Have you ever noticed websites that have quality content but high page load time don’t rank on the first page of Google?
And, if you are wondering why then the main reason is because of high-quality images. If images are not optimized for search engines to load faster, visitors are going to close the page and head on to another result in the SERPs. This is nothing but a bad page experience.
Website image optimization improves images, decreases load times, and lessens the load of network resources.
Since May 2021, page load time is now officially a ranking factor for Google making website speed an integral part of SEO campaigns.
This can be made a lot easier with Image Optimization Plugins.
What is Image Optimization?
Optimizing web images is a method of producing high-quality images in the proper format, dimension, size, and resolution and making sure it is in the smallest possible size.
Why is Image Optimization important for page speed?
Page speed has become a very significant factor when it comes to your site’s traffic and rankings.
Sites that operate fast do better than slow sites when you observe Google’s search engine rankings, everything else being equal. Large and unoptimized images make your website slow and clunky.
Your users will not have the patience to wait around for your website to load and will lose interest. Optimizing your images in the right manner will ensure that it loads quickly.
Google measures the Core Web Vitals score of your web pages and other ranking factors before pushing you up.
Core Web Vitals is a page experience metric that interprets the page load speed, interactivity, and visual stability. They are the speed metrics that are a component of Google’s Page Experience signals.
The metrics measure the visual load with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), interactivity with First Input Delay (FID), and visual stability with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
In the current years, Google has been trying to provide a more reliable internet experience. The search engine company has lifted the page-ranking bar higher than ever.
Their algorithm updates have taken webpage owners by wonder, leaving them to deal with the outcome.
Google’s approach, however, has changed since Core Web Vitals (CVW) came about.
Some Ways to Optimize Images
Optimizing your image generally works by eliminating all the additional data that is saved in the image to reduce the size of the file of your image depending on where it has to be used in your website.
Here are the most well-known ways to optimize your images:
- Diminish the white space around your images: Most of the developers use whitespace for padding which is not a good choice. Crop your images to eliminate any whitespace around the image. You can also make use of CSS for padding.
- Use proper file formats: If you have some simple graphics, then you can use a format like a GIF and save the file with fewer colors. If they are more complex graphics then you can use JPG file format to save your images.
- Save images in the proper dimensions: If you need to use HTML or CSS to resize your images, you should stop right there. You need to save the image in the required size to reduce the file size.
- Mobile-First Image Optimization: Any actions you take have to be according to a mobile-first SEO strategy since Google shifted to mobile-first rankings. Any image needs to look the same on mobile as well as on any desktop device.
- You can also make use of quality Image Optimization Plugins which take up less space.
Usually, many people prefer to optimize images by doing it before they upload them to WordPress. Though, if you are operating a multi-author site or require an automated solution, then using an image compression plugin is the best option.
You can make use of Image Optimization Plugins to compress the images so they do not take up much space. You will still be able to use the images your readers will want to see and your site will still load fast.
This article contains a list of 4 of the best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins you should use.
Best Image Optimization Plugins
1. ShortPixel Image Optimization
ShortPixel is one of the most lightweight and easy-to-use Image Optimization Plugins. You can use it to compress all your images or even PDF documents with just a single click.
ShortPixel offers plenty of features like
- Three different types of image compression: ShortPixel image compressor presents you with three types of image compression i.e., lossy, glossy, and lossless.
- Supports various image formats: Even though JPEG and PNG are the most commonly used image formats, ShortPixel image optimizer offers you more. They even support GIF, WebP, PDF files.
- Automated image optimization: Image optimization is needed but it is a time-consuming job. There are several tools you can use to manually compress your images.
- ShortPixel image optimizer CDN: ShortPixel provides a content delivery network for your images. It helps your viewers to reach your content in a short time. ShortPixel also helps in compressing your image and storing it in their database to serve various times.
ShortPixel offers monthly plans as well as one-time plans.
The free plan works for small websites, who do not need many images monthly.
The monthly plans begin at $4.99 for processing 5,000 images monthly and can go up to $29.99 for 55,000 images per month.
2. ShortPixel Adaptive Images
An easy to use a new plugin that can solve your website’s image-related problems within a couple of minutes.
With just a single click, ShortPixel Adaptive Images restores all your images with accurately sized and optimized images and offloads them to the ShortPixel’s global CDN.
It has a responsive design that makes web pages present the ideal image size on various devices and screen sizes.
