Image Optimization: are your photos too big?
Optimizing images for speed is a key to running a fast-loading WordPress site, and one of the most common reasons why a website may take too long to appear.
The best way to optimize your photographs or illustrations is to begin before even uploading them into WordPress. Photoshop has an option to save an image as a .JPG, and ‘Save for Web’. If a website owner does not have access to Photoshop, there are some handy plugins such as:
Free Image Optimizer
This free and easy online service resizes and compress your images. There’s also a downloadable desktop version. As simple as it can be!
TinyPNG is a popular tool for smart lossy compression methods to resize PNG files. While it takes away some colors in the images, it is undetectable to the human eye, but great for increasing load speed.
Compressor takes large files and reduces them by up to 90% without difference in quality. Highly recommended for professional photographers with detailed images that can slow down a website.
All are of these options are popular and easy to navigate for beginners. All of these plugins and tools assist to reduce image size without losing the high quality desired.
Use a gallery plugin to display photography & art
If your website focuses on photography, photojournalism, fine art, or represents multiple professionals in these fields, a gallery plugin is the way to go. Choosing the right plugin is key as not all are created equal in terms of not only aesthetics, but speed.
Many websites use galleries to present work in a comprehensive, clean design that compliments the look and feel. While WordPress offers a photo gallery plugin, some users have found this default option has a slow performance. It can also clash aesthetically with a desired design.
Out of the most popular WordPress galleries, Envira wins the race as the fastest (and free). Envira is the highest rated for it’s easy of use and adherence to WordPress code, which make it a breeze to install for beginners. Runner up for high-speeds is NextGEN and Foo Gallery. All are mobile-friendly, fast and responsive options for all levels of creative professionals.