The most common mistake I see with novice WordPress editors is uploading mega huge photos to the website straight from the stock photo library or camera. Depending on your camera settings, these files can be anywhere from 2Mb to 20Mb.
Why you shouldn’t upload photos straight from the camera
It’s a no brainer. The larger the image inserted into the page, the slower the page loads. Aside from being annoying for your visitor (especially if they’re on a super tight data plan) Google will penalise your page for being too slow – impacting your SEO.
20Mb or even a 2Mb file is way too heavy – especially if you have several of them on the page. You want your page to load as light as possible.
As a general rule, I try to make my total page size less that 1Mb. Some ecommerce and magazine style blog sites are heavier than this, but I work to the 1Mb general rule. You can determine your page size and other SEO gems at http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/.
How to reduce the file size of photos (and speed up your web pages)
Well, you can resize them in Photoshop, or your standard Windows/Mac photo editing program. But this can be time consuming. The easiest way to ensure your photos are uploaded at a reasonable size is to use a plugin that will resize the images when you upload them. Below are the two best WordPress plugin I recommend:
This plugin resizes and compresses images before they are uploaded to the server. So far I’ve found no problems with Imsanity across dozens of themes and installs.
Once installed and activated, Imsanity will resize all your photos to be no bigger than 2048px wide or long (you can customize this maximum size and quality). It also deletes the original large file saving your diskpace on your web hosting account.
- Photo Dimensions/Size Before Imsanity: 4235px x 2918px (2.86Mb)
- Photo Dimensions/Size After Imsanity (max size set at 1024px): 1024px x 706px (266.4Kb)
It took me a while to find Imsanity because the name doesn’t relate much to the solution. Get the Imsanity plugin to resize images when uploading to WordPress.
This plugin takes things a step further than Imsanity by “smushing” or optimising images as well as resizing and compressing them. Smushing basically cuts all the unnecessary meta data that’s stored in images making your images even lighter.
This plugin works a treat, but they throw a lot of admin messages at you to encourage you to upgrade to the Pro version. If you only have a small number of images, the free version is fine. If you have lots of images on a busy site, then it may be worth upgrading to the pro version.
Both plugins have a bulk-resize feature to selectively resize previously uploaded images to free up disk space.