Photo by Thomas Rungstrøm on Unsplash.
I was working away happily for weeks on end posting articles with images and graphics when “boom” I noticed my website pages loading very slowly for both desktop and mobile devices. What a shock that was because the hosting provider was supposed to take care of all the technical aspects of my website, including site speed.
I contacted my host provider and told them about the problem. They insisted that it was something on my end. The usual suggestions are to use an image size reducer to resize photos. This reduces the pixel size so it fits into the dimensions you require on the website page.
In addition, the images need to be compressed to use up fewer megabytes. Think of it being shrunk inside to take up less space. For example, a piece of tissue can be rolled up into a ball. The surface area is the same but it takes up less room when compressed. So there are two ways to actually reduce picture size for your website to run smoother.
A second factor that sometimes causes slowdowns are themes – ready-made website designs that can be uploaded at the click of a mouse. Coding of the themes needs to be clean. However, the quality of the developers can vary. Also, some use plugins which brings us to the last common culprit.
The more plugins you have the slower your site. A plug-in is a piece of software. We can upload it to our WordPress website with a couple of clicks of the mouse. Activating it is just as easy. The reason it slows down sites is they take time to load and they may be poorly coded.
In my case, I am on “shared hosting” and my allotted room is limited so if I have more than 5 plugins it can slow down my page load time. You may be able to have more if you are on “managed hosting”. Anyway, it is something you need to be aware of.
Now, I fixed all three and my website page loading time was still slow so I suspected that it had more to do with coding which I have no experience with so I am in the process of hiring an expert to sort it out for me. What I will do in the rest of this article is to suggest and explain some tools you can use to help your site speed.
Let’s start with a WordPress Plugin everyone should have.
EWWW Image Optimizer
The owner and developer of EWWW Image optimizer, Shane Bishop, has created a real gem here. Those of you that have a WordPress website can easily upload it to your back office. There is a free and paid for version. The beauty of this plugin is that it does both image resizing and compression automatically.
You can also do it manually which only takes a click or two, as is usual these days with this kind of software. However, I originally only relied on this plugin when uploading images but I found another way to increase the optimization level even further.
I have a specific procedure I now follow to ensure that I have maximum optimization of all images that are uploaded to my WordPress websites. It involves choosing a photo, using a free image size reducer and then a free image compressor tool. Finally, when it is uploaded to the site I run the EWWW Image Optimizer.
This may be a little overkill but I want to make sure the pages load as quickly as possible for my customers, especially mobile as it tends to be slower and the market share is now shifting to mobile device users.
You can read more about this WordPress plugin by visiting the EWWW Image Optimizer Website.
Free Image Size Reducer Software
Images are measured in pixels. A pixel is the smallest unit displayed on a screen. Basically, it is one dot. Now, the problem is that the images downloaded are usually bigger than the display area on the website page. For example, if you have one that requires 200 X 200 pixels of space, the total area is 40,000 pixels.
However, if you download an image from a photo site it could be 400 X 400 pixels or an area of 160,000 pixels. We are wasting 75% of the pixels in that image. So this is why we need to resize our images. As I mentioned previously, I am trying to be extra careful and use a free image size reducer.
Presently I use a resizing tool called imageresize.org. Basically, it is a drag and drop editor but has the function to upload images too. The image tool can be used for the following purposes:
- resizing individual images
- resizing images in bulk
- compressing images
- photo cropping
- photo editing
- convert images to jpg, png, gif, and bmp
I haven’t had any issues with the free tool for resizing. However, I do use a different tool for compression. There is no real reason – only that it was recommended to me by a colleague and if I am not mistaken, I believe EWWW Image Optimizer makes use of its technology for their compression needs.
Free Image Compressor Tool
The compression software I have chosen to use is called TinyJPG (or PNG). After I finish resizing I upload the image to this tool for further compression. The file size of the JPEG image is analyzed to apply the very best encoding resulting in a quality image without wasting storage or bandwidth.
This is significant because many JPEG images do no use optimum compression which means valuable bytes are wasted. Whatever the software does it examines each photo individually and based on its unique information provided customizes the compression.
I find that once I upload my image to WordPress and apply the EWWW Image Optimizer it sometimes but not always compresses even a little further.
Plugins, Themes and Slow Page Speed
I did speak a little on this earlier. There are two problems with plugins. First they may be large and take time to load and second, they may be poorly coded and take extra time to load. Whatever the reason you need to be aware. I suggest eliminating those plugins not needed.
Then, it is a good idea to have them functioning with the correct settings. It is also smart to hire someone to check if you are not inclined technically. I am in the process of doing this for my sites. Those of you on a tight budget can hire through Fiverr or Upwork etc.
Where Can One Check Page Speed?
There are a variety of places where you can check page speed. In my case, I usually check it within my community. It is one of the benefits of being a member of Wealthy Affiliate. However, there are other free resources you can use such as Google’s Page Speed or GTMetrix.
My experience with GTMetrix was quite good. I explained that I was on a low budget and required some help with further optimization. This is the response I received.
Thanks for your email!
Taking a quick look at the waterfall of your page load:
[ Link to Report ]
I’d say the biggest improvement would be to decrease the page generation time (currently around 1.5s). If you watch the video, your page is mostly ready above the fold, at around 3 seconds, so half of that is spent waiting for the page to generate. That could be the server or it could be code (WordPress or a plugin).
If you require help with optimizing your website, we recommend using Fiverr, where you can find a freelance developer to help you optimize your site.
You can set your desired budget and find a developer that can do the job within that budget.
All the best,
I thought this was very professional and appreciated his kindness. This is a big company that I imagine has corporations as clients and they charge hundreds to thousands of dollars so to help a little guy like me was really nice. I always remember these kinds of businesses.
Go to work and get your optimizing completed so your page speed load times will be excellent. Pages which take more than 3 seconds to load usually lose their customers interest. Also, be persistent if you have problems in getting to the bottom of them.
This is your business and livelihood. In my case, it looks like it is a server issue just as I had suspected at the beginning. My shared hosting technical support did not believe me but now I have the proof. I have wasted four weeks on this issue just because someone without the proper experience did not believe me.
Don’t let it happen to you! Keep at it and you will solve the issues and make the money you deserve with your affiliate business. Maybe you will be luckier than me and it will only be a case of using an image size reducer or compressor to increase your page speeds.