Issue #467

Images Make Your Site Fat

Well hello… and happy… Tuesday? 🤪

Yup, the Monday morning schedule for this newsletter got a little off this week. Both my son and my wife had birthdays last week, so we went off camping for the weekend.

And like a good little content creator, I didn’t pre-write the newsletter. Frankly, I’m up to my eyeballs with client work right now. So, just didn’t have the time. And then it got to Sunday evening and I’m sitting there in the RV and… I figured you wouldn’t mind if I was a day late. 😇

Anyway, was a great weekend. And the weather couldn’t have been better for it.

But, diving into a busy week.

Let’s go…

Images Make Your Site Fat

In dealing with so many websites on behalf of clients (big and small), one of the things I often come across is unoptimized images.

Images make the site look good, right? Well, of course. Problem is, they can also blimp up a site so much that the site takes forever to load up in somebody’s web browser.

And slow sites not only aren’t very user-friendly, but they get frowned upon by the Google gods.

One of the most common things I see is people who put images onto their site and… it looks good to THEM. But, they forget they might be sitting at home with a super high-speed internet connection. Or, big monitors. And it doesn’t occur to them that other people might be sitting on a mobile phone… or have a much slower internet connection.

Most don’t know about site performance tools like GTMetrix or Pagespeed Insights. Or know what core web vitals are.

So, let’s go over just a little bit of web images 101 here. If it’s review for you, then it’s all good. Still good to take a look and make sure things are right with your website.

#1 – Use Correct Image Format For The Situation

Know your image formats. For the most part, there are only two you need to be aware of:

JPG and PNG.

When possible, try to use JPG images. The image compression is much better (which means, smaller files and hence better performance).

PNG images are fine when you need transparency. You know… an image in which the background color shows up underneath. JPG files aren’t capable of transparency, so use PNG for that. Otherwise, JPG is preferred.

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Image Credit: JPG vs PNG For Web

Don’t use GIFs. It is old. Only really used for those cutesy animated things. But, they’re blimpy so better not to use them on your site unless you’ve got a really good reason.

What about “next-gen” file formats like WEBP? It can be good for performance. But, it isn’t supported by all web browsers yet. I would probably only bother with WEBP if I had a plugin that could also-convert for me. (More on that below).

#2 – Shrink Your Images

Don’t take some big color photo that is 3000 pixels wide and upload it to your WordPress Media Library. Shrink it first!

I’ve seen my share of people who upload mobile phone photos to WordPress without a second thought about how large it is. Or grab some stock photo to use on their website and upload it without any thought to how large it is.

While you can take a big, fat image like that and jam it into tiny places on your website and have it look good, the web browser is still downloading that big mega-file. Even if you’re only showing the images at 500 pixels, if it is actually a 3000 pixel image then that entire thing is being downloaded.

So, shrink your images before you upload them.

It is indeed best to take a little care and do this on your computer BEFORE upload. Bust our some simple photo editor and size those massive photos down close to the actual size you intend to use it.

Even better, reduce the image quality a bit. I usually export JPGs at at least 70% quality and you can’t even tell the difference.

And if it is a PNG file and there’s no transparency, for the love of God please convert it to JPG first. It will reduce the file size substantially.

#3 – Do You Really Need An Image There?

Do you really need an image background in some section of your site? Maybe a solid color will suffice? Maybe even a subtle color gradient?

Often, I will see people drop some massive background image into something like a title bar. You know, to make it “pretty”. And they’ll put some color overlay over top of it and it looks good.

But, it also makes the site fat. 😇

Many times, that background image serves no actual purpose. If it were just a color back there, literally nobody would think a thing of it except for you.

If you can use colors and gradients instead of actual images, it really helps streamline your website.

So, don’t use images unless it really serves an actual reason. And, when you do, make sure you optimize it first.

#4 – Use An Image Optimization Plugin

I think it is not only smart – but almost essential – that you use a plugin on your site that automatically optimizes images when you upload them to your site.

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My personal preference is ShortPixel. However, there are indeed many other options such as EWWW, Smush, Optimole and Imagify.

These plugins connect your site to a remote service which will them auto-optimize your images and put them into your Media Library. Many will also save the originals into a backup folder for you in case you want to restore.

Such plugins are invaluable because you really don’t have to think about it much. You just upload like usual and the service will automatically optimize the image. You can also automatically convert it to WEBP if you would like to do that. The resulting size file is often much smaller and there’s simply no visual difference to image quality.

These plugins are such a massive time-saver. Even if you know how to resize an image yourself on your computer, it still takes time and that’s time better spent doing something more productive.

Again, I recommend ShortPixel. It is what I use and what I use for my clients.

