Before reading any further, let’s answer the question:
Why do you need to optimize the images on your website in the first place?
If you’re using your website to generate revenue for your business, then increasing conversions on your site, and increasing the number of warm leads that come to your website are things you may care about.
For various reasons, decreasing the time it takes visitors to download the images on your pages (without sacrificing image quality) will help your website immensely.
Images, Page Speed, and SEO
Page speed is a ranking factor in search engines like Google. This means the faster you make your pages load, the more likely it is your pages will rank higher in search engine results.
Google has a tool called PageSpeed Insights which will grade web pages and give them suggestions for improving their performance.
One of the most common suggestions to see is Optimize Images. PageSpeed Insights will list the images that can be losslessly compressed, and how much data can be saved.
In succinct terms, lossy image compression throws away a lot of image data, and can end up making your images look like garbage in a hurry. You don’t want lossy compression.
Lossless image compression simply reduces the file size, and you should use this any place that image quality is important.
One reason that Google suggests image optimization for improved page speed is that images are usually the largest percentage of page weight.
The larger the page, the more data that must be downloaded for the page to render. The more files that have to be downloaded in order for the page to display, the slower the page speed. If you can slim down the weight of the page, the better that is for performance and page speed.
Here’s why slow page speed is bad for business.
Page Speed and Conversions
We expect web pages to render really fast these days. We don’t have a lot of patience for waiting around for sites to load. In fact, three seconds is about the longest amount of time people will wait around for a site to load.
If customers don’t see your website load quickly, they will likely leave and go to another site. Evidence suggests that a high bounce rate can negatively affect your search rankings, in addition to you losing the sale when people leave your site.
Page speed has also been shown to affect e-commerce conversions. The faster a site loads, the better it is for converting sales.
Optimizing images is just one of hundreds of little things you can do to improve your site. But those little things all add up into better SEO, better user experience, improved customer acquisition, more signups, and more sales.
Why Kraken.io Is A Good Choice For Image Optimization
As a disclaimer, I already use the Save For Web feature in PhotoShop to reduce my image sizes to save page weight. But I have been going back through PageSpeed Insights, looking for ways to improve.
I’d heard many good things about Kraken.io from other WordPress colleagues, so I decided to give it a try.
There is a free version of Kraken.io that lets you upload up to 1MB and download your optimized images for up to twelve hours.
There is a Pro version of Kraken.io that comes in various plans. Though there are large plans that will benefit enterprise websites, I opted for the Micro plan, which is $5 a month. This would be sufficient for most small to mid-sized businesses.
With the Micro plan, you can optimize up to 500MB of images a month. The Basic plan lets you do 2GB, the Advanced 5GB. There are also plans for 15GB and 60GB of images. These would be applicable to large sites, or media companies.
What is useful about Kraken.io PRO is that it uses their server resources, not yours. This means your server doesn’t buckle under the strain of extra work.
The Pro versions give you an API (basically an access code) for their WordPress plugin. This allows you to optimize your images directly from the Media Library with a single click.
In your Account Overview on the Kraken.io site, you can see how much image data you have compressed and saved each month.
If you are using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) or caching, be sure to dump the CDN and cache after optimizing your images.
For $5 a month, this is a great solution to image optimization, and a good way to improve the page speed on your site.
If you are going through a site redesign, performance audit, or SEO cleanup, it may make sense to purchase a larger plan for a month or two. Most businesses could benefit from the Kraken.io Micro or Basic plan.