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How to Optimize Images for Web Performance without Losing Quality

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Did you know that optimizing your images before uploading to WordPress can have a significant impact on the speed of your website?

Many new bloggers simply upload images without optimizing them for the web when they first start a blog. These large image files slow down your website.

You can correct this by incorporating image optimization best practices into your regular blogging routine.

We’ll show you how to optimize your images for faster web performance without sacrificing quality in this article. We’ll also show you how to use automatic image optimization plugins for WordPress to make your life easier.

We’ve created an easy-to-follow table of contents because this is a comprehensive guide on image optimization for the web:

  • What exactly is image optimization? (Images that have been optimized vs. images that have not been optimized)
  • What is the significance of image optimization? What are the advantages?
  • How should images be saved and optimized for web performance?
  • The best image optimization software and tools
  • WordPress image optimization plugins that are the best

What exactly is Image Optimization? (Images That Have Been Optimized vs. Images That Haven’t Been Optimized)

Image optimization is the process of saving and delivering images in the smallest file size possible while maintaining overall image quality.

While the process appears to be complicated, it is actually quite simple these days. You could also use one of the image optimization plugins and tools available to automatically compress images by up to 80 percent without sacrificing image quality.

Here’s a comparison of optimized and unoptimized images:

As you’ve seen, if properly optimized, the very same image could be 75 percent smaller than the original without compromising quality.

What is Image Optimization and how does it work?

In layman’s terms, image optimization works by using compression technology such as “Lossy” and “Lossless,” which help reduce overall file size without sacrificing quality.

What exactly does it mean to “optimize images”?

If your WordPress hosting support or a speed test tool has ever recommended that you optimize images, all it means is that you need to reduce the file size of your images by optimizing them for the web.

Why Is Image Optimization Necessary? What Are the Advantages of Image Enhancement?

While there are numerous advantages to optimizing your images, the following are the most important ones to be aware of:

  • Increased website speed
  • Increased SEO rankings
  • Increased overall sales and lead conversion rate
  • Storage and bandwidth are reduced (which can reduce hosting and CDN cost)
  • Backups of websites are completed more quickly (also reduces the cost of backup storage)

Images are the next heaviest item on a web page after the video. According to HTTP Archive, images account for approximately 21% of the total weight of a webpage.

Because we know that fast websites rank higher in search engines (SEO) and have higher conversion rates, image optimization is something that every business website should do if they want to succeed online.

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You may be wondering how much of a difference image optimization can really make.

According to a Strangeloop study, a one-second delay in website load time can cost you 7% of sales, 11% of page views, and 16% of customer satisfaction.

If these aren’t enough reasons to speed up your website, you should know that search engines like Google give faster loading websites preferential SEO treatment.

This means that by optimizing your images for the web, you can improve website speed while also increasing your WordPress SEO rankings.

How Should Images Be Saved and Optimized for Web Performance?

The key to successful image optimization for web performance is achieving the ideal balance between small file size and acceptable image quality.

The three most important factors in image optimization are:

  • Image file type (JPEG vs PNG vs GIF)
  • Compression (a higher compression rate equals a smaller file size)
  • Picture Dimensions (height and width)

You can reduce the size of your image by up to 80% by using the right combination of the three.

Let us just take a closer look at each of these.

1. Image File Extensions

JPEG, PNG, and GIF have been the only three image file formats that matter to many site owners. Choosing the right file type is critical in image optimization.

To keep things simple, JPEGs should be used for photos or images with a lot of colors, PNGs for simple images or when you need transparent images, and GIFs for only animated images.

PNG image format is uncompressed, which means it is a higher quality image for those who are unfamiliar with the differences between each file type. The disadvantage is that the file sizes are much larger.

JPEG, on the other hand, is a compressed file format that reduces image quality slightly in order to provide a significantly smaller file size.

GIF, on the other hand, uses only 256 colors and lossless compression, making it the best choice for animated images.

We use all three image formats on Yourblogmaster depending on the type of image.

2. Constriction

The next step is image compression, which is extremely important in image optimization.

Image compression comes in a variety of types and levels. Depending on the image compression tool you use, the settings for each will differ.

Most image editing software, such as Adobe Photoshop, On1 Photo, GIMP, Affinity Photo, and others, include image compression features.

