Illustration depicting a character performing image optimisation on a mobile design.

Three popular methods for Image Optimisation

Poor image optimisation can be the root cause of issues with your website’s performance. Slow-loading web pages can lead to a frustrating experience for potential customers, which may result in them abandoning your site and going to a competitor’s instead. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to take the necessary steps to optimise your images.

Fortunately, optimising your images is not a complex process. In fact, there are a variety of methods you can use to ensure that your website’s images are in excellent condition and operating smoothly. Let’s explore a few techniques that will enable you to get the most out of your images and enhance your website’s performance.

Set and forget using a WordPress plugin

Using a WordPress plugin for image optimisation can be a great way to improve your website’s performance, but it also has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at them in more detail:

Pros:

  1. Easy to use: WordPress plugins are generally easy to install and use. Most image optimisation plugins have a user-friendly interface that allows you to optimise your images with just a few clicks.
  2. Improved website performance: Optimising your images can significantly improve your website’s loading speed and overall performance. This can lead to better user experience, increased engagement, and better search engine rankings.
  3. Automatic optimisation: Many image optimisation plugins offer automatic optimisation features, which means they will optimise your images as you upload them to your website. This can save you time and effort, especially if you have a large number of images on your website.
  4. Cost-effective: Many image optimisation plugins are available for free or at a low cost, making them a cost-effective way to improve your website’s performance.

Cons:

  1. Plugin compatibility issues: Some image optimisation plugins may not be compatible with your WordPress theme or other plugins, which can cause conflicts and lead to website errors.
  2. Image quality loss: Some image optimisation plugins use lossy compression techniques to reduce the size of your images, which can result in a loss of image quality. While the loss may not be noticeable to the naked eye, it can affect the overall look and feel of your website.
  3. Limited functionality: Some image optimisation plugins may not offer all the features you need to optimise your images, such as the ability to resize images or optimise videos.
  4. Plugin updates: You need to keep your plugins up to date to ensure they continue to work correctly and don’t cause any issues with your website. Failing to update your plugins regularly can leave your website vulnerable to security threats and performance issues.

Using a WordPress plugin for image optimisation can be a great way to improve your website’s performance and user experience. However, you should carefully consider the pros and cons of each plugin and make sure it is compatible with your website before installing it. Here at WebFoundations we try to minimise the number of plugins we install on sites so this is not our preferred solution, however if we were to consider or recommend a plugin based image optimisation solution we would look at Smush or ShortPixel

Browser-based Image Optimisation

Browser-based image optimisation involves using a web-based tool to optimise images. Like any method there’s pro’s and cons, let’s look at them.

Pros:

  1. Accessibility: Browser-based image optimisation tools are accessible from any device with an internet connection, making them a convenient option for users who need to optimise images on the go or don’t have access to desktop software.
  2. Cost-effective: Many browser-based image optimisation tools are available for free or at a low cost, making them a cost-effective option for users on a budget.
  3. User-friendly: Most browser-based image optimisation tools are designed to be user-friendly and require no technical knowledge or expertise to use. This makes them an accessible option for users of all skill levels.
  4. Quick and easy: Browser-based image optimisation tools are designed to be fast and efficient, allowing users to optimise their images quickly and easily.

Cons:

  1. Limited functionality: Browser-based image optimisation tools may have limited functionality compared to desktop software. They may not offer advanced features like batch processing, color correction, or file format conversion.
  2. Dependence on internet connection: Browser-based image optimisation tools require a stable internet connection to work effectively. Users with slow or unstable internet connections may experience delays or interruptions in the optimisation process.
  3. Security risks: Uploading images to a third-party website can pose security risks, such as the risk of data theft or malware infection. Users should be cautious when using browser-based image optimisation tools and ensure they are using a reputable website.
  4. Image quality loss: Some browser-based image optimisation tools use lossy compression techniques to reduce the size of images, which can result in a loss of image quality. While the loss may not be noticeable to the naked eye, it can affect the overall look and feel of the image.

Browser-based image optimisation can be a convenient and cost-effective option for users who need to optimise images quickly and easily. However, users should be aware of the limitations and potential risks associated with browser-based tools and ensure they are using a reputable website. They should also carefully consider the features they require to ensure the tool they choose can meet their needs.

Here when we want a quick and easy optimisation we opt for Bulk Resize Photos

Desktop Software

Desktop software-based image optimisation involves using software installed on your computer to optimise images. This is the preferred method we use at WebFoundations as our philosophy is that this type of work should be done outside of the website as the sites primary purpose is to convert visitors into clients.

Pros:

  1. Advanced functionality: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools often offer advanced features like batch processing, color correction, or file format conversion. These features can be useful for users who need to optimise a large number of images or require specific optimisations.
  2. Image quality: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools can often achieve higher image quality than browser-based tools. This is because they can use more advanced optimisation algorithms and techniques that may not be available in browser-based tools.
  3. No internet connection required: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools do not require an internet connection to work, making them a reliable option for users with slow or unreliable internet connections.
  4. Customisable settings: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools often offer customizable settings that allow users to adjust the optimisation process to meet their specific needs.

Cons:

  1. Cost: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools can be expensive, with some high-end tools costing hundreds of dollars. This can be a barrier to entry for users on a budget.
  2. Learning curve: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools can have a steeper learning curve than browser-based tools. They may require technical knowledge or expertise to use effectively.
  3. Software compatibility issues: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools may not be compatible with all operating systems or hardware configurations. Users should check the compatibility of the software with their system before purchasing or installing it.
  4. Software updates: Desktop software-based image optimisation tools require regular updates to ensure they continue to work correctly and don’t cause any issues with the user’s system. Failing to update the software regularly can leave the user’s computer vulnerable to security threats and performance issues.

Desktop software-based image optimisation can offer advanced features and customisation options, as well as higher image quality than browser-based tools. However, it can be expensive and have a steeper learning curve. Users should carefully consider their needs and budget before choosing a desktop software-based image optimisation tool. They should also ensure the software is compatible with their system and keep it up to date to avoid security vulnerabilities and performance issues.

At WebFoundations we use a combination of Affinity Photo for cropping and image manipulation, and ImageOptum for further optimisation. We adhere to the rule that all this activity should be performed before images are loaded into the site.

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