A big part of increasing the speed of your website is image optimization. As of Version 5.8, WordPress now supports the WebP Improve images . This file format is 30% smaller than JPEG or PNG, which means images load faster.
Of course, using a premium file format is only one way to enhance your photos. You can still get a lot in terms of performance from optimized JPEG and PNG images. In fact, there are a lot of tools that make this easy.
Today, I’m going to cover a variety of ways to optimize images and improve the speed of your website.
What is WebP ?
WebP is an image format created by Google in 2010. It is smaller than traditional file formats such as JPEG and PNG, while at the same time offering superior compression without data loss.
As a result, websites that use WebP are faster than those that do not use WebP. So how does it work
Without going into the technique, WebP compression with loss uses predictive encryption technology. Basically, it only looks at a small part of the code in neighboring pixel blocks and predicts what the rest will look like.
Whereas non-lossy WebP compression uses the image data it has already viewed to reconstruct the image.
Just keep in mind that not all browsers support WebP as a file format. The good news is that most major companies do this, which include Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Opera.
This covers more than 95% of the total web and mobile traffic, so you don’t have to worry too much.
The best plugins for improving photos
In this article, I’m going to review some of the best plugins to enhance your photos for WebP. Next, I’ll go over some tools that you can use right now to start creating simplified visuals for your website.
1. EWWW photo enhancer
If you have ever looked at the speeds of your site and went to “ewww”, you may want to try EWWW Image Optimizer . It specializes in optimizing images in WordPress and supports a variety of file formats including WebP. You may also like to check out the article on how to install plugins in WordPress
And most importantly, it also works on any images from other plugins. This means no compatibility problems!
The extension allows you to specify the type of compression you want to use for each file type, and yes, you can get different options for different files. After that, you can use a complex procedure to start improving your photos.
Optimizing individual photos is very fast, usually in less than a minute, unless the file is very large. However, if you are doing a group procedure, expect the process to take several minutes, especially on large websites.
Smush is the most popular WordPress image optimizer with over a million active installs. This is because it goes beyond just optimizing images. Instead, it adds other features such as slow loading to increase the page speed.
Of course, the bread and butter of the plugin is image optimization, in which it excels.
It covers all common file types, but it is worth noting that WebP is not available in the free version. However, the accessibility of this plugin compensates for this. Unlike many other optimization components, it bypasses the media library.
Any images found outside the media library will be automatically optimized. It also deals with resizing the image during the compression process, so you can kill two birds with one stone. And you can view all optimization statistics directly in the image template.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer is a free image enhancement plugin . Users are offered 100 Tokens every month, where one photo requires one token. However, the main difference is that these free codes give you access to excellent compression.
In comparison, you will need to purchase the Pro version in other plug-ins to match the quality.
Now there is one big problem with this system, and this is how WordPress handles images. WordPress actually makes multiple copies of your photos in different sizes, and each of these sizes already occupies a token. Thus, it is not really a one-to-one ratio.
However, for a new website, This is a very good tool to use since you probably won’t have to optimize 100 images per month. Especially on a smaller blog. It can also help convert any JPEG, PNG or GIF to WebP format.
4.Improve photos with compression JPEG & PNG Images
While Compress JPEG & PNG Images does not cope with the WebP file format, it does an excellent job with JPEG and PNG files. And for many websites, this is more than enough, especially if you are not using an editing program that supports WebP.
However, there are a lot of free editing tools that work, so be sure to check out this section below.
This plugin offers 500 compression operations for free every month. However, it faces the same problem as the last plugin; it optimizes all copies of images. Thus, it is closer to 100 photos, but this is more than enough for newer websites.
It is also worth noting that this add-on is fully compatible with WooCommerce, but recommends caution. WooCommerce seems to be trying to recreate the image metadata on every page visit. This could end up eating up your monthly credits.
5.Image optimization through Optimus-WordPress Image Optimizer
Optimus WordPress Image Optimizer is another great tool to consider when you want to enhance images in WordPress. It can help reduce the image size by up to 70%, which definitely helps speed up your pages.
