The Page Speed Factor
Page loading time is a significant factor in the success of every website. The time it takes a page to load can determine whether a visitor makes a purchase or leaves your site to look elsewhere. It can even affect your site’s search engine rankings. For these and other reasons it is important that you take the time to optimize your site wherever possible.
Optimize your images for the web
One fairly simple way to cut down on page load time is to optimize the images you use on your website. This is especially important if you have a lot of image-heavy pages. So if you run a photography, art, news or other “gallery” website you will definitely want to take the time to optimize your images.
Step 1: Figure out the minimum dimensions your image should be
If the image you are optimizing is going to be used as a full-screen hero image then you will probably not want to scale it any smaller than 1920px by 1080px. And if your image is being used in a blog post template with a width of 960px then you will want to keep it at least 960px wide. So for each image, find the various places it is being used and figure out the minimum size it should be to avoid being stretched.
Step 2: Scale and optimize your images in Photoshop
Once you know the minimum size for each image, open it in Photoshop and go to File > Export > Save for Web. Depending on how you are using the image in your website (blurry background, crisp banner image, etc.) you can adjust the settings to your liking. If your image has a transparent background (maybe the image is a cutout of a person or animal on a transparent background) you will want to select PNG-24. If your image is a picture of a landscape (no transparent background) you will want to choose JPEG. When selecting a JPEG you will also need to select the Quality. I will just tell you that out of all the JPEGs I save, 99% of the time I select a quality of 60(%). That setting almost always results in a nice small image size.
Step 3: Install the EWWW Image Optimizer plugin
Before uploading images to your site you will want to go ahead and install the image optimizer plugin. I usually recommend and use EWWW Image Optimizer for the websites I build and optimize. You can search for the plugin in the WordPress plugin directory directly in your WordPress admin. I typically leave the default settings as they typically work great out of the box.
And that’s it! All of your future uploaded images will automatically be optimized by the plugins. If you have uploaded images to your media library before installing this plugin you can follow the next step. Otherwise, you are done!
Step 4: Bulk optimize your images
To run EWWW Image Optimizer’s bulk image optimizer, simply go to Media > Bulk Optimize in your WordPress admin menu and click the “Start Optimizing” button to begin optimizing all of the images in your media library. Leave that page open until the optimizer shows that it is 100% finished.
And there you have it! Your image heavy pages will now load that much faster.