Image is an important part of any post. Posts with images can attract relatively higher number of readers than post without images. Images give visual information to its readers and enhance the readability of post. But heavy sized images can significantly slow down the loading speed of the page. You surely can decrease the number of images to minimize this slow loading problem of the page. However, this is not a complete solution. The best thing you can do is optimize the images. Optimizing images not only improve the page load time, it also improves the score on tools like Google Page Speed Insight.This post is a guide to optimizing images with WP smush plugin.
Caching, database optimization, compression and using CDN are few other methods to speed up WordPress website. You can also check our previous article on “Easy Ways to Speed Up Your WordPress Site”. In this article we will discuss about optimizing images to decrease the loading time of the page with a WordPress Plugin called WP Smush
Guide to Optimizing Images with WP Smush Plugin
If you are expert in Photoshop, or other photo-editing software, reducing images sizes wouldn’t be any problem. But if you’ve already tons of images in your site, and have suddenly decided to reduce image file sizes, then editing each and every one of the images on your website requires a huge amount of time and effort.
There are many free and premium plugins that help to achieve the task without the need to Photoshop or any other online tools. WP Smush is one of the popular WordPress Plugin that allows you to optimize and compress images without losing any quality. WP Smush is very easy to use, and it starts the optimization process as soon as you start uploading image. You can also optimize your existing images in a bulk.
Installation of WP Smush
- Log in to your Admin Dashboard. Go to Plugins > Add New
- Search for keyword “WP Smush” in the search box.
- Install the plugin with the name “WP Smush – Image Optimization “
- Activate the plugin by going through the ‘Plugins > Installed Plugins‘ in WordPress.
- Configure your desired settings via the ‘Media > WP Smush’ settings page.
General Settings and Options:
You have the following Common settings available with WP smush plugin:
- Automatically smush my images on upload: Enabling this setting will automatically optimize newly added images while it is being uploaded.
- Preserve image EXIF data: You can choose to retain or remove the EXIF data like camera settings, focal length, date time and location information. Enabling this option makes image file slightly larger.
- Resize original images: This allows you to set maximum height and width. The large image will be automatically scaled saving you tons of space.
You just have to activate the Smush Plugin and whenever you upload an image, it gets compressed automatically. If your images are not being compressed automatically make sure you have enabled the option ‘Automatically smush my images on upload’ in the WP Smush settings page as mentioned above.
For smushing all old images in your Media library you can follow these steps
Smushing Individual images
- Navigate to Media > library
- Select the image you want to smush.
- Click on the Smush now button against each individual images.
After optimizing you can see the smush stat of each optimized image
Smushing Images in a Bulk
- Navigate to Media > WP smush.
- Click on the “Bulk Smush now” button.
You can smush upto 50 images at a time.
Testing WP smush with Google PageSpeed Insight Tool
In Google PageSpeed Insights tool, we first test the webpage having non-optimized images. The Google PageSpeed Insights tool considers “Optimize images” issue as a high priority issue. Under the ‘Should Fix’ category, the tool suggests to fix the issue of optimizing images.
Now we install WP Smush and activate the plugin. We go to Media > Library and smush all the images of the webpage. Now we test the same page again with the Google PageSpeed insight tool. The previously appeared “Optimize images” issue was moved from “Should fix” to “Consider Fixing” category. This also improves the score.
Hence we can conclude that WP smush improves the page speed score on Google which is an important factor for SEO.
Alternatives of WP Smush
There are several alternative tools and plugins that allow you to optimize your images. Many of these tools give you more control on how you want to optimize your images. This can result into even smaller file sizes and faster page loads.
After installation, EWWW Image Optimizer automatically optimizes images as you upload them. It also has the ability to optimize your entire media catalog in case you have lots of previously uploaded images. The ability to convert file formats helps to create smaller size images and optimization process in its own server makes this plugin faster than any other optimizer plugin.
The Kraken Image Optimizer enables you to optimize PNG, JPG, and GIF files through its own API. The ability to manually set the values for quality of your image gives users more control. Some useful settings that the plugin has are preserving the EXIF metadata, establishing a maximum resolution for your images and setting the limit for bulk processing.
Optimus comes with simple settings and can be a good choice if you don’t want to customize in detail of optimization process. This plugin optimizes the files you upload, along with the multiple sized images that WordPress automatically creates for these media files (i.e. thumbnail, small, medium, and large).
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