There are a ton of websites out there using wordpress but never get the image optimization down. For instance, you may see a nice wordpress site, some nice imagery, but the site loads kind of slow and when you click on an image, it loads of multi meg file. This, is BAD. Never use an image on your website that is a crazy 1+mb. This will kill your metrix scores and page speed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about having nice high quality images, but this isn’t the way to do it. Follow the below steps to optimize your images on your wordpress site using free tools.
First off, when you have a large image, don’t use free online tools to compress them. A lot of those tools will not give you a good compression and may add some pixelation or artifacting to your image. Instead, use GIMP, it’s a free photo editing app similar to photoshop and it’s free. Resize and compress your images here to get the best possible file size without the risk of low quality from online compressors. Remember, resolution is also important. When you are editing your images for file size, make sure to make the resolution a decent size, not over doing it. I like to use a max width of 1920. Anything higher is really not needed, opinion of course.
Next, once you resize your images, exported them as a high quality jpg, png etc. It’s time to upload them and compress them more with a lossless compression plugin. There are quite a few, but one that I use on a constant basis is Smush Image Compression and Optimization. This is a free plugin that does an amazingly well job of further compressing and optimizing your images without the loss of quality. They do offer a pro version which gives you more compression, but as long as you do some of the work in GIMP first, there really is no need for the pro version.
After you install the plugin, its very simple to do a directory wide image optimization using the smush plugin. And that is all there is to it to optimize your images. Remember, the most important part of this process is the start, using a real photo editor to get the first phase of the optimization going using a tool like GIMP.