Images are an integral part of any website. In fact, the right image can sometimes completely change the look and credibility of a website. It’s well known that a websites loading time can affect how it ranks in organic results. That being said, having large images on your website can not only impede loading time and usability but also affect how your website ranks in major search engines such as Google.
I always try to encourage my clients to blog as often as they can. This practice can not only signal to Google that you’re website is not stale but also helps target or reinforce keywords you’d like to rank for. Unfortunately bloggers typically use images that are 20-30 times larger than they need to be. Last week I had to notify a client who was uploading images taken from his smartphone that were 5000px wide to be used as his blogs thumbnail which is roughly 350px wide.
Uploading images can drastically make your website slower, affect how users interact with your website, affect your website ranking and lowers conversions/leads. Think about how you react when you visit a website that takes way too long to load.
How important is it to optimize the images on your website?
- Faster loading web pages
- Less space used on your web server
- Achieve better search ranking
- Improve website layout
- Increase conversions
I have outlined best practices and plugins to help you optimize images on your WordPress website.
1. Image Resizing
When adding images through WordPress there is an “edit image” button below the image or link on the top right. It allows you to scale the image to your preferred size. When you enter the width it automatically calculates the height so that your image is always proportionate. If you upload an image that is smaller than the dimensions used on the site you will end up with a pixelated image so it’s important to scale the image correctly. It’s important you get this right because if you scale the image smaller than needed it will look pixelated on the website.
2. Set image dimensions in Woocommerce
If you are running a WooCommerce store it’s important to upload your product images that have equal dimensions. If you have already uploaded your all your product images and they are all different dimensions this will throw off websites layout. If you’re looking for a way to have all your product images to have equal dimensions this can be set through your WooCommerce settings where you can set the default dimensions for images being uploaded. Unfortunately changing these image dimensions will not have an affect on images that have already been uploaded.
The solution to this is by installing the Regenerate thumbnails plugin. This plugin will resize all product images according to dimensions set in your WooCommerce settings.
3. WP Smush
This handy plugin is free and can resize and optimize the images on your website to help it run faster. You don’t have to worry about bogging down your servers when using this plugin as it uses WPMU DEV servers to process all images. Once this plugin is installed it will Smush your images upon uploading. Just set your desired height and width and your images will scale down as they are being compressed.
4. Ewww Image Optimizer
This is popular and powerful WordPress plugin effectively reduces the size of already uploaded images on your server. Ewww image optimizes compresses images to produce the smallest image size helping your website once again load faster, retain image quality and save space on your server. By using a lossless compression algorithm it ensures that your images are not losing quality but removes necessary data.
There are plenty of other WordPress plugins available online that can help optimize images. If you have tried additional plugins you’d like to recommend or have any questions feel free to drop a comment below.