For serious bloggers and webmasters, page loading time, bandwidth usage, and server space are all very important aspects for a number of reasons. How to keep these metrics down are essentially what everyone wants. There are many factors in the equation here, but one of the most significant contributors are the heavy images and graphics found on many websites especially blogs.
We will not attempt to discuss (at least for now), every graphic element or image that might be the culprit why your website takes a long time to load, or why it is taking too much bandwidth and server space. Since WordPress is one of the most (if not the most) dominant publishing platform right now, I will focus on how to improve performance of WordPress. If you are not yet using Windows Writer to speed up the writing process for your WordPress site… this tip may be the tipping point.
If you were to paste an image in Windows Live Writer, (ie. CTRL + V), it will post that image in PNG (Portable Network Graphics) format. Although PNG supports compression, Windows Live Writer however tends to increase the file size dramatically so it is advisable that you use JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) format.
If the images that you want to post on your articles are graphics related, where the quality of the image is very much valued, you can use PNG. Logos, flyers, templates and web graphics in general are better off if they are in PNG format. This is because PNG is lossless. Also PNG supports transparency and it is very useful in web design as you can see in this article CODE Tips #1. Being as such, PNG does not distort an original image, with the fine details fully and accurately reproduced. However as stated, it is heavier than JPG images. That is why, if you can afford to “loss” some of the minute details of the image in exchange for lighter, faster image files, you can use JPG. When you save a file in JPG and apply compression, not all information is copied. JPG discards some information to make the file size small. That is why, you can see a slight loss in quality but sometimes it is so little that it is really hard to see. This is especially true to photos, and screenshots of applications where there is no crisp and fine edges and blocks of solid color. On blogs with many images, the difference can be massive as JPGs (depending on the compression) can easily be ten times less the size of the PNG images that Windows Writer create!
To ensure that the images we upload to our site are in JPG, here in Tripwire Magazine we use a plugin Clipboard Capture by Scott Lovegrove.
It is a free plugin that allows you to choose the format to use for an image before you insert it into your Windows Live Writer. There is an option for you to choose either JPG on PNG on this plugin so you so you have control over the format of the images that goes online on your website.
How to use Clipboard Capture
Using Clipboard Capture is very easy. In fact it would be too simplistic to explain how it is done but to make it clear, all you have to do is to follow these steps after you have downloaded and installed the plugin.
1. Add the image you want to insert to your clipboard (CTRL+C)
2. Click the “Insert” tab of your Windows Live Writer.
3. Click the “Clipboard Capture” box.
4. Enter a name of the image and select the .jpg file format.
Here you will notice that the plugin automatically types the name that you have entered as the Alt text of the image. You can also change it if you want. Also you have an option to change the quality of the image by clicking the selection and dragging the slider.
Now you are done.
Clipboard capture is just one of the plugins that you can use to make it sure that you have an option as to what file format you use for your images. There are still many others around. If you know anything, please share your thoughts in the comment box below. You are also welcome to share your experiences on how to speed up websites and at same time control bandwidth and server space.
What tools are you using? What image formats do you prefer to use? Share your views and experience in a comment!