For news publishers and media houses, capturing and retaining audience attention is crucial. More often than not, news websites are media-intensive. They need images and videos to make the content informative and engaging for the readers. While videos and images enhance the user experience , they also increase page load times which hurts their SEO and frustrates visitors.
So, how can WordPress-based publishers get the best of both worlds- a media-rich website that loads quickly? Image optimizations plugins are the answer.
What are Image optimization plugins? How do they work?
The need for efficient image optimization plugins has never been more vital in the constantly shifting landscape of online content, where graphics play a huge role in grabbing user attention. Optimization Plugins are the unsung heroes that work behind the scenes to optimize website performance, boost user experience, and ensure that your images captivate readers without sacrificing website load time.
Image optimization plugins streamline the process of preparing and delivering images for the web. These plugins run in the background, effortlessly integrating with content management systems (CMS) and automatically optimizing photos without demanding additional steps from editors and writers. The aim is to achieve a fine balance between visual quality and file size, while ensuring images load quickly and efficiently. The end-goal, a better user experience.
Benefits of Using Image Optimization Plugins
Improved website performance
In an era where our attention spans are shrinking by the day, users want instant access to content. Optimized images load faster, helping news publishers retain their audience, and their attention..
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Benefits
Search engines prioritize web pages that load quickly. By optimizing photos, you improve your website's SEO, potentially improving search page rankings.
Optimized images consumes less bandwidth, making it more cost-effective, especially for users with data limits on plans.
Enhanced User Engagement
Fast-loading pages and visually appealing content contribute to increased user engagement, reducing bounce rates, and encouraging visitors to explore your site further.
Choosing the Right Image Optimization Plugin
As you explore the various image optimization tools, consider the features outlined here to make an informed decision.
Image optimization plugins use lossless compression techniques to lower file sizes without sacrificing image quality. This maintains the visual integrity of the images while minimizing impact on page performance. To maintain image quality, ensure that the plugin supports lossless compression.
Lossy compression can be used by image optimization plugins in instances where a minor compromise in image quality is acceptable. This feature can reduce file size significantly, making it perfect for situations where page loading speed has higher importance. In this case, go for plugins that offer customizable lossy compression features.
Some of the best image optimization plugins support the image format conversion to the WebP format. WebP is a contemporary image format that provides superior compression, ensuring faster loading times without compromising image quality. Look for a plugin that support WebP conversion for optimal performance on supported browsers.
To optimize images for specific use cases, plugins also include image resizing capabilities. This feature allows users to define the dimensions of images, ensuring they are appropriately sized for different devices and screen resolutions. If you want to tailor images for different devices, choose a plugin with image resizing capabilities.
Bulk compression features enable users to optimize multiple images simultaneously, streamlining the optimization process and saving valuable time.
Backup Original Images
The best image optimization plugins prioritize safety by automatically creating backups of original images before optimization. It provides a fail-safe mechanism in case you need to revert to the original files.
Best Image Optimization Plugins For WordPress
EWWW Image Optimizer
EWWW Image Optimizer allows you to optimize images using tools on your server like jpegtran, optipng, pngout, pngquant, gifsicle, and cwebp, all while boosting website performance. EWWW IO provides free, unlimited lossless compression for Image Optimization. It also has a Premium Compression option, which claims to offer 5x more compression than the standard option. While using the premium features, you can use the Compress API and Bulk Optimizer to compress local images or the Easy IO CDN to compress images without modifying local copies.
You can use EWWW Image Optimizer to optimize all your existing images from any plugin, and then let EWWW IO handle future image uploads automatically. To compress and resize JPG, PNG, and GIF pictures, as well as optimize SVG and PDF files, the EWWW Image Optimizer can use freely available optimization tools directly on your web server or use the Compress API or Easy IO CDN.
The EWWW Image Optimizer plugin comes with an extensive list of free functions.
Premium subscriptions start at $7/month for a single site, with higher plans that include additional sites, bandwidth, and CDN endpoints for their Easy IO service.
Smush is another leading image optimization plugin trusted by over 1M users that optimizes, resizes, and compresses images, as well as converts images to WebP format. You can bulk optimize 50 old images in one go in the free version. Smush's other capabilities include metadata stripping, automated image resizing, and the ability to backup your images after uploading them.
One of the key advantages of using Smush is that it allows you to optimize an unlimited number of images for free. There is only one restriction, images cannot exceed 5MB in size. Smush works automatically once it is installed. Just add an image to your WordPress dashboard, and it will smush it down for you. Other capabilities include bulk smushing, lazy loading for images below the fold, and uncompressed image detection.
