How to optimize images for WordPress: Do you run an online store, and how do you upload an image to WordPress? If you just drag and drop it to the media library without optimizing images, then it’s possible to lose bandwidth, miss opportunity for visitors, sales, and better search engine ranking. Image optimization is an important part of building a successful e-commerce website, from attracting shoppers to reducing site load time, image optimization plays a vital role. So, no matter how much your website is optimized images will be one of the slowest-loading elements on the page. However, having a lot of optimized images is also bad for your site’s load time which can affect your key marketing metrics. In this post, we are sharing 10 tips for optimizing images, especially for the beginners. Before heading towards the tips let me make you clear about image optimization and why it is important.
What is image optimization?
Image optimization is the process of reducing the file size of your images as much as possible without abandoning its quality so that your page loads faster. While you optimize your images in WordPress, just make sure that they have the right format, excellent caption, and descriptive name so that your website ranks higher on Google.
Some of the benefits you will get from image optimization are:
- Reduces site load time.
- Higher rank on SERPs.
- More visitors and sales.
- Uses less disk space on your server.
- The better user experience for your readers.
10 Easy Image Optimization Tips For WordPress Websites
Choose the right image type
Usually, all the browsers support four different type of image formats (JPEG, PNG, GIF, AND SVG). All options have advantage and disadvantages but you can’t any one of them without knowing its effect on your page load speed. The choice largely depends on the scenario.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the best option for photographs, screenshots, gradients, and other images displaying a huge variety of colors. You can use new JPEG formats like JPEG 2000 and JPEG XR that boast superior compression ratio, meaning increases the page speed with a lower file size. It is a commonly used method of lossy compression.
PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is perfect for drawings, text, graphics, and some screenshots. This format uses lossless compression, which means produces the highest image quality but also bigger files. It is done in two stages: Prediction and then Compression.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is ideal only for simple images with fewer colors such as logos, graphs, charts, and line drawings because it has its own palette of up to 256 colors. GIF also supports animations and known as go-to format for animation, but you can also use them on your blog posts.
SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) loads faster than JPEGs and PNGs because of their smaller file sizes. This format is the great option for icons, logos, and those images made up of geometric shapes. SVG images and their behaviors are defined in XML text files and support animation and interactivity.
To increase the load speed of your page, make sure you reduce the size of images to the dimensions you want to display your images. Images with larger-than-necessary dimensions are considered to carry unnecessary bulk, making difficult for you to optimize your images in WordPress. But that’s not all, larger images also need more disk space storage. So, to optimize images in WordPress for faster page load you need to resize an image. Using a WordPress plugin, you can easily make an image smaller without losing its quality on your computer.
Use a CDN
If you want to improve the WordPress site’s load time and fix bandwidth problems then you can use CDN (Content Delivery Network) for image optimization. All you need to do is install CDN, connect it with WordPress account, and it works by serving an image from the nearest server to the visitor’s location. It is the great option to use a CDN if you have tons of traffic and activity on your site each month.
Another best way to optimize images in WordPress with an online image optimization tool is compressing an image. While compressing an image you must use only one tool or plugin once because multiple image compressions can results decline in image quality. Also, make sure that it compresses images in such a way so that it will reduce your site’s load time.
TinyPNG is one of the best free online tools for image compression. It is easy to use, simply drag and drop up to 20 PNG or JPEG files to the site, and within a few seconds, you can download all the optimized images. In the context of WordPress plugins, WP Smush is the great one for image compression and optimization. The plugin reduces all the unnecessary data from your images.
Cropping is the alternative to resizing and the quick-and-easy way to reduce file size. It creates an exact replica of your image, but smaller in size. With the help of cropping, you can cut away all the distractions from the background of images and the part of the image you are trying to show becomes more notable. Furthermore, cropping reduces image dimensions and cuts file size. It is also one of the great ways of doing image optimization in WordPress.
Get lazy loading
Lazy loading is extremely helpful for you if you upload tons of high-resolution images to WordPress. The best part of Lazy loading is that the images at the top are prioritized and it loads an image below the fold only when the visitors scroll down to view it making a page load faster and uses less bandwidth.
The lazy loading helps to speed up WordPress. To get started, install one of the lazy loading plugins for WordPress.
Use Image Sitemap
Google Sitemap helps your website rank higher in SERPs. Moreover, by using Google Sitemap, you can also give Google more information about the images on your website that enable Google to find more of your images. For this, you should add relevant details such as the type of image, caption, title, subject matter, license, geographical location. You can create a separate Sitemap to list your images exclusively or you can add it to existing one.
Caption your images
It is hard and takes extra time while adding captions to images. But in terms of SEO and UX, adding captions to images is very important because they are among the first things that visitors scan in an article, apart from the headings and images. The major benefit of creating captions for your images is that it helps you engage your readers by making them understand and value your content. In addition, it will improve your on-page SEO and also keeps your pages and images rank higher on SERPs. So, you can caption your images whenever you want to provide more context about certain images, or if you want to use images for SEO.
Add alt tags to images
If you want to add SEO value to your site and make it rank higher in SERPs, then you should not leave the “Alt Text” field blank while uploading an image to WordPress. Alt text or alt tag is a quick description that the readers see when the images can’t be loaded on the page.
While adding alt text to your images, there are some useful tips that you should keep in mind.
- It should be short and clear.
- Use relevant keywords.
- Be descriptive as much as you can.
- Avoid keyword filling.
Name your images descriptively
Creating a descriptive file name for each image you upload on your website is very important because it helps your site rank better on Google. Since search engine not only crawl the text on your webpage but also crawl your image file name, you should create descriptive, keyword-rich file names for your images. While naming your images you should think about how your customers search for products on your website. For example, it’s better to name your file ‘2018-Smush-plugin’ rather than to use the generic name your camera assigned to the image (i.e. IMG00013.jpg).
Over to you
There are a lot of things you can do to speed up your page load, but image optimization is one of the easiest ways. So, in this post, we have covered everything you need to do to optimize images as the beginner. These all 10 quick tips will help you with image optimization in WordPress. Choose any one of them for image optimization and make your website load significantly faster.
If you have any questions regarding image optimization, feel free to share them in the comment box below!