There are many ways to speed up a website. In this article, we are going to go over one of those methods.
And the method is called image optimization. It is much simpler than it might sound.
Typically a website uses one of two image formats: JPG (also JPEG) or PNG. But sometimes websites use GIF files for animation. Who doesn’t like animated GIFS, right?
There are multiple ways to approach image optimization.
- Optimize during image creation
- Optimize during upload
- Combination of the two
There is no perfect way to do image optimization, and no tool will provide a perfect scan of a site. For example, Google and GTMetrix will both continue to say images need to be compressed even when they’re at a true acceptable level.
That is because each of the speed scanning tools does not care about image aesthetics and quality. They only care about the physical size of the images in KB or MB.
Now we will dive into each of the three methods.
Optimize during image creation
The tool we prefer using, here at Tesla Themes is JPEGMini Pro. When it comes to compressing images without loss of visual quality, no one compares to JPEGMini. The company behind the image compression software also does video compression. They work with some of the largest companies in the world to compress videos and images so you, the viewer, do not see a difference. But gets all the luxury of fast load times.
JPEGMini comes in multiple versions, but the Pro version is paid and includes Photoshop and Lightroom plugins. (save 20% by using the coupon code scottwyden)
If you want a quality paid app for PNG compression, check out Squash.
There are also free and open source alternatives to this. Like ImageOptin, for example.
Optimize during upload
When it comes to upload compression, there are so many plugins for WordPress. And we have tested them all! The best we have found in our testing is Imagify. It is the closest to the visual quality that JPEGMini retains. And we have found that they work well together. In fact, many times Imagify will not compress an image already compressed by JPEGMini. Because Imagify’s algorithm also tries to retain visual quality.
Like all good things in WordPress, there are numerous plugins available. Be sure to browse the directory for one that suits your needs. Because if you don’t care as much about visual quality, then a different plugin might be better for you.
It is worth noting that by compressing on upload it will slow down upload time, and potentially the entire backend for a little while compression is underway.
Optimize during creation and upload
This was mentioned briefly above, but you can combine the two methods. For example, for those who prefer 100% free tools, here is a solution. If you also do not care as much about visual quality as you do for image sizes, try ImageOptin for your computer (which compressed most file formats) and then EWWW Image Optimizer for the upload process.
Note than EWWW has two versions, a server based and a cloud based. The server based plugin will reduce the performance of your website. So if you are on a shared host, we do not recommend it. In fact, WP Engine even blocks the plugin. If you are using their paid cloud version, then you should not see a major performance impact, just as you wouldn’t with Imagify.
To show the combinations again, here goes:
- Compress locally with ImageOption
- Compress on upload with EWWW Image Optimizer
- Compress locally with JPEGMini Pro
- Compress on upload with Imagify
Either way, you’re going to reduce the image sizes heavily and in turn speed up your website. So that’s a good thing.
So if you care more about the visual quality of the images, then we recommend going for the paid tools. For example, graphic artists, photographers, and other visually oriented business.
Have you been using these tools speed up your website? Comment and let us know!