Let Somebody Else Deal With The “Tech Stuff”

With WP Concierge, you no longer have to deal with the tech stuff. We’ll provide all the software, maintain it for you, and provide personal support along the way. All included… and you’ll be on a first name basis with your “web guy”

WordPress Quick Bits…

ShortPixel Launches New Unlimited Plan. Shortpixel is one of the most popular image optimization services and it has typically operated on the basis of credits. And people buy credits for optimization. In a cool move, they launched new unlimited plan where you no longer even have to think about it. NOTE that Concierge clients can get image optimization via ShortPixel included.

Fluent Support posts about customer support trends. The team behind Fluent Support has posted a piece on various CEO viewpoints on 2024 customer support trends. Unsurprisingly, most of them are talking about AI. And look… I know AI-powered support is growing and will continue to. I don’t have to like it. 🤣 And personally, I think this will just lead to a greater appreciation and selling proposition for some companies who actually have real people answering chat support.

Hostinger Has Awful Motives?. Interesting convo in the WordPress forums when a guy noticed an affiliate link plugin in the “Must Use” plugin list. An MU plugin is when the plugin is auto-loaded and you can’t turn it off. And this plugin was rewriting certain links into affiliate links. As it turns out, it was put there by his web host: Hostinger. Sadly, it isn’t exactly uncommon for web hosts to try to bundle plugins into their client sites. It is a revenue stream for them. And also sadly, I see Awesome Motive plugins often the ones being pimped. But, putting the plugin into the MU section? That’s a wee bit shady, if you ask me.

AnalyticsWP Launches. A new plugin called AnalyticsWP has been launched and is now available on a lifetime plan. It looks cool, I will say. However, these kinds of plugins always concern me when it comes to performance. They say it is fast and that the tracking script is only 1.4KB, but that doesn’t really speak to the fact that the server is sitting there having to process and record all that stuff behind the scenes of that little tracking script. So, we shall see. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to test it at some point.

Conversations Matter (And Make Money)

We live in a world where too many businesses are trying to automate. Frankly, they’re trying NOT to talk to you. They don’t look at it as scalable.

And, they’re right.

We also live in a world where a lot of solopreneurs online are trying to create and sell products without ever talking to the people they want to serve.

They’re doing the equivalent of just throwing spaghetti up against the wall to see what sticks. Of, they’re sitting there behind their keyboard just deciding and assuming what people want.

That’s not scalable either. But, this time, not scalable in the other direction. Because, frankly, in most cases there won’t be much to scale.

How can you really make the right offer and dial in the marketing for it if you’ve never talked to the people who might buy it?

Not long after I really began to lean into WP Concierge as the core offer for the Blog Marketing Academy site, I decided to do something I never thought I would do…

I offered the ability to schedule a call with me for free in order to talk about it.

I now do several of these calls each week. And I don’t charge anything for it.

Why would I do that? Well, for two reasons:

  • Even though not an ounce of me gets “salesy” on these calls, the conversion rate is pretty good. More often than not, people come off these calls and shortly either book a project and/or become a Concierge client. Why? Simply because I directly answered their questions and I was approachable.
  • It gives me an ability to LISTEN. To get feedback. To hear their concerns and have a good conversation. That’s valuable even if they end up not enrolling in Concierge.

Conversations matter.

They help create relationships. They help you learn. And yes, they can convert to sales.

Is it scalable?

Hell no. I knew that going in. 😇

But, you know what?

These days… while “big corporate” is trying to make you talk to AI bots and make you go away in order to save money, I think there’s money in doing what is NOT scalable.

Be personable. Be real. Talk to people.

This isn’t just about having snazzy websites and using magic word combinations to get them to click buy buttons. Nah, it is much simpler than that. Because we’re all just people.

People like to be heard and understood. So, talk to them.

Do you need to have a little screening on this? Yes, of course. I won’t accept these free Roadmap calls about just anything. This isn’t a consulting call.

So, if your product or service makes sense for this, consider offering an option for people to talk to you before they make a purchase.

See what happens.

Under no circumstances do you get super salesy. I never do. Makes me feel icky anyway.

And whatever happens, have a good conversation and listen. Learn. And it will help you make a better offer. You’ll save time in the long run.

Here’s How I Can Help…

  • ConciergeI’ll be your “web guy”, helping to maintain your site for you do you don’t have to think about it. Also includes access to my agency plugin licenses, site analytics, and a massive discount on any potential project work on your site.
  • WP Speed Fix. Get the performance scores and core web vitals for your website fixed. Let me deal with the nerdy stuff. And let’s make your site purr like a kitten.
  • I’ll Do It For You: Via my technical services, I can dive into your site and take care of the complex stuff for you. Whether it be just some tweaks… or building out a full membership site and marketing automation funnel, I can ensure your WordPress site is working for you and not the other way around.
  • Book A Call Anytime. Via a private one-on-one call, I’ll make your business… my business. Easy peasy.
  • ONEPass – All Access Pass To Every Course In The Library. For one small one-time purchase, you can unlock every course in the Blog Marketing Academy library. For life.