Today I am doing a Review of ShortPixel Image Optimizer (SPIO) – Why I switch to ShortPixel after using Kraken.io and WP Smush Lazy Load
As a beginner blogger, you may have just started to include images in your blog post.
Initially, you may use 2 to 3 images per blog post.
But as you enjoy blogging more and more, you begin to add JPegs, PNGs, PDFs, and even Pinterest Images to your blog post.
This adds content to your post, and soon as time goes by, you notice your site getting slower when you check your Page Speed.
Does Image Size Matters?
Yes, it does matter!
Because Google cares about Page Speed.
Starting from July 2018, Page Speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches.
You can simply test your page speed on the official pages of Google’s PageSpeed and have a feel of how fast your individual blog posts rank.
Many of which are complicated to understand when you are new to blogging, so the easiest to tackle is the size of images.
The gist is that if your Page Speed is slow, then your blog post is going to be placed pages and pages in the back result pages where no soul will go there. Who reads page 14 of Search Results? (though sometimes I do)
This will reduce traffic flow to your blog especially when you want to use SEO (and you should!) to rank your blog posts.
Also when a user comes to your site, they don’t want to wait for ages (more than 3 seconds!) for your post to load. They will just click away.
An Average page of a blog is 2 MB, and 60% belongs to images!
1MB = 1000 kb
2MB = 2000 kb
If 60% consists of images, which means images take up about 1200kb!
So if you are able to compress(optimize) your images by up to 90%, so that each picture now consists of less than 100kb, you can have up to 10 pictures in your page to tell your story or use the same number of images and let your page load faster!
Faster loading = the faster your reader starts consuming your content.
If they enjoy reading, it will reduce the bounce rate and increase your higher ranking by Google.
Wouldn’t you want that?
So here is my story of how I started with Kraken.io in Mar 2020, switched to Smush in May 2020, and now in Aug, I switched to ShortPixel (and Spent under $10)
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Kraken.io – the first Image Compression plugin that I used
When I first joined Wealthy Affiliate and set up my first free website, Kraken.io was the default image optimizer and was already installed in my WordPress dashboard.
Kraken.io was introduced in Jul 2019 as a replacement to an old plugin.
Wealthy Affiliates has a writing platform called SiteContent where you can directly write your post, press Publish and it will publish straight to WordPress.
Kraken processes images on their own servers which leads to more efficient optimization. As a free member, you only have 50 MB quota which can be consumed quite fast.
Other than that, you will have to upgrade to a paid plan, the cheapest one starting at $5 for 500MB.
Inside SiteContent, you can choose over 1 million free-to-use images from which are already optimized by Kraken.io plugin.
The only limit is that it was only available to Premium members who upgraded to monthly or yearly membership at Wealthy Affiliate.
As a newbie, I was happy with whatever that was given.
I soon learnt that as my blog grew with over 30 posts, I had a slow page speed for many of my blog pages.
One thing is that Kraken.io does not delay load images so Images that were not compressed sufficiently still take up a big chunk of space and cause low loading speed.
Smush – the second Image Plugin that I used
That was when another suggestion came along to use another plugin called WP Smush Image Compression, which does an extra function of delay loading the images. It will only start to load when a user scrolls through the posts.
I was happy for a while with Smush. It did the job well, but I still have pages that load slowly and have very low mobile speed.
Some were in Orange!!
With a free Smush account, you can compress images of up to 5 MB.
Those images over 5MB will be skipped.
One great thing is that you can do bulk compression of up to 50 images at one go.
However, for images more than 5 MB, you will need to get Smush Pro the paid versions.
At times, I even had to delete the Feature Images of some of my posts, and that created some inconsistencies in my post displays.
Some posts have Feature Images and some did not.
I absolutely wasted time going back and forth each post, deleting images, and then checking the Page Speed again.
I could have used the time to create more content.
While WP Smush does optimize images, I just learnt that it only optimizes by 10-15%!
Some other “horror stories” I have heard
- “Messed up my plugins”
- Compress at 1 image/20 secs – slow
If you want to upgrade, they offer a 7 day trial for their plans.
ShortPixel and Why It Is My Recommendation
Ever since I used Pinterest, I have been adding 3 to 4 Pinterest Pins per post.
I have also added Canva posters, excel screenshots, and sometimes PDF files to my Media Library.
That is why I notice some of my posts’ mobile speed has fallen.
I first heard about recommendations about ShortPixel in the FB Groups that I joined.
One remark stood out :
“Smush is not so good, ShortPixel is…” (Thanks to Debbe Garner@The Flooring Girl who is my idol in SEO learning)
So a quick google about Shortpixel and some Youtube videos explaining ShortPixel, led me to sign for a Free account at ShortPixel.
In just one night, I was able to have it all set up, and now I will walk you through how easy it is.
If I can do it, so can you.
