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Image optimization: A step-by-step guide to creating professional visuals

Image optimization: A step-by-step guide to creating professional visuals

Images are important elements to engage your visitors even more. Thus, image optimization to improve site speed and user experience is critical. 

The process of optimizing images includes everything from selecting the best file type to compressing and reducing them for maximum performance.

In this article, we’ll go through the benefits of image optimization and you know how to optimize images for web. Then, we’re going to focus on effective ways of optimizing images with a WordPress plugin.

Finally, we’ll talk about a number of crucial tips to speed up your WordPress website by optimizing images.

What is image optimization? 

what is image optimization

Image optimization is a strategy for getting the most out of your images. This procedure ensures that your photographs are suitably scaled, fast and visually appealing.

While the process may appear complicated, it’s actually pretty simple these days. You can automatically compress photographs by up to 80% using one of the various image optimization plugins and technologies available, with no obvious loss in image quality.

Image optimization is essential for ensuring that your images look good on your website and social media accounts. This is because non-optimized photos are usually huge in size, which loads your website slowly.

The benefit of image optimization

image optimization benefit

You can use image optimization for better SEO improving website ranking, raising visibility, increasing web page loading speed, enhancing the general user experience of the website minimizing bounce rate. Here, we have given a statistics image for image optimization. Data Source

1. Improved website speed

Image compression and resizing are critical steps in optimizing your website speed. By compressing and resizing images, you can reduce the time it takes for a page to load as well as the amount of data they consume.

2. Better browsing experience

better browsing experience

Page speed is essential to the visitor’s experience. People can sense delays as little as one-tenth of a second. Anything longer does not feel instant. Delays of one second are sufficient to disrupt a person’s thinking process.

Your pages that take longer to load have greater bounce rates and shorter average time. Even a one-second reduction in page load times will improve your users’ experience. 

You can improve user experience and interactions with your site to enhance search engine results. It can boost engagement, conversions and user retention.

3. Improved search performance

Images that have been optimized help both readers and search engines comprehend your website and get your content discovered online. 
According to recent data, photos are returned for 32% of Google search inquiries. Image optimization can help your images rank higher in Google’s Image Search, bringing more visitors to your website and building your brand.      

4. Use image sitemaps

Image sitemaps are a fantastic approach to alert Google about other photos on your site, especially those that we can’t locate otherwise. You can either construct a separate picture sitemap or add image sitemap tags to your existing sitemap. 

A sitemap tells Google which pages and files on your site you believe are significant, as well as providing valuable information about these items.

A sitemap conveys information about different sorts of material on your website, such as videos, images and news content.

5. Awareness of decorative images

Websites typically include decorative pictures such as borders, buttons, and background images. In other words, any image that is not tied to a product falls under the ornamental web image.

Although beautiful graphics offer visual interest to a website, they can cause slow down page loading. As a result, you deserve caution while selecting decorative photos for your website. 

6. Clean Your Media Library

Most hosting plans have a storage limit. So even if you have a lot of space, you’ll run out if you’re not careful. 

Regarding websites, media files normally use the largest portion of your allocation. This is especially true if you employ high-resolution images that are not optimized and take up a lot of space. 

How to optimize images for the web?

how to optimize image for web

When working with raw images from a DSLR camera, the dimensions are typically far larger than needed. When working with raw photos from a DSLR camera, the sizes are sometimes much bigger than necessary. 

So, it’s necessary to know how to optimize images for the web.

1. Use plugins for image optimization

We’ll go over the top four image optimization plugins in this article. However, we’ll discuss in detail Next3 Offload and its working procedure for image optimization.

  • Next3 Offload: Next3 Offload is an amazing image optimizer WordPress plugin. You can offload all your existing WordPress media files to the cloud. It optimizes images and rewrites media URLs.
  • Imagify Image Optimizer: Imagify is the most sophisticated image optimization plugin for resizing and compressing images. You can now leverage its power directly in WordPress to optimize images. 
  • Optimole: Optimole is a one-stop shop for all of your image optimization needs. Optimole makes it simple to clean up your heavy photos and increase websites with full automation and a variety of evolutionary features.
  • EWWW Image Optimizer: EWWW IO allows you to optimize images using tools on your server. Images are automatically compressed, scaled to fit the page and device size, lazy loaded and transformed to the next-generation WebP format with this plugin.

You can follow the top 7 WordPress plugins for image optimization for better understanding.

Recommendation: As a user, we strongly recommend Next3 Offload to optimize your site images. This plugin provides almost all kinds of optimizing functionalities.

With this tool, you can optimize images, convert them to WebP format and offload files to the cloud. So, it can be an all-in-one solution for your website.

