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How to Easily Optimize Images for Web (without Losing Quality)

Did you know that optimizing your images before uploading to WordPress can have a huge impact on your website speed?

When starting a new blog, many beginners simply upload images without optimizing them for web. These large image files make your website slower.

You can fix this by using image optimization best practices as part of your regular blogging routine.

In this article, we will show you how to optimize your images for faster web performance without losing quality. We will also share automatic image optimization plugins for WordPress that can make your life easy.

How to Optimize Your Images in WordPress (Step by Step)

Since this is a comprehensive guide on image optimization for web, we have created an easy to follow table of content:

What is Image Optimization? (Optimized vs Unoptimized Images)

Image optimization is a process of saving and delivering images in the smallest possible file size without reducing the overall image quality.

While the process sounds complex, it’s actually quite easy these days. You can use one of the many image optimization plugins and tools to automatically compress images by up to 80% without any visible loss in image quality.

Here’s an example of optimized vs unoptimized image:

Optimized vs Unoptimized Images in WordPress

As you can see, when optimized properly the same image can be 75% smaller than the original without any loss in quality.

How does Image Optimization work?

In simple terms, image optimization work by using compression technology like “Lossy” and “Lossless” which helps reduce the overall file size without any noticeable loss of quality.

What does it mean to Optimize Images?

If you ever received a recommendation to optimize images by your WordPress hosting support or by a speed test tool, then all it means is that you need to reduce the file size of your images by optimizing them for web.

Why is Image Optimization Important? What are the Benefits of Image Optimization?

While there are many benefits of optimizing your images, below are the top ones that you should know:

  • Faster website speed
  • Improved SEO rankings
  • Higher overall conversion rate for sales and leads
  • Less storage and bandwidth (which can reduce hosting and CDN cost)
  • Faster website backups (also reduces cost of backup storage)

Outside of video, images are the next heaviest item on a web page. According to HTTP archive, images make up on average 21% of a total webpage’s weight.

Since we know fast websites rank higher in search engines (SEO) and have better conversions, image optimization is something that every business website must do if they want to succeed online.

Now you might be wondering how big of a difference can image optimization really make?

According to a Strangeloop study, a one-second delay in website load time can cost you 7% of sales, 11% fewer pageviews, and 16% decrease in customer satisfaction.

How speed affects your website

If these aren’t enough reasons to speed up your website, then you should know that search engines like Google also give preferential SEO treatment to faster loading websites.

This means that by optimizing your images for web, you can both improve website speed and boost WordPress SEO rankings.

How to Save and Optimize Images for Web Performance?

The key to successful image optimization for web performance is to find the perfect balance between lowest file size and acceptable image quality.

The three things that play a huge role in image optimization are:

  • Image file format (JPEG vs PNG vs GIF)
  • Compression (Higher compression = smaller file size)
  • Image Dimensions (height and width)

By choosing the right combination of the three, you can reduce your image size by up to 80%.

Let’s take a look at each of these in more details.

1. Image File Format

For most website owners, the only three image file formats that really matter are JPEG, PNG, and GIF. Choosing the right file type plays an important role in image optimization.

To keep things simple, you want to use JPEGs for photos or images with lots of colors, PNGs for simple images or when you need transparent images, and GIF for animated images only.

For those who don’t know the difference between each file type, PNG image format is uncompressed which means it is a higher quality image. The downside is that file sizes are much larger.

On the other hand, JPEG is a compressed file format which slightly reduces image quality in order to provide a significantly smaller file size.

Whereas GIF only uses 256 colors along with lossless compression which makes it the best choice for animated images.

On WPBeginner, we use all three image formats based on the type of image.

2. Compression

The next thing is image compression which plays a huge role in image optimization.

There are different types and levels of image compression available. The settings for each will vary depending on the image compression tool you use.

Most image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop, On1 Photo, GIMP, Affinity Photo, and others come with built-in image compression features.

You can also save images normally and then use a web tool like TinyPNG or JPEG Mini for easier image compression.

Although it’s a bit manual, these two methods allow you to compress images before uploading them to WordPress, and this is what we do on WPBeginner.

There are also several popular WordPress plugins like Optimole, EWWW Image Optimizer, and others that can automatically compress images when you first upload them. Many beginners and even large corporations prefer to use these image optimization plugins because it’s easy and convenient.

We will share more about these WordPress plugins later in the article.

3. Image Dimensions

Normally, when you import a photo from your phone or a digital camera, it has a very high resolution and large file dimensions (height and width).

Typically, these photos have a resolution of 300 DPI and dimensions starting from 2000 pixels and more. These high-quality photos are well-suited for print or desktop publishing. They are not suitable for websites.

Reducing file dimensions to something more reasonable can significantly decrease image file size. You can simply resize images using an image editing software on your computer.

