Websites need to be speedy if they are to please fickle visitors who click away if pages don’t immediately appear. Speed is also essential for ranking highly in search engine results. Here are 3 online tools for optimising images.
The speed of a website is not just about images of course, and there are many factors to consider. However, images are often the biggest cause of a slow performing website and it is the easiest way to boost the speed.
All you have to do is to optimise he images. This requires you to do two things:
- Resize an image so that it is no bigger than it needs to be
- Shrink the file size as much as possible without compromising the quality
The best size for an image on a website varies, but usually an image in a post article it should be no more than about 700 pixels wide.
Some WordPress themes have a large header image on the home page or at the start of articles, so there may be one or two images that are larger than 700 pixels, but mostly that is plenty big enough.
You should use a photo editor on the computer or on your phone or tablet to resize or crop images so they are no more than 700 pixels.
How do you shrink the file size? Resizing an image to no more than 700 pixels will reduce the file size, but further savings can be made by optimising the image, such as using JPEG compression or by reducing a PNG file from 24-bit to 8-bit.
All this can be done manually, but fortunately, you don’t need to because there are online tools that can optimise images for you. Here are three.
Shortpixel is an image compression service that has a useful free account option. This enables you to optimise up to 100 images a month. You can also optimise up to 50 images without creating an account.
Using it is straightforward and there is a cyan box in the centre of the pages. One or more images can be dragged from the PC or Mac disk and dropped on it to upload them.
The images are optimised and then appear as thumbnail images. On the thumbnail is the percentage reduction in file size, the original and optimised file sizes, a download button and a view button.
Click the View button and quite a clever gadget appears. The original image appears on the left and the optimised image is on the right. A slider lets you adjust the split and you can easily see the image before and after being optimised.
Shortpixel worked well and the images were optimised as well as I could achieve manually. The advantage is that it is quicker and requires no effort.
EWWW Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimizer is another free online image optimiser and it has some limitations, but they probably won’t affect you. There is a drop zone in the middle of the page and images can be dragged from the computer’s disk and dropped on it to upload them.
- Up to 20 images at a time can be uploaded
- They must be under 2MB
- Optimised images are available for 30 minutes afterwards
Those restrictions are reasonable and this is a great way to optimise images for your site. After uploading an image, it does its magic and then displays a text listing showing the original size and compressed size, plus a download link so it can be saved to disk.
There are lossless (PNG) and lossy (JPEG) options and the results were excellent. I couldn’t tell the compressed JPEG photo from the original, even though it was little more than a third of the size.
Imagify has a free account option (all accounts start with a free trial) and this limits you to 25MB of images a month. There is also a 25MB sign-up bonus too.
As with the other services there is a dropzone on the page and files can be dragged from the computer’s disk and dropped on it to upload them. The maximum size of an image is 2MB.
There are Normal, Aggressive and Ultra compression settings and these affect the quality and size of the optimised image.
As images are processed, they are added to a list further down the page and it shows the filename, original and optimised file size, and there is a download link.
I tried a few test files and unfortunately did not get very good results. Images were always smaller than the original, so there were some savings, but they were nowhere hear the level of the other two image optimisation services. JPEG images compressed by 5% for example, where as the other two compressed images by 60% or more.
I cannot recommend this image optimiser.