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Many images contain extra bytes within them that are unnecessary. It’s quite simple: smaller images means your site loads faster, which improves your user’s experience and their likelihood to return. Since site performance is now a factor in Google’s rankings, anything you can do to optimize your images will more than likely also benefit your SEO.
I am always looking for solutions and the best ones are those that WordPress users can implement with the least amount of hassle and frustration. That’s why I’d like to recommend the WP Smush.it Plugin for easy image optimization.
What is Smush.it?
Smush.it is an open source image optimization project offered through Yahoo’s YSlow analyzation for high performance websites and developed according to their best practices for speeding up your website.
Smush.it uses optimization techniques specific to image format to remove unnecessary bytes from image files. It is a “lossless” tool, which means it optimizes the images without changing their look or visual quality.
Luckily, this has been made into a plugin for WordPress users. The WP Smush.it Plugin makes image optimization for WordPress as easy as install and activate. After you’ve done this you can check to see the percentage by which your images have been reduced by visiting your WordPress media library.
Benefits of WP Smush.it Plugin:
- Strips meta data from JPEGs
- Optimizes JPEG compression
- Converts certain GIFs to indexed PNGs
- Strips the un-used colours from indexed images
As a quick test, I went ahead and installed this on a small/medium-sized WordPress site with approximately 80 images contained within posts and pages. I was able to reduce most of the images by approximately 37-53% on average for each.
The only thing I wish the plugin included was a batch processor for retroactively optimizing images that were uploaded before you installed the plugin, because you have to smush the images one by one in the media library, which isn’t very convenient. Once it is installed it will automatically smush images you upload. Other than that small issue, this is a great plugin for optimizing the images on smaller to medium sized blogs or simple WordPress as CMS sites and will offer a boost in performance.