When it comes to optimising images in WordPress, ShortPixel is the tool we use. If you’d like a little more background on why you should be optimising your images, check out this previous article: Improve WordPress Performance by optimising images. Here we’ll focus on how to use the tool on a day to day basis. For clients in our Managed WordPress Hosting system we will always do the setup and initial optimisation, we’ll not cover that side of things in this tutorial.
ShortPixel works by extending the existing WordPress media library. Get started by visiting the Media library in your WordPress dashboard.
From here you will see that the plugin extends the standard layout with two extra columns on the right hand side.
One shows you how much the optimiser has worked for this specific image (see ‘a’ in the screenshot below) and the second item (‘b’) is the menu to interact with the tool.
When optimising images one of the methods used is reducing the number of colours in the file, and in doing so reduce the size of the file. While generally ShortPixel will do this well, you’ll be pushed to actually see the difference, sometimes it will go a little too far.
All is not lost. The tool keeps a backup copy of the original image file you uploaded. This allows you to compare the optimised image with the original.
Click Compare and an image viewer is displayed, drag the toggle from right to left and you can view the original image, then directly compare it to the optimised version.
If you do see a substantial difference between the two images, perhaps you see pixelation in the image, you can choose to re-optimise the image or to restore the original that was uploaded.
Let’s look at re-optimising first.
Here you can get ShortPixel to have another go at the image but this time choose (a) Re-optimize lossless. This will use a different algorithm designed to not loose any image quality at all. It will result in a larger file size but usually still smaller than the original file.
Once you do this you can try the same comparison process to see how the image now looks.
If you try the above process and you’re still not happy with the resulting image you can choose to restore the original image. Using the (b) Restore backup option will put in place the original image that you’ve uploaded.
Optimising images in this way makes it easy to keep your WordPress site as lean as possible. Large un-optimised images will slow down page loads on your site, annoying users and impacting your site’s visibility on search engines like Google.
If you’d like more information on how ShortPixel works and you’re hosting your site with The DMA, contact our support team to setup a call to discuss.
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