Have you received a notice from Google prompting you to optimize your website’s images? Photos are a must have for any site, but not all photos are created equal. Some are suitable for printing, framing, and even filming. Not all are suitable for publishing on the web. If you think just uploading your images as is will work fine, Google will disagree. They want images that load fast, causing your site to load fast, causing your traffic to increase, and bounce rate to decrease. But why call in an imaging expert when you can do most of the work yourself? We’ll show you 7 awesome image tools to speed up your website below.
Those of you using a Mac have a great image tool in the pre-installed Preview. You can resize any image with a few clicks of the mouse, which is great for those of you being prompted to scale images (the practice of sizing images shown at, for example 500 by 500 pixels, at that size.) To do so, simply click on Tools, Adjust Size. In the new window you can adjust the width, height, and resolution. As you can see by the below, we are resizing the image to a popular banner size: 1920 by 1280 pixels at a resolution of 72 pixels per inch.
2. Short Pixel
Whether you need an online tool or WordPress plugin to speed up your website, Short Pixel has an option for you. It uses minimal resources and works with any shared, VPS, cloud, or dedicated web hosting to optimize your images. It can optimize any of your website images – even those not listed in the WordPress Media Library. This includes galleries such as NextGEN, Foo Gallery, Modula, or images added directly through the file transfer protocol (FTP). In addition to lossless and lossy compression, there is also a glossy feature made especially for photographers and those who want to keep their images looking “shiny.” It can also compress animated GIFs, an option not available in many tools. Short Pixel gives you 100 free credits per month. Those who need more may purchase them starting at $4.99 for 5,000 image credits.
3. WP Smush
Those of you using a WordPress site will love the WP Smush plugin. It allows you to resize, optimize, and compress all of your images without a single bit of know-how. It is a constant award-winner and top ranked tool, and it even now allows you to set a custom max width and height for images to automatically scale all images down while they are being compressed. All you have to do is upload all of your images and install the plugin – in either order. You will then have a new option on the right hand column of your media library marked WP Smush. It will either tell you how much of the image was resized or give you an option to “smush now.” Both free and paid options are available for users at all levels.
Want to go above and beyond typical image editing? Pixlr is a free, online tool that has almost as many options as your standard Adobe Photoshop program without the hefty price tag. It has various ways to select areas on your image including marquee, lasso, and magic wand. You can then add items to your image including pencil, brush, erase, paint bucket, and more. Advance tools include but are not limited to:
- Gradient – Change the color of one selected area from one to another. For example if you have red and yellow selected, opposite ends will be red and yellow, while gradually changing to orange in between.
- Color replace – Select all of one color on your image or selection to change into another color.
- Blur and smudge – Tools to blur or smudge your image or selection in the image.
- Red eye tool – Remove red eye.
- Text tool – Add text to your image in various sizes, colors, and dozens of fonts from Agency to Verdana.
The tool is free to use, and you can even save or print without signing up for an account. There is also a vector editor, as well as other related apps on the site.
Want to give your images a little flare? Stop by the BeFunky site to upload images and give it an amazing filter. Top-notch choices include lens flare, charcoal, cross process, grunge, motion, patriotic, stenciler, vintage, and many others. You can also add “artsy” touches or add one of their custom frames for a classic look. Still not enough? Graphics, overlays, text, and textures are also available. No worries about the final product being too big. They also offer the option to crop, resize, etc.
Much like Pixlr, this image tool does not charge for its use or require you to sign up for an account. But like the above, an account will help you store and organize your edited images.
Over 200 million images have been edited, collaged, and designed on Fotor. They have desktop software available for download, as well as an online photo editor. The file size limit is 8MB on uploaded files, but your files shouldn’t be larger than that anyway for publication on the web. No worries, their editor will resize your pictures if they’re too large. The flash-based interface looks great and cleverly uses icons and collapsible toolboxes to make navigating through the app easy for first time users. The one-tap enhance is great for giving subpar photos a much needed boost.
Those of you who need more than the above will find it. The impressive array of manual tools allow for more advanced adjustments such as a Magic Clipper, basic and fine tuning options, vignette, stickers, and more. You do need to sign up for an account to begin, but they make it easy. Many options are free but those marked with a green diamond are available only to premium users. Although many of the free options are great, some come with watermarks and lots of ads, so be ready.
Windows 10 offers a new Photos app that has a few extra options not available in Paint. For example, it includes a variety of lighting, filters, and color options. The Photos app also includes a few extra effects you can to add to photos. You can do the usual resizing and cropping found in other apps, as well as interesting options like vignette and selective focus. If you can’t find the app on the start menu, try getting it from the Microsoft Store under Windows App.
HONORABLE MENTION: Paint
Those of you using a PC can usually find this program by typing in “paint” in the search bar. The program does not have all the bells and whistles of those listed above but it gets the job done – if the job is simple. The Paint program interface has a ribbon with the usual File, Home, and View tabs. The File tab includes the open, save, and print options. View includes display and zoom settings. All of Paint’s options to edit can be found in the Home tab. You may resize the image by typing in your preferred sizes or increasing/reducing by percentage. It isn’t great, but it’s already installed on your computer, so no worries there.
HONORABLE MENTION: Compressor.io
Those of you who just need a good, old fashioned compression should stop here. It is an online tool for drastically reducing the size of your images while maintaining high quality with little difference before and after compression. You can choose from lossless or lossy compression, and it supports four of the most common image formats.
HONORABLE MENTION: PiZap
Looking to do image editing beyond your website? Social media is everything, but these photos need tools too. Come to this site to generate the appropriate size and shape photos for your Facebook cover, Twitter cover, or YouTube cover. You can even use the site to make your own emoji. Choose from an HTML5 or Flash version – either of which are a great tool.
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