How to optimize images using Next3 Offload?

You can use Next3 Offload to compress all the uploaded images. You don’t have to compress images individually before being added to your site. It allows to enable the functionality to start the image compression process. 
Before using the image optimization procedure, you must install the Next3 Offload plugin.

You can follow Next3 Offload documentation to get it done.

Image optimization procedures for Next3 Offload:

After installing and activating the plugin, click on the Next3 Offload plugin.


Then, you can click on the optimization tab.

next3 offload image optimization selection

After clicking on the optimization tab, you can see the optimization setting page. Next, you can enable image compression.

next3 offload image compressor

After enabling image compression, you need to enable backup files (if you want to backup your original files).

next3 offload backup

Also, you need to select the compression level to click drop-down button. Select your desired compression level.

next3 offload compression level

Then you should enable overwrite images with a custom compression level.

next3 offload overwrite level

Next, you can select the maximum image width from the drop down menu and choose your desired image width.

next3 offload width

After that, you can enable WebP images. It’s a next generation image format suggested by Google that supports modern browsers. It reduces the size of standard image formats while keeping the same quality. Almost all current browsers work with WebP.

Finally, you must hit the save setting button to save your changes.

next3 offload save

We recommend you Next3 Offload WordPress plugin. It allows you to compress all the inserted images at once. As a result, you don’t need to manually compress the images before adding them to your site.

Next3 Offload converts your image to WebP which is next-generation image format. It’s compatible with modern browsers. This format compresses images and maintains their quality

2. Use concise and direct image names

It’s quite simple to upload images to your website using the default file names your camera provides. It’s important to incorporate relevant keywords to help your website rank on search engines.

Image optimization must use descriptive, keyword-rich file names. Search engines scan your picture file names as well as the content on your webpage.

You can use the original name that your camera gave the photograph. If you don’t want to go that data-driven route, make sure that you use relevant, helpful keywords when naming your photographs (i.e., attempt to be descriptive).

3. Add alt text

You can ensure that an online image has descriptive alt text. When a picture is inaccessible, you can use alt text to display a piece of text that describes the image.

That means, when a browser is unable to produce an image properly, the alt element acts as a text replacement. This is quite effective to improve the accessibility of websites.

The alt text can be brief and informative. Using three to four letters should be enough. Because the alt text serves as a description, it should be correct. It can also help to increase the image’s click-through rate and improve the user experience.

Here, we’ll show you how to add alt text.

In a modern CMS like WordPress, it should be possible to add alt text without having to dig into the HTML code. There’s a field for alt text when adding an image to a page or post.
Firstly, you should go to your WordPress dashboard. Click on the Media file.

imag compressor media

Now, click on the Add New Media File.

img add new media file

You need to click on the Select Files to select and upload your desired image file.

img compressor file

Then, you can select the image from your image source.

img compressor file select

After selecting the image, you must click on the open tab to upload the image.

img compressor file open

After that, you must clock on the edit option.

image compressor edit

Then you have to go to the edit media page and you’ll be able to see the alt text field. In the alt text field, you must give your image name.

img compressor alt text

After filling the alt text field you need to click on the Update button.

image alt text

And this is the full process for adding the alt text to your WordPress website.

4. Choose your image dimensions and product angles wisely

image angle and dimension

It’s common to display your products from several angles. In this case, you won’t have to display just one shot of the product, especially if you are trying to sell it. It’s in your best interest to include images of the interior, rear, rims, and engine.

Filling out your alt attributes is the best way to capitalize on these extra photos. You can do this by assigning unique alt properties to each product. 

The purpose is to provide descriptions in your base alt attribute to guide possible queries to your website. If you do the extra work, Google will reward you with more searchers.

You want your visitors to be able to see large images. This can result in an excellent user experience, but be careful not to overdo it.

You don’t publish the largest image on your webpage. Because of the increased file size connected with the image, this will increase the time it takes for your page to load.

5. Resize your images for optimization

resize image

Resizing photographs before uploading them to your site is one of the simplest ways to optimize them for the web. When working with raw photos from a DSLR camera, the dimensions are frequently far greater than required.

Assume you’re adding photographs to a blog entry on your website. If your WordPress theme displays photos at 500 x 500 but you upload images at 1024 x 1024, the extra pixels only increase file size and slow down site speed without giving any real benefit.

Cropping or decreasing your photographs before uploading will reduce file size, which will help your site load faster and free up disk space for more images.

6. Choose the right image format

choose image right format

The first step in making visually pleasing photographs is to select the appropriate file format. You can end up with images that are more visually pleasing.

