An image equals to thousand words – this proverb indicates the importance of using images to express thoughts. Use of images on your WordPress site is unavoidable and highly encouraged. In our site, in an average we use 3 to 5 images on each single article. Unfortunately every good thing has its own bad effect and using images on a site also has its own problems. One of the major problems is that each image on a page will send a separate http request to the server. This will drastically increase the page loading time and load the page very slow.
The slower the site, search engines will penalize by ranking it lower and the users will not have patience to read slow loading pages in this faster world. In this article we will discuss how to improve the page speed of your WordPress site by serving optimized images to the users. Also check out our article on optimizing images for search engines.
Checking on Google PageSpeed Insights Tool
Google PageSpeed Insights allows seeing the speed score of any webpage from Google’s perspective. Below is how the score is shown for a page without any image optimization.
The problem “Optimize images” is shown under “Should Fix” category with the list of images on the page along with the size / percentage of saving when the compressed image is served.
Why Do I Need to Compress Images?
Google PageSpeed is one indication from SEO perspective but there are lot many other aspects for serving an optimized image to users.
- Reduced size of the image saves lot of network bandwidth of your server. If you are paying hosting based on bandwidth then this will save hefty amount.
- You can also save lot of space on the server. Most of the hosting companies allow limited space for running a site and hence saving space on server will also save your hosting cost.
- Pages will load faster thus providing better user experience.
In summary, optimizing images is not an optional task – it is a mandatory task for a site owner to have a better website in terms of reduced running cost, improved user experience and improved search engine ranking.
How to Fix WordPress Optimize Images Issue?
There are many ways to optimize your images, the well known way is using Photoshop for compression. But this may not be feasible for all WordPress users as it needs investment of both time and money. Also it is a difficult task, if you have thousands of existing images on your site. The simple solution is to use one of the image optimization plugins for WordPress and optimize both existing as well as new images. We tried out all the available plugins and found WP Smush from WPMU DEV is one of the best plugin for this purpose.
Install and activate WP Smush plugin from your WordPress admin dashboard. Navigate to the newly created menu under “Media > WP Smush”. The free version allows you to compress the images of less than 1MB and maximum 50 numbers in bulk. You can also compress individual images directly from the media library.
Now let us smush all the images used on our example page and check the page loading speed on Google PageSpeed tool again.
You can clearly see the score is improved considerably and the “Optimize images” issue is moved under “Consider Fixing” category from “Should Fix” category. Actually all the images are already optimized, but the issue still exist due to AdSense ads displayed on the page.
If you don’t have dynamically generated content like AdSense ads, the “Optimize images” issue will be fixed and moved to “Passed Results” category and the score will further improve.