Image editors like Adobe Photoshop have great tools for optimizing images. But there are also free online tools that allow you to quickly optimize your images. Optimizing images improves the quality of your website by reducing page load times and improving the visitor’s user experience. Keeping your pages lean and fast will help you to tune up your website for SEO (search engine optimization).
Optimizing your images can be a bit tricky since you must balance file size with image quality. If you over-optimize your image, you might be left with a blurry image. The tools mentioned below allow you to choose the degree of compression used to reduce the image file size.
Here are three tools that I tried and found useful.
The Yahoo Developer Network offers a service to upload individual or multiple files for optimization. You can upload JPEG, GIF and PNG files.
The process is simple. Just choose your file or files, and a list of the newly optimized files displays, available for download. The Yahoo Developer Network doesn’t keep the files, so if you want to download the optimized images, you must do that right away.
If you have a WordPress site, you can install the Smush.it plugin to optimize your images within WordPress.
The Dynamic Drive Image Optimizer allows you to enter a file from a URL or from your computer. To optimize your image, just click the Optimize button, and you will be presented with various versions of the original graphic.
I tried optimizing a JPEG, and it displayed 9 versions of the graphic with quality scores from 10 – 90. The lowest level of quality – 10 – reduced the file size by 69%, but the quality was unacceptable! I found only the top 2 images in quality were acceptable – 80 and 90. The image at 80% quality had a file size reduction of 22%, so that was a noticeable improvement in file size.
I also tried to optimize a few GIFs, and the results were mixed. For some images, I was able to reduce file size by a sizable amount and still retain image clarity. Other images did not benefit from optimization, and some of the images were actually larger than the original.
Overall, I like the tool since it offers different versions of the image, and lets you choose the degree of optimization.
The JPEGmini site claims that they will “put your photos on a diet”. The site focuses on photos and optimizes JPEG files only.
You can test their optimization by uploading a single photo. After you upload the photo, you can download the optimized photo. If you want to optimize more photos, you can join for free. After you join, you can choose to upload multiple photos for optimization. Photos are saved in albums, which you can then download or send to Flickr or Picasa.
The website works quite well, and is simple to use, but it would have been nice to have more help information available.
Which one is better?
All of the services above seem to do a good job of optimizing images. So choose one of them and get to work on optimizing your images!