Three Free Online Image Optimization Tools

Image OptimizationI asked Brian D. Hawkins of HotBlogTips to share with us his tips for optimizing images in blogs:

When designing a website or adding images to a blog post, size does matter… file size that is. The larger the file size, the slower the page load time and that can be bad news for your PageRank. Improving page load speed can help your PageRank and bring you higher in the search engine results. Image optimization plays a large part in overall page load times.

The Balance

In order to optimize your images, you must give up quality or the actual size/dimensions of the image or both. We can compress online graphics and photos while maintaining the actual image dimensions but we lose color and quality. The more compression the less quality. Our job is to find that perfect balance; that acceptable file size while maintaining a quality graphic or picture for your blog or website.

Image File Types

Most website image formats are GIF, JPG or PNG. For today’s comparison I chose to use JPG simply because that is my first choice for online graphics that require no animation or transparency. Many web designers prefer PNG; I recommend creating and optimizing both and choosing the best one for that particular image.

Image Optimization Comparison Test

Image OptimizationI started this comparison test by creating a colorful graphic using GIMP Image Manipulation Program, which also has the ability to compress and optimize images. Gimp is not part of this comparison test but is a great product if you are not using Photoshop or another expensive graphic tool; Gimp is free. This original graphic has a file size of 20.772 KB and as you can see it has crisp lines and vivid colors.

Free Online Image Optimization Tools

Today’s comparison test involves three free online image optimization tools.

Site Report Card

Site Report CardSite Report Card’s image reducer tool was fast and efficient, as were all three online graphic compression tools I tested. This test rendered eight separate file sizes to choose from ranging from 2 KB to 10 KB. I selected an acceptable image that was reduced to 5.218 KB (shown below). That is over 75% smaller in file size than the original.

Dynamic Drive

Dynamic DriveDynamic Drive’s Optimizer is similar to SiteReportCard’s and generated ten compressed images to choose from. I chose a mid-compression level with a finished file size of 5.856 KB (shown below).

Image Optimizer

Image OptimizerImage Optimizer was fast and very easy to use. I selected the ‘normal’ option and was delivered a 6.226 KB JPG image (shown below) and, as you can see, could be used on most websites.

So What’s The Score?

I guess, all in all, it’s a wash. Like I said, compressing an image is a balance between quality and file size. All three online image optimization tools I tested did a great job at reducing file size and the image quality is very close.

original graphic

Original Graphic - 20.7 KB

Site Report Card

Site Report Card - 5.2 KB

Dynamic Drive

Dynamic Drive - 5.9 KB

Image Optimizer

Image Optimizer - 6.2 KB

Out of the three online image optimization tools, both SiteReportCard and DynamicDrive had a nice selection of compressed images in various file sizes complete with a preview of each. Image Optimizer offered only one selection at a time with no preview but you can download image optimizer on your computer for off line use.

There are many other online image optimization tools available, both online and downloadable programs. Which website or program do you use?

Brian D. Hawkins runs several blogs including HotBlogTips.com where he offers free tips, advice and resources for other bloggers. Follow Brian on Twitter and don’t forget to subscribe to the Hot Blog Tips Newsletter.

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Comments

  1. For me Dynamic drive working good, I’ll also try thee remaining twos you mentioned.

  2. I am using Dynamic Drive to optimize all images I publish on web. I also use bulksmushit wordpress plugin that internally optimize my blog images.
    Thanks for sharing and suggesting other web tools in this regards.
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  3. Well interesting Tips for Images Optimization, Finally we have found all the popular online tools which help to optimize images for SEO.
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  4. Thank you! I’m going to subscribe to your RSS Feed to be updated on your latest posts. I can also contribute some information since I know the topics that this blog covers.

  5. Wow, Sweet I’ve just gone to Site Report Card and started uploading images and the result was pretty amazing… Its fast too generates immediately…
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  6. I have used Yahoo Smush.it. It does the job just fine. Interesting article though. I will check into these other image optimizers and see if they perform better.
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  7. I never knew that image size plays a vital role in one’s page rank. I guess this is part of ON page optimization. Thanks for sharing this information. I just realized that there’s still a lot to learn when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.

  8. I’ve used one of your suggested free sites but in downsizing my photographs it blurrs the image when it is a postage stamp. It is hard to balance having enough visual candy (images balnced with text) to keep a reader on the page. I am speaking more of writing poetry than informational or controversial blogging which perhaps need the fast page load and readers may not care about the artistic aspect of the page.

  9. I really wants to say thanks to you for suggesting these tools along with the optimization level. I like this tool and man u r great man. I shared to my facebook friends and i bookmark to this page….Thanks…

  10. Yes that is precisely right. Also your soon to be readers or visitors would dump your site and not continue to browse thru since you can’t even upload your photos fast enough before they click the back button.

  11. Nice post, I used photoshop for optimation, but never tried these application, thanks for sharing….
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  12. I often use photoshop to optimize images on my site but these free tools seems simpler.
    Thank you so much for useful tip.

  13. Sharing is what it’s all about, thanks for taking the time to comment.
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  14. I use image optimizer and was quietly impressed by the service. Will check out other tool as well.
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  15. I have never tried image optimization for my site. Will definitely try it out.

