Do you really need to optimize your images?

Yes. Yes you do. Let’s talk about this. Remember back when cell phones first got cameras and your photos were all grainy and blurry and not very good? The good news is that phones now take excellent photos. I no longer even carry my big camera on vacation anymore, I just take my iPhone. The bad news is, these photos, to get such great quality, are really really big!

So many users make the mistake of uploading photos right from their phone or camera directly to their site. Then they load their website up with these photos and wonder why it goes so slow.

Photos will draaaaaag your site down if you aren’t careful. 

Everyone wants to have beautiful and high resolution photos on their site, but almost nobody wants to pay for the kind of server they’d need to serve those images properly. So when it comes to the web, we have to optimize.

What image optimization is?

This is simple the process of reducing the filesize as much as possible. The bigger the file, the longer it takes to load.

Why should I optimize images?

I feel like this is an obvious answer, but speed. The difference between your browser having to load 10 10kb images and 10 5MB images is huge!

Ok,  I’m convinced! How do I do it?

There are a few options. First, I always recommend you resize your images before you upload them. Even buying stock photos, those can be downloaded at very big sizes. There’s really not a lot of times when you need an image to be 3600 pixels. Shrink that sucker down. If you have a lot of images, I recommend doing batch resize. I use a nifty program on my Mac for that called Automator.

Then what?

One of my most favorite websites ever is TinyPNG. You can go there, upload your image, and download a compressed version of it. This is super great and easy. I often use this when I’m first starting a website to make sure my graphics are as compressed as possible. Of course, if you have a lot of images, then this isn’t really the most best option. Luckily, there are lots of plugins, both paid and free, you can install that will not only optimize your images as you upload them, but also go back through your old images and optimize those too.

Image Optimization Plugins:

TinyPNG: This is a great plugin, works well, and I find it to consistently offer the best compressions. You can optimize up to 100 images per month with the free account.

Shortpixel: I use this one a lot. It does bulk optimization as well as new upload optimization. It comes with about 100 optimizations per month too.

EWWW Image Optimizer: I’m not as familiar with this one, but with 600,000 active installs it can’t be all bad. I can’t tell if they offer any free compressions from what’s listed on their page.

Imagify: Another great option with up to 250 compressions each month. Easy to install and use.

So there you have it. Go forth and optimize!

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Amy Masson

Amy is co-owner of Sumy Designs, LLC. When not creating websites, she can be found writing restaurant reviews at Lafayette Eats, tweeting at @amymasson, and geeking out about all things WordPress.