For example, we optimized a photo with 1.8 MB original file size, 300 DPI resolution, and image dimensions of 4900×3200 pixels.

We chose jpeg format for higher compression and changed dimensions to 1200×795 pixels, and it reduced the image file size to 103 KB. That’s 94% less than the original file size.

Now that you know the three important factors in image optimization, let’s take a look at various image optimization tools for website owners.

Best Image Optimization Tools and Programs

As we mentioned earlier, most image editing software come with image optimization and compression settings.

Outside of the image editing software, there are also several powerful free image optimization tools that you can use to optimize images for web (with just a few clicks).

We recommend using these tools to optimize images before you upload them to WordPress, specially if you are a perfectionist.

This method helps you save disk space on your WordPress hosting account, and it guarantee the fastest image with the best quality since you manually review each image.

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is a premium software that comes with a feature to save images optimized for the web. Simply open your image and click on the “File » Save for Web” option.

This will open a new dialog box. On the right, you can set different image formats. For JPEG format, you will see different quality options. When you select your options, it will also show you the file size on the bottom left.

Saving images optimized for the web using Photoshop

GIMP

GIMP is a free and open source alternative to popular Adobe Photoshop. It can be used to optimize your images for the web. The downside is that it is not as easy to use as some other solutions on this list.

First, you need to open your image in GIMP and then select File » Export As option. This will bring up the save file dialog box. Give your file a new name and then click on the export button.

Export image in GIMP

This will bring up image export options. For jpeg files, you can select the compression level to reduce file size. Finally, click on the export button to save the optimized image file.

TinyPNG

TinyPNG is a free web app that uses a smart lossy compression technique to reduce the size of your PNG files. All you have to do is go to their website and upload your images (simple drag & drop).

Using TinyPNG to optimize images for WordPress

They will compress the image, and give you the download link. You can use their sister website, TinyJPG, for JPEG image compression.

They also have an extension for Adobe Photoshop which is what we use as part of our image editing process because it combines the best of TinyPNG and TinyJPG inside Photoshop.

For developers, they have an API to convert images automatically, and for beginners they have a WordPress plugin that can automatically do it for you (more on this later).

JPEG Mini

JPEGmini uses a lossless compression technology which significantly reduces the size of images without affecting their perceptual quality. You can also compare the quality of your original image and the compressed image.

JPEGMini online image compression tool

You can use their web version for free, or purchase the program for your computer. They also have a paid API to automate the process for your server.

ImageOptim

ImageOptim is a Mac utility that allows you to compress images without losing any quality by finding the best compression parameters and removing unnecessary color profiles.

ImageOptim

Windows alternative to this is Trimage.

Best Image Optimization Plugins for WordPress

We believe that the best way to optimize your images is by doing it before uploading them to WordPress. However, if you run a multi-author site or need an automated solution, then you can try a WordPress image compression plugin.

Below is our list of the best WordPress image compression plugins:

  1. Optimole – popular plugin by the team behind ThemeIsle.
  2. EWWW Image Optimizer
  3. Compress JPEG & PNG images – plugin by TinyPNG team mentioned above in the article.
  4. Imagify – plugin by the popular WP Rocket plugin team.
  5. ShortPixel Image Optimizer
  6. WP Smush
  7. reSmush.it

Using any of these WordPress image optimization plugin will help you speed up your website.

Final Thoughts and Best Practices for Image Optimization

If you’re not saving images optimized for web, then you need to start doing so now. It will make a huge difference on your site speed, and your users will thank you for it.

Not to mention, faster websites are great for SEO, and you will likely see an increase in your search engine rankings.

Outside of image optimization, the two things that will significantly help you speed up your website is using a WordPress caching plugin and using a WordPress CDN.

Alternatively, you can use a managed WordPress hosting company because they often offer both caching and CDN as part of the platform.

We hope this article helped you learn how to optimize your images in WordPress. You may also want to see our guide on how to improve your WordPress security and the best WordPress plugins for business websites.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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Which is the Best WordPress Popup Plugin? (Performance + Quality Compared)

Converting website visitors into email subscribers and paying customers is the main goal of all businesses. Did you know that more than 70% of people visiting your website will probably never come back again unless you offer them a chance to subscribe. This is where a WordPress popup plugins and lead generation tools come in handy. Considering there are tons of great WordPress lead generation plugins in the market, we have decided to compare the top ones to determine which is the best WordPress popup plugin overall.

Best WordPress Popup Plugin

The Problem With WordPress Popup Plugins

There are so many WordPress popup plugins available both free and paid. The main problem with most popup plugins is that they can become very annoying for users. This has a negative impact on user experience.

Another common problem with popup plugins is that they can slow down your website. Some take too much time to load while others are very resource intensive on your servers resulting in a slow page load time which negatively affects your SEO.