Now, it should be noted that although there is a free option, it is most likely not useful for many sites.
This is because there is a limit of 100 KB, which most files will naturally exceed, especially those that need optimization. Also, many settings work only in the Pro version, so you will end up paying at some point.
However, the services provided by the extension are great and the reduction of the image is very noticeable. I worked with all major types of image files, including WebP. The group action is easy to use and the time is reasonable, but as always, large websites take longer.
6. Imagify – Optimize your Images & Convert WebP
Imagify is a great option for websites looking for a freemium option to enhance photos. It gives you a large monthly limit that is not measured by the number of photos, but rather, by their size.
Every month you can improve up to 20 MB of photos for free. And this can be a lot for developers who know how to manage photos.
It supports all standard file types including PDF files and will create a WebP file, assuming you checked the box, every time it optimizes an image. It provides users with three levels of optimization: normal, aggressive, and super.
Each level improves the compression function, and if you are not satisfied, you can use the backup option to restore the original and choose a different level of optimization. This helps you figure out what works best for your photos.
7.Improve photos through WebP Express
If you are looking to convert all the images on your website to WebP file format, there is no better option than the WebP Express plugin . Websites offer a variety of ways to do this and only offer them on WebP-enabled browsers.
For visitors who do not use browsers, which is rare, they will be offered the original JPEG or PNG version.
This extension uses the WebP Convert library to convert JPG and PNG files to WebP. Some websites may have a problem depending on their web server. In these cases, you may have to use a cloud solution, for which the extension provides options.
Just keep in mind that these are premium features. The end result is a much faster website, but keep in mind some limitations. For example, gravatar images will not be converted because they are stored on Gravatar servers.
You need to host the image for the extension to work.
WebP editing tools
Now if you use Photoshop or other editing tools, you may notice that most of them do not originally support the WebP format. The odds are that this will change over time as a result of WordPress adopting the file format, but when this will remain a mystery.
In the meantime , you will need a tool for creating and editing WebP images, fortunately, there are a lot of free options available such as:
- RealWorld Paint
And what I really recommend is PhotoPea.
When it comes to Photoshop alternatives, there is no better option than Photopea . It looks almost identical to Photoshop, so users should feel at home. However, there are two main differences.
Photopea natively supports the WebP image file format and is completely free to use.
In fact, you don’t even need to create an account to use this program. Photopea works directly through your web browser, but all files are saved on your computer, which can make switching computers problematic. Although this can be easily solved through cloud storage.
And as you might expect, since it does not have a dedicated application on your computer, the performance may be somewhat deficient. Complex images with a lot of layers may take several minutes of loading.
However, Photopea is free and works very well with PSD and other image files to convert them to WebP.
Slow loading is your best friend
Of course, even with WebP, there are limits to how small your image can be. However, there are other techniques that you can take advantage of to improve your load times in relation to images, with Lazy Loading being at the forefront.
Lazy Loading is a technique in which only visual images are loaded. For example, imagine a long page with a lot of photos. Is it reasonable for visitors to wait for the photos to be uploaded below
Most of them will probably say no, and that’s exactly what slow loading is. It only loads what the visitor can see when the page loads.
If they choose to scroll down, which we will not all face, the rest of the images will load as they scroll. This can significantly speed up pages with a lot of images because the amount of initial loading is cut.
Better optimization, faster speeds , better experience
You should go without saying, but a faster website is just a better experience. And most importantly, this is what visitors expect in 2022.
One of the main problems that most websites face comes from poorly optimized images. Many beginners fail to recognize what image sizes should look like, and often use files larger than megabytes in size.
In fact, photos rarely exceed a few hundred kilobytes.
The good news is that optimizing images has never been easier, and WordPress has a lot of plugins that can help you do this. This will not only improve the visitor experience, but will boost your search engine ranking.
Speed is one of the few factors we know for sure when it comes to search, and that’s because Google told everyone.