Images are an integral part of modern-day web design. Blog posts with images not only appear appealing to the eyes but also bring considerable SEO benefits. They also generate more social media interactions.
But an inherent problem with images is that they consume a lot of bandwidth. Images make up nearly two-thirds of a webpage’s overall size. If you just drag-and-drop images to your WordPress media library without employing any kind of optimization, then you are not only sacrificing bandwidth but also compromising with page loading speed and search engine ranking.
That's why image optimization is crucial. This brings us to an important question – how to optimize images for WordPress? Read on to learn more about effective image compression techniques and fundamental image optimization tips to improve the overall performance of your WordPress website.
JPEG and PNG are the two most widely used image formats on the internet. JPEG can be the best option to display pictures with rich color tones, while PNG format is suitable for graphics, drawings, and screenshots. PNG images support transparency and loss-less compression which results in higher quality, but the file size gets bigger compared to JPEG. So the rule of thumb is to use JPEG format for photographs with multiple colors and use PNG for everything else.
Reduction in image dimension results in shrinkage in file size. So make sure to reduce the image dimension as per the display size. For example, if your website's width is 1000 pixels, there is no point in uploading images wider than 1000 pixels. Obviously, websites that deal with photography would like to display images of higher resolution, but for general blogs, there is no point in making the web page bulky by having larger-than-necessary image size.
There are various image editing software that can be used to resize images including the likes of Photoshop, Picasa and Snapseed, and others.
Resizing creates an exact replica of your image, while cropping can help you to remove unnecessary sections. Rather than shrinking the entire image, you are essentially trimming around the edges. It helps in making the focal objects appear more prominent while cutting out the distractions from the background. WordPress media library has inbuilt cropping feature, so you need not look elsewhere for cropping your image files.
Higher image loading speed translates to faster website performance and better SEO ranking. WordPress image compression plugins are specifically designed to achieve that target.
Smush image optimizer is a great tool to resize, compress and optimize your images and is a must-have plugin for photo-rich websites. ShortPixel is another impressive image optimization plugin that is used by millions of WordPress users.
Content Delivery Network, more popularly known as CDN, store copies of your website on servers located at different geographical locations. When a visitor tries to access your website, it serves the requested page through the nearest available CDN server. It solves latency problem and helps your website load in quicker time.
There are many CDN plugins available for WordPress. Jetpack CDN can be a good option for rendering images with faster speed. All you need to do is to install Jetpack, connect it with a WordPress account and then activate the Photon module - which will act as an image repository. Rest assured, your images will be displayed in record time.
Image optimization is vital for improving website performance and user experience. With the right image optimization techniques discussed above, not only your WordPress website will load faster, but this will improve your SEO presence dramatically which can be crucial for your brand's visibility and accessibility.