The main purpose of using a popup plugin is to generate leads and boost your email list subscribers. Many popup plugins fail to do that properly because they don’t have the right balance of features and functionality.

Last but not the least, some of these popup plugins aren’t very easy to use. Setting them up is not easy for an average WordPress user.

So how do you go through hundreds of popup plugins and find the best one for your needs? Well you don’t have to. We did the research for you and below are our results for the best WordPress popup plugin.

The Contenders for the Best WordPress Popup

To keep things simple, we are only going to compare the 4 most popular WordPress popup plugins in the market today.

We decided to try them out and run performance tests to see how each of them perform on a test website. The criteria we looked for in our comparison are: speed, ease of use, aesthetic appeal, and features.

The contenders for the best WordPress popup plugin are:

Let’s take a look at how each of those performed during our tests.

Speed

Speed is an important factor to consider whenever you are adding something new to your WordPress site. A faster website not only ranks higher on search engines, but it also offers a better user experience for the visitors. This is why it is #1 priority in our comparison.

We added a default popup for each plugin with minimum customization and set them to appear on the page load. This is how they each stacked up for speed.

As you can see in the test above, OptinMonster was the fastest loading WordPress popup plugin.

The reason for this is because OptinMonster is highly optimized for speed. It uses the powerful Amazon cloud infrastructure to minimize your server load thus producing the best performance.

Features of Each WordPress Popup Plugin Compared

You want your popup plugin to help you build your mailing list, generate leads, and convert visitors into actual customers. For that, you will need a lot more than just a shiny popup.

You will need different kind of optin forms, lead generation tools, analytics, A/B testing, and more.

Let’s see how our contenders stack up in terms of features.

OptinMonster

You want to give users multiple chances to sign up. OptinMonster comes with multiple optin types that you can place on different locations on your landing pages and throughout your website. It supports the following optin types:

  • Lightbox popup
  • After post / inline
  • Floating bar
  • Slide in
  • Mobile Optins
  • Sidebar Optin
  • Fullscreen takeover (Welcome Gates)
  • Canvas
  • MonsterLinks

One of the features that OptinMonster became famous for was their signature Exit-Intent® technology. This means that your popup only appears when a user is about to leave your website.

exitintent-popup

MonsterLinks is a lightbox popup that can be embedded into any ordinary link or a button. The lightbox popup appears when a user clicks on a call to action button or a link.

OptinMonster allows you to design your own optin forms using their visual designer. You can choose fonts, colors, add your images, and choose from multiple ready to use templates. This gives you to create very powerful, completely brandable, and stunning optin forms for your website.

OptinMonster optin designer tool

Apart from that you can get detailed analytics on how each of your optin is performing. OptinMonster is a certified Google Analytics partner, and it integrates directly with your Google Analytics account to provide you with the most accurate analytics.

You can run A/B tests to see which optin types are bringing you the most subscribers, and use highly customized page level targeting to show custom optins based on which page the user is on.

Most importantly, OptinMonster works on all websites not just WordPress sites. This is a huge advantage if you run multiple sites on different platforms or want to start a few in the future.

Last but not least, OptinMonster comes with a Canvas feature which allows you to create any type of popups (not just email capture). You can add custom HTML / CSS or use WordPress shortcodes. Think outside the box: related post popups, related WooCommerce popups, contact form popups, contest popups, and more.

Bloom

Bloom comes with multiple optin types.

  • Automatic lightbox popup
  • Sidebar Optin
  • Slide in Optin
  • Below post/Inline Optin
  • Signin to Unlock

Bloom does not have exit-intent technology. Instead it uses the standard timed delay to display automatic popups. Now the problem is that studies have shown us that users usually decide whether they want to stay or leave a website in the very first few seconds. If your optin is set to display too late, then the user is probably already gone. If it’s set to display too early, then this will annoy the user and they will leave.

Optin types available in Bloom

Bloom does have a locked content functionality that requires users to enter their email to unlock the content which can be very effective.

Bloom comes with a lot of ready to use templates that you can customize to use your own images and fonts. They do not have a visual customizer, so you can’t see the changes you make without clicking on the preview button.

ThriveLeads

Just like Bloom and OptinMonster, ThriveLeads also comes with multiple optin types.

  • Automated Lightbox Popup
  • Sidebar Forms
  • Slide in forms
  • In Content Forms
  • Post footer form
  • Content Locking Optin
  • Fullscreen Optins

Thriveleads has a lot of similar features to OptinMonster. It even has exit intent technology for popups.

Choosing template in ThriveLeads

Just like other plugins in the list, ThriveLeads also comes with pre-built templates for optin forms. You can customize those templates in ThriveLeads on visual composer.

