Have You Done Enough to Optimize Images for WordPress on Your Website?
If you’ve been making websites for even just a short amount of time, you’re bound to have figured out that large image files really slow down your website. “OK”, you probably said to yourself, “I’ll just use the ‘Save for Web and Device’ option when saving my photos and then, Voilá! I’ll have smaller, web-sized photos.” Right?
Yeah, I thought the same thing too. At first it seemed fine. All the images I was using on a client’s website were under 100 KB each, and that’s what “they” say is a good goal, right? So I didn’t worry too much. But as time went on and the website accumulated more and more images, even those small files started to add up to a big tax on the loading speed of the website.
I could have tried to compress the images further on my own and re-uploaded them. But I was not about to spend the time it took to do that for over a thousand image files. Not to mention, when you upload images to WordPress, it creates a different file for each size. So, even just replacing your original image would not necessarily help as much as you might assume.
I tried to figure out how to compress the images even more without making them look any different and without taking up a ton of my time. After pondering this for a while, I came across a post about speeding up your website that had just the solution I was looking for.
A commenter on the post suggested that you access your website via FTP and download the “uploads” folder. (That’s the place where everything goes that you upload through the media gallery.) Using a program called Image Optim, you can compress the entire “uploads” folder without changing any of the interior structure of the folder. You just drag the “uploads” folder into Image Optim and let it do it’s thing. It gets rid of unnecessary meta data and compresses your images losslessly (without diminishing how the image looks).
After the folder has been optimized, you upload it back onto your website, overwriting the files that were already there. Presto! All the images on your site are now smaller.
This worked so well for me! Of course, when I was doing this I didn’t realize I was going to want to write a blog post about it, so I didn’t take any screen shots. The average compression rate for my images was under 10%. It doesn’t sound like all that much but, there were so many photos that it actually saved over 1 MB total!
My plan is now to save images for the Web and then run them through Image Optim before uploading them to the website. That will help ensure that all the images are as small as they can be while still looking great.
What about you? What is your favorite way to compress images for the web?