ShortPixel is owned by a company in Romania, incidentally the next country on my to-visit list. ( Was supposed to go this Oct 2020 if it weren’t for the pandemic)
Features of ShortPixel Image Optimizer
ShortPixel Comes with many features
- Compression choice
a. Lossy – smallest you can get. This is best for most users, even for beginners.
b. Glossy – great for photography sites who do not mind some compromise in Page Speed.
c. Lossless – means pixels are retained, so this has the lowest compression if you strictly value your picture quality.
- 1 API key for many websites – so you need to safe keep the API
- Allows backup of files – but may take up space in your servers, unless you are with good servers like BlueHost or SiteGround
- Compresses JPEG, PNG, GIF, PDF and WebP files
- You can set to bulk compression at the beginning and then henceforth, it automates compression whenever you load a new image
- You can choose to have a backup option should you decide to restore in the future
- Some images may take more than 1 credit, but any image not compressed more than 5% does not take 1 credit
How To Set Up ShortPixel Step by Step
1. Sign up for a free account here using my ShortPixel link. and click “Sign Up” at the top banner or “Sign Up here” at bottom of page.
2. You will see your API key and save a copy. If you did not see it, then you can request by email again later.
3. Go to Your WordPress Dashboard and go to
a. Add New Plugins > Search For “ShortPixel Image Optimizer” and click “Install”
b. Once you install, activate it, and get your API key by email, or if you have copied earlier, just paste your API key in the API field.
Under the General tab, choose Lossy, and tick all the boxes to compress large thumbnails, do a backup of original in another folder, remove EXIF (extra information like a model of phones) and specify a range of acceptable pixel size.
Under the Advanced tab, you can tick all the boxes.
Tick the boxes for optimizing PDFs and Media Library images automatically upon upload.
After that, click “Save and Bulk Compress” and then it will begin to do its mass compress.
It will show you how many images you have in your Media Library and let you decide if you want to purchase credits by monthly or one-time if your initial 150 image credits are insufficient.
Over 1000 images compressed
For me, my images were over 1300, and each month I am using close to 400 images, and I did not want to wait for the next cycle of 150 credits, so I bit the bullet and purchase $9.99 for a one time 10 000 images.
As they compress, they will show you the before and after compression, and you see there is little difference, that is how powerful ShortPixel is.
Results of My ShortPixel Statistics
After the 10 minutes of bulk compression, this is my result.
An average compression of 72.93%!
Then I did a re-run test of my website and got this result.
Monthly Plans Pricing
If you sign up through my link, you get 150 images instead of 100 images for free compression.
If you need more images to be compressed and cannot wait until the next cycle, you can take their cheap monthly plans. The cheapest starts at $4.99 per month and allows you to compress 5000 images.
You can cancel at any time. The credits available for the current billing period will remain until the end of the month. At the end of it, you won’t be billed again and the plan will be reset to the free plan.
Monthly credits will expire at the end of each month and cannot be carried forward.
One Time Plan Pricing
Because I had over 1000 images and I use an average of 400 images per month, I decided to bite the bullet and do a one time purchase of $9.99 for 10 000 images.
After paying for it through credit card, the credits were added automatically and I can start to bulk compress my past gallery images and then going forward to optimizing new images uploaded to my website.
This is so that I settle once and for all, all related issues relating to Images that can have the potential to slow down my site speed.
You can totally just use up the 150 credits for your images if you have a small gallery to begin with.
When you really fall in love with ShortPixel, you can look out for AppSumo’s once in a while deal that gives a lifetime of 5000 images per month for a one time fee of $37.
You can bookmark this site to be reminded when the offer comes. Or join my mailing list where I send weekly updates on SEO and blogging.
You can control the settings in finer details to control how your Credits are used. A 10 000 credits can last up to 9 months, and credits never expire.
This is really a set-and-forget plugin.
After using ShortPiexel, it should speed up your site Speed significantly in times of images.
1. Easy and simple to set up and use from the onset. Set and forget.
2. Increase page speed by optimizing all your images.
3. Compresses files like JPG, PNG, GIF, WebP, and PDF files.
4. Bulk compression of images and auto compress new images moving forward.
5. Cheap plan if need to upgrade to 10 000 images.
6. Only need this one plugin. You can delete other image compression plugins.
7. Customer service is of the highest standard, 24/7/365.
8. A free trial of 150 images offers a decent experience before purchasing monthly or one-time plans. If you write 10 posts per month and use 15 images (including Pinterest pins), then you can easily always stay on the free plan.
1. Thumbnails also consume credits and you may not get a full picture or detailed break down (who has time to sit down and go through each and every one right? ) So have to trust their counting. or you have to disable them from compressing the thumbnails (made by WordPress)
2. Backups may consume more space on your server.
3. Using API may pose a little inconvenience for someone less technical.
Hope that this post gives you better confidence when using images. Go ahead and use Shortpixel and make your blog beautiful and fast.
So out of the 3 Image Optimizer plugins, I like ShortPixel as the best image optimizer for WordPress.
If you are looking for a fuss-free image compressing experience without paying too much, so that you can work on other aspects of SEO, then you can safely choose ShortPixel for a happy experience like I did.
Take a test drive here: Test my Site Speed free
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