backups that consume additional storage space.
ShortPixel is another comprehensive plugin that can compress your images and more. Aside from the images themselves, you can also apply compression to thumbnails to maximize loading speed and storage space.
The only downside to using ShortPixel is that you need to register your email address and obtain an API key before you can start. It’ll only take a few moments, but not all webmasters are pleased with having to share their contact information.
Imagify also requires you to create an account and surrender your contact information before you can use the plugin’s features. However, it is an image compression plugin you can stick to for the long-term.
Aside from having everything you can ask for in an image optimization plugin, it also has a streamlined user interface that will walk you through every step of the way.
Just be mindful that you can only compress up to 25 megabytes’ worth of images a month with a free account. To unlock unlimited features, you need to upgrade to a paid account through their website.
Designing a website with WordPress is fun – except for the part where you have to optimize for user experience. Using the plugins above, you can take a big leap forward and save a lot of time. With large images out of your way, you can now focus on other things such as content development and on-page SEO.
Author: Christopher Jan Benitez
Content marketer during the day. Heavy sleeper at night. Dreams of non-existent brass rings. Writer by trade. Pro wrestling fan by choice (It’s still real to me, damnit!). Family man all the time.