It’s hard to imagine any website today without having images that lend a meaning to the website content. Even simple blog websites can be seen loaded with multiple images. The reason is simple – A picture is indeed worth a thousand words! The right image can greatly influence a reader in understanding the given message and eventually create a strong demand for your website content. Now, there are many ways to effectively use images to boost your social media marketing efforts.
Since having the relevant images is becoming indispensable for all types of websites, it also becomes critical to optimize your images given the massive website space images occupy. Optimizing images can significantly improve your website performance since it leads to a reduced image size (up to 90%) while maintaining the original image quality. This results in savings for the website owner while enhancing the user experience. Since it takes less time to load a web page that has optimized images, a user is likely to visit such web pages more often than web pages taking more time to load. Another great advantage of having optimized images is that it improves the search speed for a given web page and hence improves its page ranking
As image optimization is now established as a key aspect of the web world, there’s a multitude of image optimization softwares available in the market currently. I recently got a chance to try ‘ShortPixel’ WordPress plug-in for image optimization on Social Barrel and I was quite impressed by the results. ShortPixel uses a proprietary image analyzing software coupled with customized open source software to allow for optimal compression results. Here are the key benefits & features of ShortPixel based on my experience of using its image optimization software for Social Barrel website which is a ‘WordPress’ based website.
Free initial analysis
ShortPixel’s home page allows free assessment for a randomly selected set of images from the user specified website. You can simply paste your website link in provided section to allow ShortPixel’s image optimization software to randomly select and compress few images from your website.
Once the randomly selected images are compressed, you will see the result of the image optimization. As shown via below screen-shot, you can see the number of images on your website that were compressed and the compression percentage i.e. by what percentage the total size of images has been reduced compared to the original size. So, I used www.economist.com as an example and as seen below, in about 22 seconds, 27 images were compressed with a compression rate of 36%. The website space with respect to those 15 images was reduced from 411.83 KB to 263.88 KB.
Primary features of ShortPixel
- Supports a variety of formats – ShortPixel image optimization software allows compression for not only JPG images but it also supports other image formats such as PNG, GIF, and PDF. In addition to above formats, ShortPixel can also compress animated GIFs and Thumbnails.
- Lossless as well as Lossy optimization – Via Lossless optimization, all the information (i.e. bytes) contained in the original image is preserved and reversible. It is used for image formats such as JPEG. On the other hand, Lossy optimization reduces a file size by permanently removing some information, especially the redundant information. GIF is an example of a file format that is used for Lossy optimization. With ShortPixel software, in most cases Lossy optimization produces significantly smaller images as compared to the Lossless option. Also, the majority of Lossy images are visually identical to their Lossless versions. Hence, ShortPixel recommends Lossy optimization since you can always restore an image (make sure the ‘Back-up’ option is made active) if you don’t like it and then optimize it again as lossless.
- Up to 90% compression rate – Depending upon the type of image format and type of optimization required, ShortPixel allows up to 90% compression rate. That means your website space used up for images could be potentially reduced by up to 90% compared to the space used up before the image optimization.
- Easy installation, especially for the WordPress websites – The main API i.e. “Reducer API” information is provided on the ShortPixel website and it can be used to compress image(s) based on the URL of the given image(s). If you are using WordPress, then all you need to do is to install the ShortPixel plug-in and the set-up will be ready with no other implementation required. Other advantages of ShortPixel software include single API key usage for multiple websites as well as availability of batch automation function so as to automate optimization jobs for a large volume of images.
- Affordable – ShortPixel provides monthly as well as one-time plans. As a trial for the users, the very basic monthly plan provides free optimization for up to 100 images per month. All paid plans come with unlimited file size optimization and priority customer support. More details regarding ShortPixel pricing can be viewed at https://shortpixel.com/pricing
- Consistent upgrades – To keep up with the latest software technology, ShortPixel team keeps improving their image optimization software with the latest plug-in version 3.3.0 released few days ago. Furthermore, customer suggestions to add new features are also considered and new features are added to the plug-in every 2-3 weeks.
- Customer friendly support – ShortPixel provides a great customer service which includes extended customer support during the weekends. Also, personalized attention is devoted to every customer and the usual turnaround time to address any customer issues is 24 hours.
Test on SocialBarrel
As I believe in the saying that the “Proof is in the Pudding”, I tested ShortPixel’s image optimization plug-in on SocialBarrel website which is a WordPress based website. I optimized 10,000 images using ShortPixel’s plug-in and below result was seen. Compression rate was quite good at 41.3% and the disk space reduction was 191.58 Megabytes. The total bandwidth saving was a massive 1.83 Terabytes!
|Image Optimization metric||Optimization percentage, disk space, or bandwidth|
|Average compression of your files||41.3%|
|Saved disk space by ShortPixel||191.58 MB|
|Bandwidth*** saved with ShortPixel||1.83 TB|
***NOTE: Above mentioned saved Bandwidth was calculated at 10,000 impressions per image.
It is worth mentioning here that ShortPixel’s plug-in has also been positively reviewed at the WordPress’ official website. Summary of the review says:
“Easy-to-use, lightweight plug-in that optimizes images & PDFs. Make your website faster, keeping the images’ high quality. WooCommerce compatible”.
Details of the review can be found at https://wordpress.org/support/view/plugin-reviews/shortpixel-image-optimiser.
Compared to other popular image optimization softwares available in the market such as JPEGmini and Kraken, overall ShortPixel offers a good bang for your buck in the light of features, pricing, & customer support it offers. While some of the competitor image optimization softwares may offer a couple of extra features, other advantages offered by ShortPixel does make it a strong player in the image optimization domain.