An incorrect picture file format can result in incorrect display or fuzzy photos. Popular image formats are WebP, JPEGs, vectors, GIFs, PNGs and rasters.

WebP image converter is the Next3 Offload WordPress plugin’s features. You can improve the efficiency of your website with the next-generation image format, WebP. 

It’s compatible with modern browsers. This format compresses images to maintain their quality. This will help in the optimization of your website’s performance.

In general, JPEGs and PNGs are the best file types for SEO. JPEGs are the most common and work perfectly on practically all devices.

JPEGs use lossy compression, which causes data loss during the compression process. As a result, this file format is less suitable for a professional photography website. 

PNG is another popular file format that is found on a wide range of devices. In addition to JPEG, it uses lossless compression, which means no data is lost. PNG also supports a wide range of components, including transparent backgrounds. Their files are often much larger than JPEG.

7. Image optimization using tools and programs

Image optimization tools allow you to automate and scale some of the work required for optimizing images on your website. It also lowers or eliminates computing costs. 

You can use it along with a CDN service. As a result, you can cache optimized images and speed up their delivery. 

Media gallery can take time to manually optimize a large number of images. There are numerous online tools available for optimizing images and increasing site speed.

Let’s take a look at five essential options to consider:

  • ImageRecycle: This image optimization tool works with various formats, including JPEG, PNG, GIF and PDF files. ImageRecycle can evaluate which photographs on your website require modifications based on image size and dimension. You can enter your website address and the tool will send you a free report via email.
  • Caesium Image Compressor: Caesium is an amazing image optimization tool. It helps photographers, bloggers, webmasters, businesses or casual users store, send and share digital pictures.
  • Optimizilla: Another useful feature is that you can change the compression level by clicking on any image on the slider. It can scroll down to preview and manually adjust its quality. 
  • JPEG Optimizer: JPEG Optimizer is a good solution to consider if you only need to compress JPEG images. Because as the name implies, there’s no support for PNG files or GIFs.
  • Compress Now: Compress Now allows you to compress three of the most common image file types: JPG, GIF and PNG. It also offers a few other important features, such as the ability to determine how much you want to compress your uploaded image. You can upload files up to 9 Mb = 9000 KB in size.

Using the ImageRecycle tool for image optimization.

Now, we’ll show you one image optimization tool working process for your better understanding. We can pick up the ImageRecycle tool and show its working procedure. 

We’ll use its free version but if you want to experience more advanced features, you can use the pro version. 

If you follow every step, you’ll optimize your image in the right way.

First of all, you can navigate to the ImageRecycle home page and then click on drag and drop or pdf here to launch the optimization.

image recycle

Then, you must select the image from your machine and choose the right one.

image selection

After selecting the image, you must click on the open tab to upload the file.

image recycle open image

After opening the file, you can upload it ImageRecycle tool and then it’ll calculate your original image file size and optimized image file size.

image recycle count

Here, you will see the original file and the optimized file for better visualization.

8. Increase image SEO score

Image optimizing manually can boost your SEO. In this process, you will select a particular image. Then, you will right-click your mouse and go to the properties.

manually image open

 Now, you can click on the details button.

image details

After that, you can select the title option.

image title

Now, give an SEO optimized subject title.

image subject

You must set five-star ratings. This rating helps to increase better SEO.

image rattings

After adding a rating, you must add tags with the desired keyword of your image.

image tags

Then you can provide author’s information.

author name

Then you should select the date taken and the date acquired.

date taken
date accquired

Select the copyright section and give copyright.

copyright image

Then hit on the Apply button.

apply button image

Finally, you can click on the Ok button to complete the process.

ok button image

If you want to increase your SEO score for image optimization then you should edit your image manually. You can do some simple edits on your image before optimizing, too, like title, subject, rating, tags, author’s name, and date. When it comes to the optimization itself, it’s quite good.

Tips to increase your WordPress site speed and performance

To optimize photos for faster loading on WordPress, you can follow the five methods. Let’s go over each image optimization approach individually. We will explain the notion for each of them and provide some strong tools you can use to make your images load faster.

1. Place the image properly

Adding images at random can have a negative impact on the context and relevancy of your page.

While using images to break up long paragraphs is frequent, the image is related to the written material. Screen readers cannot access text within images, therefore include relevant alt texts and include only necessary information in the image.

It not only improves accessibility but also increases page visibility in Google image searches.

2. Compress your images

compress your image

Large files slow down websites, which search engines despise. You can optimize your image for better ranking in search engines.

