Guide to Mastering Image Optimization for WordPress
Images are an integral part of good websites. They attract visitors, make your content compelling and encourage visitors to take an immediate action. But, when you add high resolution images to your site, it could make your website slow. Generally, visitors just hate slow websites because they don’t have the patience to wait. Even search engines dislike sluggish websites and downgrade their ranking in search results.
To be honest, images consume around 63% of the bandwidth used by modern websites and they can be a major contributor to the size of your web pages. So, you need to reduce the size of images to improve the quality of your post and website in general. Let’s know how you can make your WordPress site load fast with Image Optimization.
1. Compress Images
Unnecessarily large images and high-resolution photos consume your resources and make your website slow. If you set these images at lower resolution and compress them to a lower file size, this will speed up your site greatly.
If you compress each and every image of your website manually, it will consume a lot of time. You can use some WordPress image optimization Plugins to compress images automatically. These Plugins optimize new and old images of your website easily.
2. Use Content distribution networks
Many times, All online SEO practices don’t help you to dispatch contents quickly to users who are living in geographically distant areas. To reach out such users, you can use a content delivery network. It helps you to place your site’s images and other files on servers all over the world in an easy way.
When a user look for image contents, then the CDN make them available using the nearest sever. This increases the speed of page loads up to a great extent.
3. Select The Right Image Format
Apart from the size and dimension, the format you choose is very important in image optimization and utilization. Have a look at some commonly used image formats:
- GIF: It is suitable for creating animated images.
- JPEG: This format is extensively used for most of the websites all over the world. You can choose this format if you want to use images with various colors or gradients such as photographs, graphics, line drawings, etc.
- PNG: Using this format helps you to ensure easy compression of images and their quality. This format is suitable for you if want to use the professional images or computer-generated pictures, screenshots and logos.
4. Use the Image Caption
Most of the webmasters and SEO professional ignore this point while using images in a post. It is true that image caption is not mandatory in all cases. But, when your image is a screenshot for a particular topic, you need to add the caption so that people may easily understand the main idea of your content. Apart from this, adding image captions can help you in SEO efforts that you implement to increase your site’s traffic and viability.
5. Define the Alt Attribute for All Images on your site
It’s a fact that search engines can’t understand what an image content is talking about. To solve this problem, you need to use alt tags to convey your message to the search engine crawlers. Let’s understand this with an example-
If you want to explain “Top 5 water resistant smartphones“ to search engines with an image, then your alt tag should be like this:
PLACE IMAGE “waterproof phone” HERE
<img src=”smartphone.png” alt=”Top 5 water resistant smartphones”>
So, don’t ignore this important aspect of image optimization. To create good alt tags, use straightforward and short description with keywords.
6. Use Lazy loading Plugin
SEO professional use a number of images while creating a post or updating websites. But, it is not mandatory to load all images on a page quickly. When you install a lazy loading Plugin on your site, images gets loaded only when users scroll through the page.
Suppose that one of your website posts has 10 images in total. All images will not be loaded when people visit that particular page. They will get loaded when users scroll down to view them. It doesn’t help the page load quickly in general. But, with progressive JPEGs, it can decrease the loading time up to a great extent.
7. Make Your Images Responsive
Web developers try to make a website responsive to all devices. This helps users to access a website through a wide range of devices such as PC, laptop, tablets, various mobile devices. But, the bitter truth is that, making your website responsive doesn’t mean that all images will act accordingly.
Actually, when you upload high resolution images to your WordPress site, they can slow down your site up to a great extent. Therefore, you need to resize them so that they can get loaded easily on all devices (of different shape and sizes).
Here, you can use a responsive Images plugin to trace the type of device people are using to visit your site and choose the image size accordingly in advance. Thus, images can easily be loaded properly on all devices.
It is vital for you to optimize your site’s images to save your resources, make your site faster and enhance user experience. If you implement all the above mentioned tips and suggestions honestly, you can easily decrease the impact of images on your site that too without making any compromise in website design.
Lucy Barret is an experienced blogger and a Web Developer by profession. She is an expert of converting PSD design to WordPress theme and has a team of developer to assist her. Follow her on Twitter.