WordPress as a content management system is not always dependent on images, especially not if you run a stylish WordPress theme with some fancy CSS or jQuery effects. However, images play an important role on modern websites, but many bloggers and webmasters alike sometimes forget about the importance of taking care of their images which they upload to their WordPress website.
In WordPress images can be used in many forms, typically images are embedded into the website content itself or as featured image. Many professional photographers also rely on WordPress to share their work, and they are not always providing the best possible experience to their readers. Especially in the age of modern – mobile – web development this is important.
Simple tips for enhancing images on your WordPress website
In this post we're going to take a look at five simple tips for enhancing images that can be applied during the process of submitting a new post (so in turn not adding a lot of strain to your schedule). In return you should be able to have a lot better user experience, both for yourselves and your readers.
- Stop ignoring image optimization
- Deliver images with optimal size and image ratio
- Double check your current WordPress theme
- Let your images be shared on social media
- Improved loading of images with lazy load
1. Stop ignoring image optimization
A case study from 2014 performed by Web Performance Today has looked at the top 1000 websites in the world, and their average web page size, which is a whopping 1.8 MB. For desktop – broadband – users, that is nothing, is it? But, as soon as we start pointing at the limitations (still) of mobile traffic these days in some countries, such large webpage size seems absurd. And as you will discover in the study, the biggest piece of the pie is related to images. How to fix this? Simpler than you may think.
First of all, you may want to bookmark TinyPNG, which is a free service for image optimization that lets you shrink your images by a significant margin. The images you use in WordPress should be optimized before you upload them to your website to reduce the file size. Second, get the Smush.it image optimization plugin or look for other plugins that help to optimize the size of your images, in case you want to optimize existing images on your website.
2. Deliver images with optimal size and image ratio
There still is a lot to learn about the modern web, but one of the biggest issues right now is that webmasters and bloggers don't understand the importance of providing the optimal size for images to their readers. While it might be appealing to show your readers 1280px wide images in all of your posts, you can easily shrink that size to 680px (or other appropriate size) that will not only provide a smaller sized image (up to 70% reduction in size), but this will also please your mobile readers.
However, what does optimal actually mean? It means that if necessary, you can link to the larger images separately under the smaller ones, if people need the full-size image, they will look for the link to find it. And, if you are also search engine conscious, then you will already know that having a faster website can mean having better rankings.
3. Double check your current WordPress theme
There are several thousand free WordPress themes available in the public WordPress theme repository, there are also thousands of themes available on premium marketplaces, and there are many of individual WordPress theme businesses around, like we ourselves.
If you're a photographer, it would be a good idea to change the theme to a grid-like / carousel-type theme, rather than a simple – out of the box – theme. It's all about providing a good user experience, and luckily WordPress theme developers realize this, and give us plenty of themes to choose from.
4. Let your images be shared on social media
This is such an overlooked opportunity for building extra traffic. Simple plugins such as WWM Social Share On Image Hover can enable you to have social buttons displayed on your images, at any time someone hovers over them. Immense potential in this, you should take full advantage!
WWM Social Share On Image Hover is a WordPess plugin that helps you to add social media buttons on your images on posts. It will show social media icons when people hover over the images on your site. This plugin will support Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+.
5. Improved loading of images with lazy load
The last tip will further help you to enhance the browsing experience on your blog or website. Lazy Load is a way of displaying images only once the reader has scrolled to the point where the image can be viewed. This can save a lot of bandwidth and speed up your website as well. There are several popular plugins for lazy loading your images – and they usually do their jobs brilliantly.
Conclusion: Tips for enhancing WordPress images
There is so much more potential when it comes to image optimization and we'll surely see new technology breakthroughs for the modern web, though whether these changes, improvements and new technologies will be quickly applied to WordPress is a whole different story. However, we hope that these tips are relevant to you, and your website. Do you have any other useful tips for image optimization or handling of images in WordPress? Please let us know in the comments.
The following articles on images in WordPress might be interesting as well:
- 10 Image sources for your WordPress website or blog
- How to upload optimal images for MH Magazine WordPress theme
- Solving issues with images on your WordPress website
- Solving HTTP errors when uploading images in WordPress
- Basics of images in WordPress
- How to embed images in WordPress plus adding a caption