- Same visual quality and smaller images because of ShortPixel algorithms
- Smart cropping
- Serves only properly sized images based on the visitor’s viewport
- Caching as well as Serving from a global CDN
- Support for JPEG, PNG, WebP, GIF, BMP, TIFF
- Traffic is not counted
Pros of ShortPixel and ShortPixel Adaptve Images
- Optimization for all types of files
- Supports Webp image compression
- Single-Click backup & restore
- In-Depth Analytics
- Easy Setup
- Image safety & privacy
- ShortPixel’s Flexible Pricing
Cons of ShortPixel
- Panoramic images can be blurred
- Can’t define a specific file size range to be filtered out in image compression in WordPress
You can read more about ShortPixel (SPIO) vs ShortPixel Adaptive (SPAI) here.
The free tier gets 100 image optimization credits, which is 500MB of CDN traffic. Paid plans start at $4.99. There are only monthly plans available.
I have been using ShortPixel Adaptive Images for a while now and I think it is awesome!
WP Smush is a popular WordPress plugin that enables you to optimize images without having to lose quality. WP Smush is a strong image optimizer that will work in any kind of situation.
This is one of the Image Optimization Plugins that can compress all your images immediately.
- Remove unused data and compress images without changing image quality.
- Defer offscreen images easily.
- Optimize & compress around 50 images with a single click.
- You will have the option to set a maximum width and height and large sized images will scale down as they are getting compressed.
- Instantly locate images that are slowing down your site.
- Asynchronously auto-smush attachments for quick compression on upload.
Pros of Smush
- Easy to use
- Build smush up to 50 images at a time
- Optimize new images without having to go through the entire process.
- Get more out of your images without reducing the load time.
Cons of Smush
- The plugin will not give you control over how much you optimize your desired image
- The performance difference is not as significant as you get with other methods.
With Smush, you can optimize unlimited images for free. There is a premium plugin with the WPMUDEV development package for $49 per month.
4. EWWW Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimization Cloud is an effective tool for speeding up your WordPress website. It is created to develop your page speed with comprehensive image optimization features.
The Image Optimization plugin prevents your off-screen images from loading and presents compressed images to enhance the experience of your visitors
- Images are compressed, sized to fit the page, lazy-loaded, and transformed to the next-gen WebP format.
- Optimize all your images from one page. This involves the Media Library, your theme, and preconfigured folders
- Compression ratio with Premium compression for JPG, PNG, and PDF files.
- Optimize everything on your website, not only the WordPress Media Library.
- All communications are guarded with top SSL encryption
Pros of EWWW Image Optimizer
- The Image Optimization plugin will automatically optimize any new image which you upload
- Offers JPG, GIF, PNG, and PDF optimization
- No file size or Number restrictions.
- Easy to use
- Cloud optimization feature
Cons of EWWW Image Optimizer
- File size savings is considerably less
- Can put a strain on your web server if you optimize too many images at once.
- The free version is limited to the lossless compressions that decrease image size by almost 10%
You can get a 7-day free trial, after which the software is available across pricing ranges:
- Standard – $7 per month for 1 site
- Growth – $15 per month for 10 sites
- Infinite – $25 per month for unlimited sites.
This plugin extends different levels of compression, so you can obtain a balance between performance and quality. After you enable it, all your images will be automatically optimized when uploaded to WordPress.
You can use Imagify to convert WebP images, which will decrease the size of your website making it quicker.
- Optimize regular images, thumbnails, as well as retina images
- Compress all your current image files in bulk.
- Three different levels of compression
- Normal – Minimum compression
- Aggressive – Medium compression (Default)
- Ultra – Maximum compression
- Store your full-sized images in a secure backup, so they can be restored whenever you want.
Pros of Imagify
- Easy to use and effective image optimization tool
- Trimming the extra weight of the image without compromising the quality
- Fast loading
- The minimal interface makes it easy to use
Cons of Imagify
- Cannot exceed the limit of 5MB for Imagify with free accounts.
The free plugin allows you to optimize 25MB of data per month while the paid plans begin at $4.99 per month for 500mb of data.
All of these WordPress Image Compression Plugins can help you in speeding up your site. But how do you choose the most suitable one for you?
- ShortPixel – Reliable, Best compression, smoothest interface and fairly cheap.
- Imagify – Best compression, features, and interface.
- Smush – For unlimited lossless compression
- EWWW –Free and no file size limits.
When you are choosing a plugin, you should always pay attention to its features, when they are updated, and which versions it is compatible with.