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Why you should optimize images for your blog

When people use the internet in 2021, they expect a page to load within seconds. Who has the time to spend on a website as that circle loading sign goes round and round?

New research from Google states that people don’t like to wait longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. 3 seconds isn’t a long time, therefore you need to ensure that your blog is running at the quickest possible speed.

A huge factor of having a quick loading time is optimized images.

What is an optimized image?

Having an optimized image is about reducing the file size of your image while retaining high quality. Images that are used on blogs are there for decorative purposes, therefore, they need to be clear and easy to see.

Although site speed doesn’t solely rely on images, for this post we are going to explore how to check your image sizes and how to compress your images. The end result is to optimize your images for your blog.

Related: How to make money blogging as a beginner.

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Why you should optimize your images for your blog. Are you looking to increase your site speed and keep your file size down? Check out how you optimize your images for your blog and give the user a better experience. The Bloggers Incentive.

How to check your image sizes

There are a number of free tools that you can use to check the status of your images. The best tool that I use is the Page Speed Insights by Google. This website can assess your desktop and mobile speed. This tool is very effective as different things will affect your desktop and mobile website versions.

Once you are on the website, you are going to enter your URL into the search bar.

A screenshot of the Google page insights for checking speed of your site. This helps when understanding image sizes.

You will then click the analyze button.

The results should only take around 2-3 minutes. Once the page had loaded, it will be split into two sections. Mobile and desktop. As bloggers, we tend to blog on our laptops and computers, meaning a lot of the time our desktop website is more optimized than our mobile site.

For my desktop, my site speed is in the amber section but overall, I am happy with my site speed.

A screenshot of the site speed score for The Bloggers Incentive to understand the meaning of compressing images.

This will then list all the images that are slowing down my site and that can be compressed. All my blog post images are set to auto-optimize using a plugin which we will get into later in the post but images that I include on my blog for decoration have not yet been compressed which is slowing down my load time.

A screenshot of images that I have to compress on my site to ensure that my site speed is quicker.

It’s important to check your site once a month, even more frequently if you can, to ensure that there are no images that have been missed.

Related: How long should a blog post be.

File types of images

There are a number of different file types that you can use when uploading images to your site. Let’s run through the top three.

Jpegs

Using a JPEG image means that you are using the ‘lossy compression’ technique. This means that when your image is downloaded as a JPEG, the image is compressed and the data that is no longer used will be deleted, and cannot be retrieved, therefore, it is lost.

This type of file is often used for pictures taken on a camera or phone. When you take a picture on your camera, your picture could include millions of colours, JPEG creates a file format that keeps the image size low in spite of the large amount of colours used in the photo.

When using JPEG it’s important to ensure that the compression isn’t set too high or it will affect the quality of your image.

Related: What is a DA score for blogging?

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PNG

A PNG file was originally created to replace a GIF back in 1990. One of the most appealing factors of using a PNG file image is that you can create a transparent background. This is popular as it avoids having a white or coloured background in the image.

When using a PNG image, it compresses the image using a lossless method. This means that it retains all the data within the file, which is different to the JPEG. A PNG file tends to hold more information than a JPEG.

PNG images are also commonly used for graphic pictures.

GIF

A GIF is different to PNG and JPEG for a number of reasons. A GIF can only retain 256 colours therefore the quality can be lower than the other file types.

So why do people still use GIFs? If you have heard the term GIF, you will know it as an image that has a small piece of animation behind it. This file format allows you to add animation or movement behind the image.

GIFS are very popular in personal blogs and other social media platforms.

Related: What I wish I knew before I started blogging.

A picture of a person taking a picture of the outside on a camera phone.

Image dimensions for blogging

There are different sections to add images throughout your blog. Therefore there are different dimensions that work better than others for certain sections.

  • Thumbnail images on your sidebar: 150×150 px.
  • Featured images on your blog (Landscape): 1200×900 px.
  • Background images: 1920×1080 px.
  • Featured images on your blog (Portrait): 900×1200 px.

Following these optimal image sizes will ensure your images are optimized for your blog.

How to compress images + tools to use

If you have checked your site using the Google pages website and noticed that your images are too large for your site, don’t worry. We have a few tools that you can use to compress your images.

If you have a WordPress site, there are various plugins that you can use, let’s start with WordPress options.

Related: How to find backlinks as a beginner blogger.

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Smush Pro

The plugin that I personally use on The Bloggers Incentive is Smush Pro. I pay a fee of £4.96 per month for the unlimited plan. This allows me to compress an unlimited amount of images on my blog. The plugin also auto resizes the image for you therefore, they do all the hard work.

They do offer a free plan of 45 images to compress which is a great starting point.

Smush pro is a wordpress plugin that you can use to compress your images and improve the file size.

