As many of you know, I am pretty OCD when it comes to speed and am always trying to optimize WordPress so that it can deliver its best performance. Today I will be reviewing a newer WordPress lossless image compression plugin called Optimus. The plugin is developed by the team over at KeyCDN. These guys live and breathe web performance on a daily basis.
As we all know the speed of a website is very important. But how important is it really? Well here are some great stats pulled from Kissmetric’s article on “How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line.”
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
- 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Lets say your website loads in 3 seconds, you are making 1,000 sales per month, with an average lifetime customer value of $500, at an ROI of $500,000 (before expenses). If you were to reduce your website down to a 1 second load time, this potentially means you could increase your ROI to $570,000 per month.
Even Matt Cutts from Google has said…
Accelerating websites is extremely important. Faster websites mean satisfied customers. PageSpeed becomes significant for rankings.
Image Compression is one area I see a lot of bloggers and businesses slacking on. Sometimes it is because they don’t know how to properly implement a good compression tool, and others because they are simply too busy or don’t even realize how important load speeds are to their website’s success.
What is Lossless Image Compression?
There are two main types of image compression, lossy and lossless. Lossy compression actually removes data from the original file, which results in a significantly reduced file size. However you are then also suffering from quality loss as well. Optimus focuses entirely on lossless image compression, which means it reduces the images without any loss of quality. It basically rewrites the data in a different way by removing unnecessary metadata. Even if you are using Photoshop “Save to Web” (which I do every single day), it can still be reduced.
You won’t end up with the highest compression, but you will maintain the quality of your images while also reducing them significantly.
- JPEG and PNG Files
- Maximum File Size: 5MB
- Unlimited amount of images
- Progressive JPEGs
- Reduction of file size with no change in image quality
- Automatic optimization of original and preview images (yes this includes thumbnails!)
- Compatible with WordPress Multisite and WooCommerce
- HTTPS connection
- Images aren’t stored on Optimus servers
- Bulk optimization (optimize existing images)
Optimus has three different plans. A free model which allows up to a maximum file size of 100KB. Then there is a the Optimus HQ plan for $29 a year which gives you everything and a license for all of your own projects. And then there is the Optimus HQ Pro plan which is $149 a year and will give you access to everything but also allow you to use it for all your own projects as well as customers and clients.
You can download the Optimus plugin for free from the WordPress repository.
If you purchased a premium plan from them you will receive your key via email and under the plugins section in WordPress you can enter the key to activate it.
Under the Settings for the plugin you will find the following:
- Images sizes: Here you will see the different image sizes being compressed. This is pulled based upon your theme and plugins you have installed. For example, I have the WP Review Pro plugin installed (which I am using for this post) and it generates thumbnails.
- Original images: You could use this option if you want to preserve the original image and only compress thumbnails. I don’t advise using this as you won’t be taking advantage of all of the compression.
- Image metadata : Keeps EXIF, copyright and photo information in images. Again I don’t recommend using this.
- WebP Files: WebP is a sophisticated alternative method for convenient image compression that is now entering the market. JPEG vs. WebP: reductions in file size of up to 80% are commonly achievable.
- HTTPS connection: If you are worried about security they do have an option to enable an HTTPS connection so that all communications between the Optimus server and yours is secure.
- Optimize during upload: If you don’t want any delay or latency you can disable auto-optimize and simply do it in bulk after you finish writing your post.
Optimizing Images in Bulk (Media Library)
When you install the plugin it will only start compressing images that are uploaded after the fact. But they have an easy way to bulk compress your images. In the media library simply select the images you want to compress and in the drop down you will now have a new option called “Optimize images.” Simply hit Apply and let Optimus do its magic.
You will see a new page come up with the status of optimization. Feel free to open up a new tab and continue working while this goes.
After the images have been compressed you can easily see them in the media library as the plugin adds an “Optimus” column with the compression ratio achieved on the image.
I was very impressed with the compression results from Optimus. As a blogger I don’t work with a lot of original photographs, what I am optimizing is web images and things created in Photoshop. This means I won’t see as big of compression results like those say of a professional photographer uploading photos. I pulled a list of 50 images and my average compression ratio was 39%. Which is impressive!
This image below was something I created in Photoshop for my tutorial on how to automatically post from Facebook to LinkedIn. And it got compressed by a whopping 57%! The original file size was 38kb and the compressed image is 16kb. And it still looks pixel perfect. You can’t argue with those results.
Optimus vs Kraken
Before switching to Optimus I had been using Kraken for the past year and a half. While the compression is great they have had a lot of problems with HTTP timeout errors, which caused huge delays. This was even brought up in the WordPress forums. I was pleasantly surprised with Optimus after first installing it that the delay was reduced by 75%. I can now upload images without having to bounce between different tasks. Obviously with any image compression plugin there will always be some delay because it has to be processed by their server.
Optimus is also a lot cheaper than Kraken simply because they don’t charge by the amount of data used. If I was to use Optimus to compress 5GB of images per month across all my clients I would be paying $99 a year, vs Kraken at $190 a year.
If I was compressing upwards of 60GB of images per month I would still be paying the same $99 a year with Optimus vs $790 a year with Kraken.
I highly recommend you give Optimus a try! If you are serious about speeding up your website then this is a must have plugin. Also I can’t stress enough how important it is to implement a quality CDN, as well as a good caching plugin. Don’t let the speed of your website hold back your sales.
As always feel free to leave your comments below. I would love to hear your feedback or maybe a personal experience you have had with another image compression service.
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