In 2013, we assessed Kinfolk.com, a lifestyle magazine website. They had trouble with slow load times. Their WordPress home page loaded in over 20 seconds. In 2015, they’ve made some big improvements and are down to 8-second loads. This is still too slow for our blood – but what a great improvement. Our UX target is still under 2 seconds.
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Kinfolk’s website is image heavy. The photography is beautiful. Content-providers uploading camera images from around the globe don’t understand web image optimization. Several automation plugins would help.
The following are our image plugin recommendations:
EWWW Image Optimizer
Reduce file sizes for images within WordPress. Uses jpegtran, optipng, and gifsicle. Optimization levels are user settable. Optimization can be done automatically, but a one-button bulk optimization is better practice.
EWWW Image Optimizer selectable features include: 1) Remove all metadata including EXIF and comments from photos taken with digital cameras. 2) Lossy JPG and PNG optimization. Lossy means there is a loss in image information but visual quality remains unnoticable.
Imsanity stops insanely huge image uploads. You can set dimensional limitations of images. They’re then adjusted automatically. This prevents site bloat – especially from images uploaded from digital cameras.
Clean Up Images
This plugin allows you to delete all unused images. It looks for all images not referred to by any post or page within WordPress. This is a way to keep your server clean from fat, unused image files just sitting there wasting server space. You can select images you don’t want deleted during the process.
EWWW and Imsanity plugins may seem the opposite to our usual recommendation to optimize images in an image editing program. These two plugins are a safeguard against website content providers uploading big camera images. For websites who rarely doing image maintenance or have time to compress images by hand, this is a great time saver. Automated sizing and optimizing is a better alternative than accidental fat images. It’s less refined but better than no prevention whatsoever.