WordPress Image Optimization: Is your plugin broken?

Last week I ran into the quirkiest situation with a slow site.

I wanted to share because it’s preventable and even fixable (and should give you some quick wins, speed-wise).

You might know that we use and recommend ShortPixel for image optimization. Cheapskates think they can just install free Smush or EWWW and the like and be good to go, but no.

ShortPixel image optimization FTW

ShortPixel does such a markedly better job that *I* pay for it when I optimize a site. So, I was amazed when I heard this from the owner of a popular WordPress blog:

“I tried ShortPixel but it didn’t work.”

I knew something was up, because this plugin is hands down the best image optimization option out there.

The blog owner hired me to help her get to the bottom of her website speed issues. Turned out there were some quirks about her images that kept her from really optimizing them.

Now, normally image optimization is a slam-dunk win. In some cases, though, the improvement looks underwhelming because it’s limited by one thing or another.

To make sure you can avoid some of those limitations, we’re sharing the following image-related takeaways from our website speed optimization work.

3 musts for maximizing image optimization

  1. Use ShortPixel. When we optimize sites that have previously used another “premium” (paid) plugin, we get on average a 40% savings in file size. ShortPixel is the best image optimization solution out there – free or paid. Try ShortPixel here »
  2. *Resize* your images. ShortPixel will take care of this for you automatically on upload, if you set it up right.
  3. Use the right file format. PNGs are the worst offenders if used incorrectly. JPEG is better in the most common situations.

Below is a video I made so that I could show you more details and provide a visual walkthrough to help with the tips above.

It is very much off the cuff, so please forgive the lack of slick production.

In the video

  • How to figure out the best image size for your content.
  • Why you can get away with smaller image sizes for backgrounds.
  • How to set up the ShortPixel plugin for the best image optimization.
  • Why you probably shouldn’t keep metadata in your images.
  • Why the PNG file format used incorrectly will explode your website loading time.
  • Should you use Lossy, Glossy or Lossless compression?

Did you ‘unbreak’ your image optimization workflow?

Was this post at all helpful? Or are you still struggling to get better results from your image optimization efforts?

Leave a comment below and let us know. We’ll do our best to help!