Images can be annoying. Like, really annoying. Especially ones that are bulky, intrusive, and slow down websites. As annoying as they can be, images are absolutely essential to any site.
Integrating beautiful pictures on your website will 100% help design visually appealing and engaging pages for your users to interact with, but at what cost?
Large images can have a significant impact on website speed, crucial for both user experience and best SEO practices. When a website takes too long to load, people leave (within a second or two). This leads to higher bounce rates, lower engagement, and ultimately fewer conversions. Slow loading times are absolutely destructive on a sites SERP ranking.
The biggest culprits for slow page loading times are:
- Large, unoptimized images
- Too many HTTP requests
- Poorly optimized CSS & JS
- Excess plugins and scripts
- Hosting and server issues
Images are often the largest front-facing files on a website. When images are not optimized, they can take tons of bandwidth & hog server processing time. Search engines value fast-loading websites, so don't even think about ranking high on Google if you don't have a fast site.
Think about it: When's the last time you've waited more than a few seconds for anything online to load?
Why am I being so pessimistic? Because any website developed with WordPress can vastly increase their site speed with tools like WPRocket, a3 Lazy Load, and the plugin we'll talk about today – Imagify.
With tons of free & affordable plugins available, there's no excuse to letting images slow down WordPress sites in 2023. Today we'll talk about Imagify, the most advanced image optimization plugin to help resize and compress images in WordPress.
What is Imagify?
Imagify is the ultimate solution for optimizing images on your WordPress site. It is the most advanced image optimization plugin allowing you to resize and compress images with just one click (without sacrificing their quality). The plugin also offers an asynchronous bulk optimization option, which allows you to optimize multiple images at once.
With Imagify, images get resized without you having to do anything. They will be automatically optimized at the best compression level, and if needed, you can always restore your images to their original versions. After setting up the plugin, you can sit back & let it do its magic.
But that's not all, Imagify also converts your images to WebP, a next-gen format for lighter images. Completely optional, WebP images help improve user experience, and SEO, and page speed! Imagify is extremely easy to use and you'll see a massive bump in Core Web Vitals after performing image optimization.
The plugin currently has support for optimizing these file types:
- & PDFs
How Does Imagify Work?
Imagify takes your images and sends it to their server to get compressed. They have 3 levels of compression to reduce size: Smart and lossless. When integrating with WordPress, you have the ability to toggle between the two.
This mode compresses your images without impacting the visual quality. It reduces the file quality in the background, but there is normally no visual difference between old and smart compressed images.
If complete image compression isn't your ultimate goal, lossless compression is the way to go. This reduces the size of images but will not reduce their quality. A great option for photography or image-dependent websites.
Now, whenever you upload an image to your WordPress site through the media library, the plugin will send it off to get optimized. If you delete the plugin, you still have access to your photos. Also, if you notice one of the compression types actually do result in a quality loss, you can always revert back to your original image.
How Much Does Imagify Cost?
The plugin has both monthly and yearly plans available. If you choose to purchase a yearly plan you'll get 2 months free. They offer 3 plans: Starter, Infinite, and Growth
Starter Plan - free! You can upload 20MB worth of images per month. They claim this is around 200 pictures, but I've noticed it's generally a lot lower. You can still get a feel for how it works with this plan.
Growth Plan - $4.99/month (or $49 yearly). This plan lets you upload 500MB of images a month. Great for a starter blog or website with casual information updating.
Infinite Plan - $9.99/month (or $99 yearly). If you're running an active blog or creating pages on your site frequently, this is most likely the best plan for you. You get unlimited image compressions per month as long as you follow a fair use policy. This plan really only makes sense to those constantly producing content. If you are, it's wonderful. If not, stick to growth or use a plugin with higher free usage limits. Unfortunately you won't be able to find plugins with unlimited compression without a monthly price, as image compression costs money & using plugin servers can be expensive.
How Well Does Imagify Compress Images?
Here's an example photo of a bear showing the optimized and unoptimized view. Imagify was able to reduce this image by 300% without any visual quality degradation. The loading time of this images went from 1.3 seconds to 0.3 seconds using a standard internet connection, very impressive! Combine this with lazy loading & you've got yourself a killer fast website.
Imagify Pros and Cons
This isn't the only WordPress image optimization plugin, but we prefer it over popular alternatives like EWWW or Smush because of how simple and easy it is to integrate. You can also use the web-facing interface to compress images without the WordPress plugin.
How to Integrate Imagify with WordPress
It's pretty simple! First you'll have to create an account. Once you do that, you have to enable a key to verify your subscription, and finally you can tweak the settings to your disposal.
After you've created an account, navigate to the API and set up page to view your API key. This token basically acts as the password to enabling the plugin on your site. Copy it, download and install the WordPress plugin, then navigate to the plugin settings page.
Best Imagify WordPress Plugin Settings
Ok, once you've created an account and installed the plugin, it's time to configure your settings. Here's what the main page will look like (under Settings > Imagify). By default, the first two options will probably be selected. Auto-optimize is what will save you hours when working on your blog, keep this enabled if you want your images (uploaded through the media library) to get ran through optimization.
The second option is backing up your images. You should keep this on unless you don't need images to be backed up before they're optimized. There's really no reason to have this turned off! Better to stay safe than sorry.
The last option is lossless compression. If you're running an image-centered website (like mentioned earlier), you might want to turn this on. You'll still get compressed images but not to the degree of Smart compression.
If you scroll down you'll see the optimization section. Here you can enable WebP images. WebP is a modern image format that was developed by Google. It was designed to reduce image file size while maintaining high quality, making it ideal for use on websites. WebP images are typically smaller in size than JPEG or PNG images, which could be even better for website performance.
One of the main cons of WebP is that it is not as widely supported as other image formats such as JPEG and PNG. While most modern browsers support WebP, older browsers and some mobile devices may not be able to display WebP images properly. This means that if your website serves WebP images, users with older browsers or certain mobile devices may see a broken image or a "not supported" message. Use this setting with caution, but our agency site doesn't use it.
The next set of options gives you the choice to resize large images. This is a great idea if you might be uploading images without checking dimensions. If you're producing tons of content or can't assure you'll manually upload moderate image sizes, you should probably turn this on. The file optimization settings turn on compression for specific image types (if they fit the sizing dimensions).
The last setting we'll go over is the bulk optimizer. This will probably on work if you're on the unlimited plan (or if you site doesn't have many things to compress yet). Here you can compress your entire media library at once. You'll see an overview of errors if pictures don't compress properly and an option to switch between smart and lossless quality.
This plugin is great! For most types of sites, you really can't go wrong with image compression. Blogs that constantly push out content or create new pages greatly benefit from a seamless image compression plugin like Imagify. We've been using the paid plan for 7 months and haven't had any complaints! With such a simple interface, WordPress site owners at any skill level can install and configure this plugin on their site.