WP Smush.it is my new favorite WordPress plugin. Sure it may not be as awesome as Joost de Valk’s WordPress SEO plugin, but it solves a massive problem in a very simple manner. It executes lossless compression on any image uploaded to your WordPress Media Library.
What is lossless compression and why should I care?
Great question. Lossless compression significantly reduces the file size of images while retaining high image quality. Search engines care immensely about the overall file size of a webpage. The larger the size the more of a pain it is to crawl and the more energy the crawler must expend analyzing your website. When you stick it to the search engines the search engines can stick it right back at you. Several years ago Google mentioned page load speed can impact rankings and the search community began to quake. In the past twelve months Google has focused more on page load speed and even released a fantastic speed audit tool to help webmasters identify problems areas causing slow load times.
I have run hundreds of site speed audits utilizing this tool and one issue ALWAYS comes up: Optimize Images. Google then reveals you need to compress those mammoth files and directs you to their handy dandy Image Optimization guide. In a nutshell, Google suggests using lossless or lossy compression.
I have used a handful of these compression tools and every single one requires using the Command Prompt giving me crazy flashbacks to my early childhood when I programmed text-based games in DOS. Worse yet, none of these solutions compress images in bulk. Because we all have so much time on our hands we get to optimize each image individually. There does not seem to be an nice quick and dirty Windows based drag-and-drop option.
Last week I searched again for this magnificent digital unicorn and found the WP Smush.it plugin. I installed the plugin on my WordPress site and immediately felt warm and fuzzy inside. The plugin compresses all of your images uploaded to your WordPress Media Library in bulk!
Well how did you do that?
It is super easy. Click on Media within your WordPress UI and select “Bulk Smush.it.”
On the next screen just click “Run all my images through WP Smush.it right now.
That is all you need to do! So amazingly simple. Now the results varied from image to image. Some images only saw a 1% reduction in file size and some saw as much as a 58% reduction. A majority fell within the 15%-25% range. After all these images were smushed I analyzed my site again through the site speed tool and saw my score improved by a couple points. Not Earth shattering, but every bit counts. Check out the tool and have fun smushing your images.