Having great images on your WordPress site can have a tremendous impact on your posts and your site as a whole, but using great images and having optimized images is two entirely different things. Compressing your images is one of the easiest and fastest ways to reduce the load time of your website, which can improve your SEO and the user experience.
Image optimization is not to be confused with image compression. Image compression is usually the method of reducing the actual pixels used in your image, such as scaling an image down from and 8 megapixel photo to an image that is 600×400 pixels. Image optimization is the process of reducing the image file size without deleting pixels or creating artifacts in your image. There are a host of different ways to make sure that your images are optimized to decrease your site’s load time while still looking great, we are going to cover a few of the best current options for doing so.
Smush.it by Yahoo is perhaps the most well known image compression tool used by WordPress bloggers. This plugin is great because it automatically compresses all the images that you upload to your WordPress website in the background. This means that there is no extra step in your normal process, you just upload images as normal and the rest is taken care of for you. If you are looking for a no hassle way to ensure that your images are always optimized for the web, then this is your tool. Smush.it is also available as a stand alone service if you are not using WordPress for your website.
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Use the Web App
One of the new players to the image compression game, JPEGmini is an excellent option for compressing images for your website. This tool operates differently than most other compression tools because it uses an algorithm that is based on optics. This tool really can create some great results, and even seems to outperform the standard compression that you can get directly from Photoshop. They let you preview and compare the original file with their optimized image directly on the website so that you can see the image has lost almost no quality while being compressed down to a much smaller file size. You can use the web upload option, download the app for your Mac, or install the software on your server. We recommend using the App on your Mac or using the web software for most people, but installing it on your server could be a great option if you know what you are doing.
Use the Web App
Get the Mac App
Install it on your server
EWWW Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimizer is a similar option to Smush.it, with a few key differences. The main difference is that the software is hosted directly on your servers. This differs from Yahoo’s service where the photos are sent from your website to Yahoo’s servers where they are compressed and then sent back to your website. EWWW can give you quicker turnaround times as well as increased privacy due to it being self-hosted. This isn’t quite as easy to use as Smush.it, as you have to do a little more work than installing a simple plugin, but the benefits could be very well worth it if you are looking for a self hosted and automated solution.
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What other apps do you love to use for image optimization? Let us know in the comments!