An Easy Way to Speed Up Your Website

James Logie
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Are you using too many plug-ins on WordPress?

This can easily happen. There are so many unique plug-ins that before you realize it — you’ve got over 50 all running at the same time.

Too many plug-ins can cause issues for your website, so you want to streamline that list.

But what are some of the best choices if you want your website to be the best it can?

Images are an essential part of any excellent website. From your home page to blog posts, images are key to a good user experience.

Pictures are also important in posts as they help to break up long blocks of text.

But they can slow down your site.

Too many high-quality images take longer to load which can cause issues besides slow speeds. Google penalizes sites that load slowly, and we don’t want to anger Mr. Google...

But maybe even worse than that: slow site speed angers visitors and they just leave.

This is a look at the Shortpixel Image Optimizer plug-in for WordPress, which will compress all your images so they use less data.

This will make your pages load faster, improve user experience, and cause fewer people to bounce.

What Is the Shortpixel Image Optimizer?

This plug-in resizes, compresses, and optimizes images to improve site speed and loading times. This can also help improve your SEO rankings.

The images are now smaller data-wise, but visually similar to the original image.

Images can be reduced by up to 90% but won’t appear too different. Shortpixel supports:

  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • GIF
  • PDF
  • WebP
  • AVIF

Shortpixel has a free version and a premium option. The free version allows you to optimize 100 images a month.

If you need to do more than that — or have years’ worth of images on your sites like I did — there is the premium option.

There are monthly plans and one-time credits. I went with the one-time credit option for $9.99 that lets you optimize 10,000 images.

If you’re just getting started with your website, the free version should serve you nicely.

You also get an API key so you can use the plug-in on multiple sites.

Whichever option you choose, there are various image compression settings that will help cater to your website’s needs.

  1. Lossy Compression: These are the smallest optimized images you can get — but you still get good picture quality. If you have a lot of images on your site, you’ll probably want to go with this option. For the average person, this is still going to be the best choice. If you want fast site speed, this will be the ideal choice without sacrificing image quality.
  2. Glossy Compression: This will give you high image quality. This is the option you want if you don’t mind a slight loss of page speed to get a higher image quality. This setting is still Google-friendly to help your page rankings. If you run a photography site, you may want to go with this setting.
  3. Lossless Compression: This is going to keep your images untouched — but still reduce their data size. Lossless images are pixel-by-pixel identical to the originals, but they give you a smaller size reduction compared to either lossy or glossy processed files.

How To Get Started

It really is simple. You can get very specific with all the settings and adjustments, but we’ll keep this as basic as possible, which will be fine for most websites.

You can start by going to “add new plug-in” on your WordPress dashboard and searching for Shortpixel. Install it, then activate it.

Next, you’ll go to the plug-in settings to configure it. If you’re not sure which compression to choose — just go with lossy as mentioned earlier.

With this setting, it will automatically compress new images that you upload to save space. This doesn’t apply to your past pictures.

That requires the bulk process, which we’ll cover in a moment.

You’ll want to make sure and select the box that says “also include thumbnails.”

This is important, as they are the images most viewed by users and can generate the most traffic. Selecting “image backup” is also a good idea.

To optimize all your past pictures, you just have to click on “Save and go to Bulk Process,” at the bottom of the screen. It really is simple.

You’re now taken to a screen that shows you how many images there are on your site to be optimized and you just click “Start Optimizing.”

Now you let the cute little robot do its thing. Depending on how many images you have, this may take a while.

As it optimizes each picture, it shows you exactly how much space is saved by the changes.

When Shortpixel is finished, you’ll see a message that says, “Congratulations! Your media library has been successfully optimized.”

You will also see the percentage of how much total space it has saved. It’s usually around 70%.

Do a site speed test before you do this so you can compare it to after the process is finished. GTmetrix is one site you can use to check this.

Final Thoughts

There are multiple factors that influence site speed, but images are a big part of this.

You may have been going back and removing as many images as possible from old blog posts to make your site faster.

If you find that your website is loading really slowly, too many large images may be to blame.

If you’re just getting started with a website, or don’t have that many pages and images, you should be fine with the free version.

There are some other great image optimizers out there, so look around and see what works best for you.

If you’ve been at this a while — and have a ton of content — you’ll want to look into an optimizer of some sort.

They are also worth using if you’ve spent a lot of time on your content and have years’ worth of posts.

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Personal trainer, podcaster, Amazon best-selling author. Writing about some health, a little marketing, and a whole lot of 1980s.


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