WordPress can resize and manipulate images, so I’m often asked how to resize an image for your WordPress website. But just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be. This is covered in the WP Quicklaunch tutorials, but here’s why manipulating images in WordPress is not the best approach.
The best things come in small packages
I don’t need to tell you that having good quality imagery is really important for your website. And as digital photography has become more advanced, file sizes have grown. I’m often sent huge images; thousands upon thousands of pixels. But not only is it possible to maintain quality while reducing size, it’s crucial for your WordPress site.
Not everyone has a lightning fast connection to the web, and large images generally slow page load times. That’s one way to disengage your site visitors, who expect to see what they’ve come for instantly. Ask them to wait even seconds and you could lose them through impatience or something else grabbing their attention.
One size doesn’t fit all
WordPress is versatile and with it, you can do many things. But it’s not an image editing application. And while there are plugins that could help, they still require you to upload full size imagery as a first step. Uploading full size imagery into the WordPress library to manipulate it in-app will add tonnes of unnecessary data to your database.
These days, there are countless inexpensive, easy to use tools to apply basic edits like resizing, before you upload and start using up valuable space.
The best tools for the job
It should be quick and easy to resize an image. The fastest resizing option is almost always an external tool. You know what space you have for the picture on your website. This should help you decide what size you need it to be. It’s then best to keep the software open while you upload and check it on your site, in case of further tweaks.
Some recommended apps to resize an image:
Gimp, from GNU
- Free to download
- Open source
Gimp is one of my favourite options as it allows you to do far more than just scale and export ready for upload.
It stands for GNU Image Manipulation Programme, and works across operating systems and platforms including Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. As well as resizing, if offers retouching and you can use it to create composite images from a number of sources.
Whichever software you choose, to improve workflow, use the drag and drop feature in WordPress to quickly drag images into your pages.
Tiny JPG and Tiny PNG
- Free version allows 20 images up to 5MB each
- Or upgrade to Pro version for $25 a year (around £20)
Tiny JPG analyses your image content to achieve optimum compression while maintaining maximum quality. It has a smart cropping feature to zone in on the area of interest when you change the aspect ratio.
Similarly, Tiny PNG, which is compatible with Adobe Photoshop CC 2017, uses “smart lossy” compression techniques to subtly reduce the number of colours and take up fewer bytes.
Light Image Resizer for Windows, from Obvious Idea
- Free to download
- Pro version is £15.45 plus VAT
A resizer and a converter (JPeg to PDF), Light Image Resizer can deal with large photo batches in seconds, and has a number of modes to get the right aspect ratio. You can also add a watermark to protect your copyright, adjust contrast, brightness, and depth of colour. The latest version also lets you make social media collages.
Picresize is simple to use and fairly versatile. You can choose your image dimensions manually or select presets. You can also add effects, such a Polaroid-style frame or oil paint look.
Once you’ve finished experimenting, you can view your image. If you’re not happy, simply resume editing. You can then save as a JPeg, BMP, GIF or PNG, either to an online destination, including social media, or to your computer.
These few are just a handful of the editing applications out there to help you resize an image. Try a few and see which suit you. These nifty pieces of software pack a punch when it comes to power and versatility. So using WordPress to resize your images, with or without a plugin, really is a poor second best.