You can WordPress plugins like Next3 Offload, Imagify Image Optimizer, Optimole, EWWW Image Optimizer etc for optimizing images. Next3 Offload is an image compression plugin on the market. It allows you to compress all of the inserted images at a time. So, it’s not mandatory to manually compress the images before adding them to your site.

You can enable this option to begin the image compression process for any future submitted images. You can also choose whether to compress and offload future images or existing ones on your local server.

All you need is an image compression tool to compress your images. We have discussed some great tools above.

3. Using content delivery networks (CDNs)

Content delivery networks (CDNs) are popular places to store images and other media files. They can improve page loading performance and help with resolving bandwidth concerns.

A content delivery network (CDN) caches requested content and then serves it from a location closer to the website visitor. This means that the data follows a shorter path, resulting in faster loading times for your website and all of its media content.

You can use an image CDN in addition to a conventional CDN. It can reduce your site’s picture payload by up to 80%, resulting in a significant increase in load speed and no discernible loss in image quality.

If you manage a dynamic website, such as an eCommerce store, or constantly upload new photos, an image CDN can be useful.

4. Use copyright-free and good image quality

copyright free image

To avoid complaints, any photos submitted to your site must be copyright-free. To protect not only your online reputation but also the site’s ranking in search results.

Shutterstock, Unsplash, and Getty Images are three of the most well-known stock image companies. These websites host thousands of free-licensed images for various uses.

As part of your image optimization process, consider creating unique images for the site. High-quality product images increase engagement and can boost sales, especially if you run an eCommerce site.

5. Ensure the images are mobile friendly

ensure mobile friendly image

Mobile optimization is the procedure of changing the content of your website. So, your visitors using mobile devices receive an experience that is suited to their device. Optimized information smoothly flows between desktop and mobile devices to create an exceptional user experience.

Image optimization for mobile ensures clarity and sizing. Even if your images rank high in Google Image search for various terms. Your audiences are unlikely to click on them if the content is ambiguous, fuzzy or oddly proportioned.

6. Test your images

The entire purpose of image optimization is to help you enhance your bottom line. Because load times can be an issue for certain non-hosted e-commerce sites, limiting the number of photos on a page may result in higher click-through rates and sales.

It’s also acceptable that having a lot of graphics on each page can improve the user experience and result in more purchases. The only way to find out is to put it to the test.

7. Understand lossy vs lossless optimization

It’s also important to recognize that there are two types of compression available: lossy and lossless.

Lossy: This is a filter that removes some data. This will impair the image, so be cautious about how much you minimize it. The file size can be significantly decreased. 

To change an image’s quality settings, utilize applications like Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo or other image editors. The example above uses lossy compression.

Lossless: This is a data compression filter. This has no effect on image quality, but the photos must be uncompressed before they can be rendered. You can reduce your video file size without losing quality. 

8. Benchmark your current site speed

benchmark site speed

Benchmarking shows you how your website compares to other websites. It can highlight competitive advantages and demonstrate the most effective methods for improving website performance.

Benchmarking can apply to any measurable part of your e-commerce or lead-generation processes. Most businesses want to set objectives in all of these areas. 

Your specific business and demands will influence how many standards you develop and what those benchmarks measure.

9. Know how to choose the best image file type

You can choose the best image file format depending on the type of image and the end goal. 

You can use JPG file format for images and also use PNG or SVG file format for simple illustrations. JPGs and PNGs can have the same quality and file size as the lesser-known WebP format.

10. Lazy load your site images

lazy image loading

Lazy loading is an excellent method on its own. But it becomes even more effective when combined with the other picture optimization tips.

When someone visits your website, they begin at the top of the page. It’ll take them a few moments to scroll through the full website, especially if they are engaged. 

Instead of attempting to load all of the photos at once, lazy loading assumes that people are mainly concerned with the content they can view.

As a result, the photos in their browser view fully load first. The other images load only a placeholder until the user scrolls to that portion of the page.

Final thought

Visuals are more important than ever in today’s digital world. Images are essential for engaging with your audience while constructing a website, crafting an advertisement or developing social media content. 

However, for your visual material to stand out, you need to optimize photos for optimum impact. The above guide contains all the information you’ll need to optimize your photos.

We hope this article will help you take the necessary steps to optimize the image of your website. 

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. We provide WordPress video tutorials. You can also follow us on X and Facebook to keep up with the newest updates, news, and special deals. 

Hafsina Sheherin Rimi
Written by

Hafsina Sheherin Rimi

Sheherin Rimi is a content writer of ThemeDev who prefers to write about tech products, travelling, health, food, lifestyle, marketing, technology etc. She also works for creating video. She has completed her Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering. Her hobbies include blogging, reading, cooking etc.

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