Do you want to improve the performance of your website by optimizing images on your WordPress site?
For most websites, images account for most of the download size. Whether you’re using your own photographs, or stock images online, it’s important to optimize them to boost the performance of your website.
Image optimization also helps you attract visitors to your site from Google Images search and can be an important part of building a successful website.
Let’s take a look at a few tactics to optimize images in WordPress.
Save Your Images for the Web
If you want to ensure that your website loads faster so that it doesn’t frustrate your visitors, you need to make your image smaller.
In fact, nearly half of your site visitors expect your site to load in less than 3 seconds. And if it fails to load within that time frame, most of them will abandon your site.
When editing and saving your images in an image editor like Adobe Photoshop, using the Save for Web command is the best to reduce the file size of your images. It allows you to adjust the size of your image to the lowest possible without compromising the image quality. If you don’t use Photoshop for image editing, you can use GIMP, a free alternative image editing application, which can do almost everything like Photoshop but a bit less user-friendly.
If you’re after an online tool to edit images, here are a few excellent choices that you may find useful:
- Pixlr Editor: It allows you to edit images just like Photoshop. You’ll find essential tools like Lasso, smudge, blur and much more.
- Fotor: It comes with all the basic image editing features. On top of that, it allows you to add extra effects like a vintage effect to your images.
- Picmonkey: In addition to the basic photo editing features, it lets you create collages and gives you the ability to create covers for your social networking profiles.
Compress Your Images
Using an image compression plugin on your WordPress site is another great strategy to reduce the file size of your images.
Compression helps you to dramatically decrease image size by removing image info algorithmically that a human eye can’t recognize. Image compression can be a great choice if you want to optimize your existing images or even new images on the fly as you upload them to your WordPress site.
The EWWW Image Optimizer plugin is a great choice for compressing high-resolution images on your WordPress site. After activating the plugin, you can optimize all the images automatically as you upload. It also comes with an option to optimize your existing ones.
It’s a no-brainer that removing unnecessary images from your site will make your website load faster. But removing unnecessary images just for boosting the page speed may not be an ideal solution for everyone.
If you want to use a lot of images on your site and also reduce the loading time, you’ll want to enable lazy loading on your website. Lazy loading makes your image load on your site only when it is visible to users.
To enable lazy loading on your WordPress site, simply install the Lazy Load plugin. The plugin works out of the box and doesn’t need any additional configuration.
Replace Images With CSS
Websites often have an assortment of design elements including background images, buttons, etc.
In many cases, you can replace such decorative images with CSS. In addition, you can also generate certain shapes by using simple CSS instead of geometrical shapes like rounded rectangles, gradients, drop shadows and transparent images.
When replacing images with CSS, keep an eye on browser compatibility. Not all the browsers are able to support these techniques, so make sure your website still looks good even if the CSS doesn’t work as intended.
Use Alt Text for Your Images
Do you want to optimize your images for search engines and improve the accessibility of your website?
Then you need to use alt text for your images.
The alt text is a description of the image and its purpose on the page. This description is used by screen readers (browsers used by the blind or visually impaired) to understand what the image is about, and it’s also read by search engine robots. It’s an HTML attribute that looks like this:
<img src=”image.jpg” alt=”image description” title=”image tooltip”/>
Google places a relatively high value on alt text to identify what the image is about and to determine the topic of surrounding text.
Alt text can also be used as text alternative to images when a browser can’t properly render them.
When you upload an image in WordPress, you can set alt text easily. It’s worth taking time to craft a proper alt text for every image you add to your site. This way you can maximize the accessibility of your images and content from search engines.
When you use alt tags for your images, try to explain your images in plain English, but make sure you’re not keyword stuffing to avoid getting penalized by Google for over optimization.
Image optimization has a lot of benefits ranging from attracting visitors seeking Google images to reducing the loading time of your site. Oversized images take longer to load, so it’s important that you keep a balance between display quality and file size.
The above image optimization tactics will help you make your website load faster, and attract potential prospects to your site.