There are plenty of reasons you need a faster website, but the top two include keeping your visitors happy and getting a higher Google page rank.
In fact, starting this July, Google will be using page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches.
There are lots of ways that you can increase your website’s loading speed, including applying sophisticated caching or even upgrading to a faster server, but one of the easiest and cost-effective way to go about it is to reduce the size of images that are displayed on your website.
And get this right, this doesn’t mean literally reducing the size of the image. You want larger images for better visibility. However, image files contain a lot of unnecessary data that once removed makes file sizes smaller, allowing your website pages to load much quicker, without any visually detectable loss of quality.
Installing the ShortPixel Image Optimizer
The sign-up process is fast and easy. Just go to shortpixel.com and you will receive your API Key and password after signing-up on your email. They have a wide range of pricing plans, ranging from the Free Plan to the $49 per year plan. The free plan includes 100 image optimization credits per month.
How ShortPixel Works
ShortPixel offers image optimization via an API from their cloud. They also plan to add other tools as client libraries for Ruby and Java, plugins for Magento and Joomla and a mobile app.
For a simple image optimization, just click the compress button on your account and you will then be allowed to choose your compression level that ranges from Lossy to Glossy to Lossless. You can as well optimize up to 50 files at once. The acceptable formats include PNG, Jpeg and GIF. You can as well compress PDFs.
Here is the before and after photo. It is safe to say that there is no noticeable loss in quality.
ShortPixel On Your WordPress Site
ShortPixel also has a WordPress plugin that allows you to optimize all your WordPress images with just a push of a button.
To get started, search for ShortPixel on WordPress.org, download and install.
Before you start using the plugin, ShortPixel will ask you for an API key, which would have already been sent to your email upon signing up.
Make sure you choose your compression level, which basically tells ShortPixel how aggressively you want to compress your images. The default Lossy setting is okay, but if you want high-quality photos you might want to choose between the less aggressive Lossless and Glossy options.
Besides the free plan that you can use to test out the optimizer, there are a number of other monthly and one-time paid plans.
If you just want to optimize a ton of images (not more than 10,000 images at a go) then you should try the one-time $9.99 plan.
The monthly and one-time plans are adequate for any small business owner that seeks to optimize his/her website images. However, bigger companies can go for the Dedicated Servers option that gives them a dedicated physical server and for $1,000 per month they are able to get up to 16 million optimizations per month.
Overall, ShortPxel offers a solid service and it is easy to use. The optimized images are smaller in size, yet the quality is as good as advertised.
For occasional bloggers, the free plan might just be enough, but a small business owner running an e-commerce site or a blog would still get a decent number of image credits for a fair price. Upload the compressed images to your website and take note of the faster page loading speeds.