ThriveLeads allows you to create Leadgroups and leadshotcodes, so you can create different targeting campaigns with different kind of optins.

SumoMe

SumoMe is a free plugin with limited features, and you can upgrade to unlock additional features.

The free plugin comes with a few optin types. However, the big catch is that all these optin types include prominent SumoMe branding.

  • Lightbox Popup
  • Slide-in optins
  • Floating optin
  • Welcome Mats

You will need to signup for a free SumoMe account in order to use the plugin. All your users will see a prominent blue menu bar across your site unless you pay SumoMe to remove that branding.

SumoMe comes with control panel where you can install add-on plugins, and setup your email optins. It offers some basic customization options to design your signup forms.

Similar to OptinMonster, SumoMe can also work on all type of websites (not just WordPress).

Conclusion

As far as the features go, OptinMonster comes out as the clear winner here. It offers the most comprehensive set of tools that you will ever need to grow your business and website.

Ease of Use

We believe that lead generation and growing your website is such a crucial thing that every site owner should be able to do that without hiring a developer. Let’s see which WordPress popup plugin is the most user friendly.

OptinMonster

Getting started with OptinMonster is very quick. You just signup for a plan, install a plugin and then you are good to go.

Creating new optin forms is easiest with OptinMonster

Creating new optins is also extremely easy. Just click on New Optin button, choose your optin type and customize the design. After that, you can go to your website and select how you want to display your optin.

The user interface is clutter free, and is inspired from the WordPress user-interface.

Bloom

Bloom is a standalone plugin. Getting started is easy because all you need to do is install the plugin and activate it.

Creating new optins with Bloom is straightforward and the user interface is quite easy to figure out. The trouble comes in when you are configuring display settings. There are too many options to choose from making the UX confusing, so you will have to configure them carefully.

Bloom display settings

ThriveLeads

Getting started with ThriveLeads is quite difficult even for experienced WordPress users. First of all the plugin itself is quite heavy, so if your WordPress host hasn’t increased your upload limit, then your plugin upload will fail in the middle. It is 15MB in size which is actually heavier than WordPress itself.

Upon activation, you will need to provide your activation key. After that you will notice font manager, icon manager, api connections, and thrive leads menu items in your admin dashboard.

ThriveLeads comes with cluttered and bloated user interface

When you reach the ThriveLeads dashboard you will see leadgroups, leadshortcodes, and 2 step lightboxes.

It will take you quite some time before you can actually figure out how to get to the actual optins that you wanted to add.

SumoMe

SumoMe is a bit unconventional because they don’t have a centralized admin panel. You have to click on their badge to load the admin options in a popup.

This experience alone is not intuitive.

Before you could add a popup to your website, you will have to install another app from Sumo store which has free and paid apps. It will take you sometime to figure out how you would actually get to the point where you can add a popup to your site.

SumoMe dashboard

However once you’re in their design builder, the steps are very easy and straight-forward.

Conclusion

In terms of ease of use and beginner friendliness, OptinMonster is a clear winner. Beginner users with very little experience can quickly create and add popups and other optin forms into their website.

Pricing

Another decisive factor when choosing a plugin is pricing. The chart below highlights the pricing, but we will explain the pros and cons of each.

OptinMonster comes with the most clear cut pricing options. You pay $49 per year if you just want the basic features, $99 per year for more advanced optins, and $199 pear year for the full suite. They also offer monthly pricing, but annual plans are on average 40% cheaper.

Bloom is not a standalone plugin. It is part of a yearly membership of Elegant Themes club. So for $89 per year, you get all Elegant Themes plugins and themes which is a great bargain. The $249 is a one-time fee option.

ThriveLeads offers a single site license, a multi-site license, and agency license. All the plans come with one year of support and updates.

SumoMe is free, but it can become the most expensive if you purchase their $100 per month upgrade. If you use their free version, they show prominent SumoMe branding on your entire site (not very professional).

Conclusion:

There isn’t a clear winner here.

If you have no budget, and you don’t mind compromising on features and displaying someone else’s branding on your site, then SumoMe is the best choice for you.

If you have a small budget, want additional goodies, and don’t mind sacrificing on some features and site speed, then Bloom is perfect because the Elegant Themes membership comes with tons of other themes and plugins.

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive and powerful WordPress popup and lead generation plugin, then OptinMonster is the best option.

And The Winner Is….

Considering the criteria we set in the beginning of this article, we found that OptinMonster is the best WordPress popup plugin in the market. It offers the most bang for your buck considering the features and ease of use.

Use our OptinMonster Coupon to get an extra 10% OFF.

We hope this article answers the question regarding the best WordPress popup plugin in terms of performance and quality. Which is your favorite WordPress popup plugin? Let us know by sending us a tweet to @wpbeginner on Twitter.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.



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