Imagify

Imagify is another plugin that allows you to compress images on your WordPress blog. They offer 20mb per month for free. They also offer a growth plan for $4.99 for 500mb or the unlimited plan is $9.99. If you are looking to use Imagify for the free plan, I think it’s worth it but for the price, Smush Pro is cheaper for the premium plan.

Again, this is a plugin that you can set to automatically compress your images so you don’t have to remember to do the work.

Imagify is a great platform that you can use a WordPress plugin to optimize images for your blog and improve the site speed.

There are a number of websites online that you can also use if you don’t have a WordPress website. Let’s run through some of the popular sites to optimize images for your blog.

Compress JPEG

If you are looking to compress JPEG images, you can use the Compress JPEG website. This is free to use.

The website layout is very basic, but the website does exactly what you are looking for.

Compress Jpeg is a site that is free to use and you can compress JPEG files for your website. How to optimize your images for your blog.

Tiny PNG

Tiny PNG is a very popular website and you can compress more than PNG images. You can also compress WebP, PNG and JPEG images.

They promise to compress your image by 70% which is a great amount for optimizing images for your blog. The website is very easy to use as well.

Tiny PNG is a great tool online to help you optimize your images for your blog. This tool is free to use as well.

How to optimize images for your blog

Although there are paid options to compress your images, there are a number of free alternatives. Each image that you upload to your blog should be as optimized as possible to help with not only site speed, but also SEO.

Within your image, you should always include alt text as this is another opportunity to include your keyword.

What are some tools you use to optimize images for your blog?

Like this post? Pin it for later!

Why you need to optimize your images for your blog as a beginner blogger. Is your site running slow? Are you unsure on how to compress your images or where to find them? Check out my blog post on how to improve your site speed by compressing your images. The Bloggers Incentive.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Vourneen

    Alicia! This is super helpful! I just checked my speed on the page speed insights tool you recommended and mine is also in the amber so I have a little bit of work to do. I’m going to download the Smush plugin now and get on it! Thanks for sharing this really useful post!

  2. Nons Mshengu

    Amazing post ! It was the first time checking my site speed, so thank you for sharing the website ! Can definitely improve a few things ! I already use Smush for my images to compress them !

    Very helpful post, thank you !

  3. Kelly Diane

    This is such a helpful post. I’ve been trying to speed up my site for ages so will definitely give this a try.

  4. Alexis

    Great insightful post! I know for my blog images, the sizes are the only thing slowly my blog down. I went with a WordPress plan without plug ins so I’m a little stuck at the moment! I really need to switch to a different hosting site. But anyways, thank you for sharing! This is really helpful.

    Alexis| http://cafe-beauty.com

    1. Hi Alexis! Aw I see! You are using the WordPress website that isn’t self-hosted! You should think about switching across to self-hosting as it’s affordable and a lot more options. Alicia

  5. Cristina Rosano

    This was such a great post and so helpful Alicia! Wish I had this to read from the beginning as image sizing was always a whole ordeal of grey answers when I looked for it! I Will definitely keep the sizes in mind and check the rest now x

  6. Biren Panchal

    What a great post, Alicia! You always comes up with an excellent research and work around for such an important topic in this cutting edge tech era. I must say, all of your observations and way out to optimize the image size are really very much helpful and informative and I believe it’s not only for bloggers but in normal web development as well this could be definitely a thing to implement! Thank you so much for sharing this, I always enjoy reading your work! You’re amazing!

    1. Hi Biren! Thanks for checking out my post! That’s such a great and kind comment, thank you! I’m glad you enjoy reading my work! Alicia

  7. Jamieadstories

    Thanks for this. It comes in really handy. I have started using Smush.

  8. So so important optimising images! I remember when I moved to WordPress and having to do it, my page speed improved so much. Great post here, so informative.

  9. readandreviewit

    Fab tips! I’ve just had a look at the sight you suggested and I’m in the orange zone, so will have to look into that tomorrow now. Thank you so much for sharing this, I didn’t know how important optimizing images was!

  10. Jaya Avendel

    I started out using Smush after I went self-hosted and it was awesome but, unfortunately, the plugin stopped the Jetpack ‘like’ button from working so I have switched to Imagify. I prefer Smush, but figure I have to use something that integrates well with the other plugins I use.
    Thanks for sharing some awesome alternatives too! 🙂

  11. Fransic verso

    I’m using the free version plugin but it’s not as good as paid because it doesn’t have a lot of options and therefore, can’t do a lot.

  12. This is SUCH a helpful post, thank you so much for sharing! I’m definitely going to be using your tips here in the future x

  13. Lynn

    Love love love, babe! I discovered optimizing images for the blog in January 2021 and let me tell ya, IT WAS A GAME CHANGER. Great post for new bloggers! xx

    Lynn https://www.lynnmumbingmejia.com

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