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Speed up your WordPress site with image optimisation

Posted on 3/3/14 in Websites

The speed of your website is vitally important these days. Users with high expectations and short attention spans are quick to move on to the next thing if your site doesn’t load in a flash.

Google has even started factoring in the speed of sites to its ranking algorithm.
It has never been more important.

There are a number if factors that effect the speed of your website – but the one we’re going to look at today is images. Great images are a must for any website – they convey information rapidly and effectively, and introduce emotion to the website. But they can also be quite sizeable files – which means a slower loading website.

One way you can minimise the impact of large images is to optimise them. This simply refers to cutting the size of the files down, while keeping the visual quality of them mostly the same. The designer of your website should have done his part and optimised all the images in the design or theme – so hopefully you are ok there.

But what about the images you are loading as content? Sometimes we load MASSIVE images in WordPress in order to insert them into the site. WordPress does a great job of resizing the dimensions – but doesn’t do a great deal to optimise the image quality.

WP Smush.it screenshot

That’s where this great little plugin comes in – WP Smush.it. This plugin is based on technology from Yahoo that brings together a bunch of command-line (read:nerdy) image optimisation tools. The upshot is that it can optimise your images AS you upload them – making sure they are as small as possible.

You can also run the tool on all your existing media files – to slim them down as well. There’s really not a downside – as the tool runs in the admin – it’s a plugin that doesn’t add anything to the front of your site – all it does is make the images load quicker.

So what are you waiting for? go get it!

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