One easy way to speed up your WordPress photography website – ShortPixel Adaptive Images

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Speed is not only a factor when trying to rank your website on Google. A slow website will lose you visitors and thus potential customers. Nobody wants to own or visit a slow website. And you want to know which type of content is often the heaviest? Images. This all spells bad news for my newly launched photography website.

I want a quick fix for these problems. One that doesn’t take long to set up yet still delivers great quality photos. Enter Shortpixel Adaptive Images. Shortpixel Adaptive Images will take your images, compress them to a reasonable degree, serve them in a modern file format such as Google’s webp, store them on servers all over the globe, and make sure your visitor’s browser only ever downloads exactly what it needs.

In a first step Shortpixel Adaptive Images will, if you tell it to, compress your images. There are a few varying degrees of compression you can choose from. Lossy compression will compress the image as much as it can while preserving as much detail as needed. Choose this option if you don’t need perfect quality but want a very fast website. Glossy is the best choice if you still care about your speed score but you believe that a slight loss of page speed is an acceptable compromise for top notch image quality. This is what I’d recommend for a photography website. Finally, Lossless images are pixel-by-pixel identical with the originals. If you want your images to remain untouched, then select this option. Obviously these images will be the largest of the three.

Shortpixel can also automatically serve your images in nex-gen formats, such as Google’s webp, if the visitors’ browser supports it. This newer format could improve your page-speed and Google certainly seems to be a fan of it.

Shortpixel uses a Content Delivery Network or CDN from Stackpath to store your images all over the globe. Your visitor will automatically be connected to the closest server and thus their experience will be the fastest possible.

To further speed up your site, Shortpixel employs what it calls smart-cropping. Say you have an image on your site but only half of that image is actually displayed. An example would be the gallery I’ve created. If that image isn’t cropped your browser will download the full thing each time but is told to only display half of it. That’s an absolute waste of bandwidth isn’t it? Smart-cropping will automatically select the most interesting part of your image and only tell your browser to download that.

All of this sounds quite complicated. CDNs and different file formats, how the hell am I, a non-techy photographer supposed to set this up?

Well let me tell you that Shortpixel takes care of it all. It’s literally a matter of a few clicks. Create an account on the Shortpixel website, add your website, install the plugin and select your compression rate.

So what’s the catch? The only one I could think off is that this is a freemium plugin. You get a few credits for free and after that you have to pay a monthly fee. But here’s some more good news. You can get rid of the plugin at any time and your images won’t disappear. Shortpixel doesn’t touch the originals you uploaded.

And the biggest question of them all: Does it work? Yes is the answer. In fact, I’ll let the results speak for themself. Have a look at these before and after results from GTmetrix:

LACphotography.net is the fourth website I’m using Shortpixel Adaptive Images on. My 10K visitors a month site uses it. In all honesty I couldn’t recommend this plugin any more if I tried. If you feel like your website could do with a bit of a speed boost, Shortpixel Adaptive Images is the first thing I’d tell you to install.


Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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