You could also save images ordinarily then use a web tool like TinyPNG or JPEG Mini to compress them.

Although time-consuming, these two methods allow you to compress images before uploading them to WordPress, which is what we do at Yourblogmaster.

There are also several popular WordPress plugins that can automatically compress images when you first upload them, such as Optimole, EWWW Image Optimizer, and others. Because they are simple and convenient, many beginners and even large corporations prefer to use image optimization plugins.

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We’ll go over these WordPress plugins in greater detail later in the article.

3. Dimensions of the Image

When you import a photo from your phone or digital camera, it typically has a high resolution and large file dimensions (height and width).

These photos typically have a resolution of 300 DPI and dimensions ranging from 2000 pixels and up. These high-quality images are ideal for print or desktop publishing. They are not appropriate for use on websites.

Image file size can be significantly reduced by reducing file dimensions to something more reasonable. You can easily resize images on your computer by using image editing software.

For example, we optimized a photo with an original file size of 1.8 MB, a resolution of 300 DPI, and image dimensions of 49003200 pixels.

We used jpeg format for better compression and reduced the image file size to 103 KB by changing the dimensions to 1200795 pixels. That is 94% less than the original file size.

Now that you have learned the three important aspects of image optimization, let’s look at some image optimization tools for site owners.

Best Image Optimization Software and Tools

As previously stated, most image editing software includes image optimization and compression settings.

Aside from image editing software, there are several powerful free image optimization tools available to help you optimize images for web use (with just a few clicks).

If you are a perfectionist, we recommend using these tools to optimize images before uploading them to WordPress.

Because you manually review each image, this method saves disc space on your WordPress hosting account while also ensuring the fastest image with the best quality.

Photoshop by Adobe

Adobe Photoshop is a premium piece of software that includes a feature for saving web-optimized images. Simply open your image and select “File » Save for Web.”

This will result in the appearance of a new dialogue box. You can change the image format on the right. There are various quality options for JPEG format. When you select your options, the file size will be displayed on the bottom left.

GIMP

GIMP is a free and open-source replacement for Adobe Photoshop. It can be used to web-optimize your images. The disadvantage is that it is not as simple to use as some of the other solutions on this list.

To begin, open your image in GIMP and then choose File » Export As. It would open the Save As dialogue box. Give your file a new name, then hit the export button.

This will display image export options. You can choose the compression level for jpeg files to reduce file size. Finally, save the optimized image file by clicking the export button.

TinyPNG

TinyPNG is a free web app that uses intelligent lossy compression to reduce the size of your PNG files. You only need to go to their website and upload your images (simple drag & drop).

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They will compress the image and provide you with a link to download it. TinyJPG, their sister website, can be used to compress JPEG images.

They also have an Adobe Photoshop extension, which we use in our image editing process because it combines the best of TinyPNG and TinyJPG inside Photoshop.

For developers, there is an API for automatically converting images, and for beginners, there is a WordPress plugin that can do it for you (more on this later).

Mini JPEG

JPEGmini employs a lossless compression technology that significantly reduces image size without sacrificing perceptual quality. You can also compare the quality of the original and compressed images.

You can use their web version for free or buy the program to install on your computer. They also have a paid API that you can use to automate the process for your server.

ImageOptim

ImageOptim for Mac is a utility that allows you to compress images without sacrificing quality by determining the best compression parameters and removing unnecessary color profiles.

Trimage is a Windows alternative to this.

Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins

We believe that optimizing your images before uploading them to WordPress is the best way to do so. If you have a multi-author site or require an automated solution, you can use a WordPress image compression plugin.

The following are our recommendations for the best WordPress image compression plugins:

Any of these WordPress image optimization plugins will assist you in speeding up your website.

Final Thoughts and Image Optimization Best Practices

If you aren’t already saving images optimized for the web, you should start now. It will make a significant difference in your site’s speed, and your users will appreciate it.

Not to mention that faster websites are better for SEO, and you will most likely see an improvement in your search engine rankings.

Aside from image optimization, using a WordPress caching plugin and a WordPress CDN will significantly help you speed up your website.

You can also use a managed WordPress hosting company because they frequently include caching and CDN as part of the platform.

We hope this article was useful in teaching you how to optimize your images in WordPress.

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