You can remove this restriction by using WP Smush Pro. This premium plugin costs $7.50 per month for one website. You can upgrade to pricier subscriptions if you want more website support or all of its developer plugins.
Optimus is a lossless image compression plugin that focuses on reducing image size while enhancing the speed of your website. Optimus sends images to its own server and returns new, smaller versions of images without compromising image quality (lossless compression). Optimus automatically processes images uploaded to your WordPress site, boosting page performance. It caters to a range of platforms, including WordPress and Shopify while supporting a variety of file formats, including JPEG, PNG, and WebP.
Optimus has two paid versions, Optimus HQ ($29 per year) and Optimus HQ Pro ($149 per year), in addition to the free version. Paid versions support HTTPS connections to the Optimus compression server, WebP image conversion, and developer API access.
With WP-Optimize, you can quickly find and compress images to your selected lossy or lossless settings. It cleans and optimizes your images and database to help your site load faster and save server resources. The more advanced minification capability is also available in WP-Optimize.
Some of the major features of WP Optimize include lossy or lossless compression options, WebP conversion, bulk compression, and lazy loading. It also identifies and deletes unused images from your WordPress website, saving disk space [Premium]. It also includes lazy loading, which reduces load times by postponing below-the-fold picture loading until the user scrolls to them.
WP-Optimize offers a free version as well as premium plans. WP-Optimize premium plans cost $49 per year for up to two sites, $99 per year for up to five sites, and $199 per year for unlimited sites.
ShortPixel Image Optimizer
ShortPixel is a simple, lightweight image optimisation plugin that can reduce old images and PDF documents with a single click. Any new images added are automatically resized, rescaled, and optimized in the background. It is also compatible with any gallery, slider, or eCommerce plugin. Using ShortPixel Image Optimizer, you can also optimize images and create WebP/AVIF versions.
ShortPixel needs limited resources and is compatible with shared, cloud, VPS, and dedicated web hosting. For the most common image types (JPG, PNG, GIF, WebP, and AVIF) as well as PDF files, both lossy and lossless image compression are available. Short Pixel also offers glossy JPEG compression- a very high-quality lossy optimization algorithm specially designed for photographers.
ShortPixel offers 100 free credits each month, with more credits available for $4.99 for 5,000 image credits.
Optimole could be your one-stop solution for all of your image optimisation needs. It cleans up heavy images and bloated websites with full automation. Optimole is a cloud-based technology that optimizes images in real-time, speeding up your website and delivering high-quality images scaled for every device.
The premium plan costs 9.99 EUR per month and includes 10GB of image per month. The enterprise package costs 100 EUR per month. Paid plans include direct connectivity with Amazon CloudFront, which has over 130 locations worldwide.
reSmush.it provides image size reduction using a range of sophisticated algorithms and allows free image optimisation based on the reSmush.it API. The reSmush.it API accepts JPG, PNG, and GIF files up to 5MB.
Moreover, it also has a bulk compression feature that lets you optimize all of your images with a single click. More than 400,000 PHP websites running various CMS (WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento, Prestashop, etc.) trust reSmush.it.
Top-7 Image Optimization Plugin for News Publishers: Key Features
Image Optimization Plugins
EWWW Image Optimizer
Short Pixel Image Optimizer
$7/month for a single site.
$7.50 per month for single website
Optimus HQ ($29 per year) and Optimus HQ Pro ($149 per year)
$49 per year for up to two sites
100 free credits each month
9.99 EUR per month
Bulk optimize, WebP images, CDN support
Supports optimization for PNG, JPEG, and GIF files
Progressive JPEGs, File size reduction, and WebP Conversion
Retain EXIF image data, Delete orphaned images, Delete unused images
Compress JPG and PDF documents, WebP and AVIF Conversion, Optimizes thumbnails as well as featured images, CMYK to RGB conversion
Convert to WebP & AVIF
FREE optimization of pictures, for the most standard filetypes (PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP and TIF).
Additional features (ex lazy loading)
Lazy load, Automatic optimization on upload, Image backups, Js and css optimize, Compress PDF files
Lossless compression, Lossy compression, Built-In Lazy Loading, Convert to WebP, Bulk Smush
Bulk Optimization, WordPress multisite-support, and Support for WooCommerce
Lossy or lossless compression, WebP conversion, Auto-compress, Bulk compression, Lazy Load
Test lossy/glossy/lossless, great for photographers
Lazy Load, CDN
There is no questioning the significance of a swift and visually appealing website in attracting and retaining visitors. Image optimization plugins help news publishers achieve these aims by decreasing page load times and guaranteeing an uninterrupted user experience.