If you are like many people you may be trying to optimize images for Google’s new Mobile test. It is likely that your site did not score “green” in all three areas of the test. Even if you scored highly in the mobile friendly section you may not have scored well in the Desktop Speed an/or the Mobile Speed portions of the test. If this is the case you are probably thinking about trying to improve your scores in these two areas.
Optimizing the images on your website is an easy way to really improve your scores on the page speed portions of the test. This is especially true if your website was built without much thought to things like the size of the image files used on the site. If you are in the process of building or designing a website then you are in a great position to do things right from the start. Of course to really optimize a site for speed will very likely take more than just optimizing the images on the site but it is an easy and effective way to begin.
Ways To Optimize Images
There are two aspects of images that can be optimized to reduce their size and make them load faster. One is by changing the dimensions of the images. This is not always possible though since the images may be of a certain size as a necessary part of the role that the image has in your overall site or page design. The second way to optimize images is through losslessly compressing the image file.
If you use Google Page Speed Insights to check on your loading speed Google will provide you with optimized versions of the image on your site/page. You can find the link to download optimized resources right on the Page Speed results page.
From the provided link you can download optimized images then upload them to the image file on your site. If the file names are the same you can overwrite your existing images. The downside is that the provided images may not be in the dimensions you want them to be in.
Tools To Optimize Images
If you want to optimize the images yourself there are a couple programs that you can get to make it easier to do. Some image editors have more tools built in than others, I use paint.net and Gimp as my primary image editors. To losslessly compress images on my computer before I upload them to a website I found a nice little program called File Optimizer that is easy to use and does a good job.
If you want to avoid replacing the images on your site or downloading them to your computer to optimize them then there are plugins you can get (assuming you have a WordPress based website). The one I like better is Ewww Image Optimizer. Downside is that there may be more setup involved than just installing and activating the plugin. The other plugin I use is called WP Smush. It does a decent job too but is limited to 50 images at a time unless you buy the paid version of the plugin.
With these tools you should be able to get your website images optimized to the satisfaction of the Google Mobile/Google Page Speed test(s). Depending on how your images are used on your site you may not be able to optimize all of them enough to satisfy Google without making changes to the appearance of your site.
This is where you have to make the decision on whether to sacrifice a point or two on the speed test in order to keep the aesthetics of the design you have or to do a bit of redesigning in order to make the Google tests happy. There is no hard and fast rule here, if you can fudge a bit in order to keep the design you want and you still score green on all three areas of the Google Mobile Test then maybe you will have to be satisfied with that.