  16. Too bad there wasn’t a 80 and 90 percent option on site report card. Some images especially the jpg type get fuzzy in a hurry. I didn’t try png’s though. It is a nice tool and seems fast. I will have to try a few more images when I get a chance. I am sure I’ll find a few that it will work great for.
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  17. Very good information. I haven’t tried these applications. I mainly use photoshop. I recently experimented with GIMP which is free to use and very powerful. I don’t think I will upgrade my photoshop. GIMP would be my alternative. Cool site.

    Mr. MakingUsmile
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  18. As rightly said, for optimizing an image you need to get a right balance between file size and picture quality. Your website speed will slow down if you don’t drop the size of the images which you have added to your post. You don’t need expensive graphics editors to compress the sizes of your images, some of them which are listed by the author.

  19. Tried a couple of those, but come on, they can’t compare to Photoshop. That is, if you don’t start comparing Free to Hundreds Of Dollars. In that case i can understand getting by with less than perfect.
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    • Hi Maria, I’m by no means comparing any of those tools to Photoshop. I just listed three free image optimization tools, not complete graphic design tools.

      Honestly, most bloggers and small website owners can not afford and don’t need a professional tool like Photoshop. If I just want to snap a few picks for a niche site should I go and buy a Nikon D7000 camera? Of course not. Photoshop is an awesome graphics tool but it’s very expensive and it has a very large learning curve – to the point that there are collage courses just on using Photoshop. It’s all about need and options.
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  20. Site load time plays vital role for the ranking of site for some keywords. Ideal load time also invites good traffic for the site. I think these tools are mile stone for image optimization.

  21. Many thanks for sharing your tips. I am impressed and will use these ideas from now onwards. The tools which you have provided are new to me and have bookmarked them for future.

  22. That was really a handy post to read and I really wants to say thanks to you for suggesting these tools along with the optimization level. However I liked the Dynamic Drive the most but still according to me I can use them all depending on the level of optimization.

    Thanks again.

  23. I have been struggling with images in general on my blog. Sometimes, images are too big, so I have the reduce the size. But, as you mentioned the quality goes down when you do that (in most cases at least).

    I had never heard of these sites/tools before. They sound very interesting. I will check them out. Hopefully they are user freindly enough that a non technical person like me could use them as well.

    Thanks for the links Brian and Gale.
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  24. Thanks for letting us know about these tools. I will definitely try all of them. :)
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  25. Having had a film media photographic background, my money is on the resolution of the Image Optimizer for this particular article. The tips to get involved with the demos for graphics illustrations is beneficial. Plenty of time for prep work polishes the tech savvy. Art is so versatile it continues to break all the molds scientifically. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Before, we are all used to doing all the optimization for sites and keywords. Now, even images need optimization. The trends are changing so fast.
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  27. thanks for sharing that awesome tool! this has been more than helpful for me! :)

  28. I have been searching for some tools which will help me to optimize the images I want to use. Found a great one here and thanks for the share….

  29. I think the widespread use of Photoshop has done a lot in the way of teaching people about optimizing their images; before you save a JPEG, GIF, whatever, Photoshop basically says “Not so fast! What quality would you like?” and calculates the quality/compression vs load-times right there for you in the little window. Just make sure not to go too low b/c most people have a *somewhat* decent connection and we don’t want to see copious amounts of JPEG distortion when surfing the web!!! = )
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  30. Hi there!
    I’ve already read so many useful tips from you which gave me good ideas to start doing something new or improve my skills. The same is this time, as i will have to try out the GIMP Manipulation Program.
    You are right when noticing that compressing an image will always require good balance between the quality and size of the file.
    So far, I always used Photoshop-kinda felt most comfortable to deal with it.
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  31. I like the idea of free and help with my websites! thanks!
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  32. I own a couple of article directories and bandwidth optimization for everything, including and especially images is HUGE in terms of SEO…especially being that Google actually considers load times now.

    Great read and thanks for the recommendations Brian…:)

    Mark
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  33. Thank you so much for sharing. I am checking all of them!

  34. I could use some of those tools…though I’m quite happy with my loading speed. Thanks for sharing this nice list!
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  35. That’s great list of image optimization tools. Thanks for sharing the links to us. Really a nice article for the webmasters.
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  36. Not enough webmasters pay attention to optimizing the images on their sites. Even in this day and age, not everyone who visits your site will be on a high speed internet connection – web users are notoriously impatient and will not stick around to see a page load if it takes too long to load. Optimizing your site, especially the images, so that it loads up nice and fast while maintaining quality is a vital skill.

  37. “When designing a website or adding images to a blog post, size does matter… file size that is. ” I agree it does matter! Too big images sometimes overpower the content of the blog. So better choose an appropriate size files. Good stuff! Thanks
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  38. Any suggestions for optimizing photos already on my website? I have several hundred, and reloading them isn’t very appealing. I use Smush.It, but that isn’t doing enough to reduce the size and improve the load times. I am more careful now to use smaller size images, but didn’t know any better at first, so need a way to fix the ones already loaded that are too big.
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  39. Hello Brian. I found your ‘balance’ theory the most interesting – wanting optimum size with optimum quality within means. I have recently built a website for a local client and have seen taking images from a smartphone or even a modest digital camera works great if you need big blown up images and the same downsizing it to just a little over a thumbnail.
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  40. Dynamic drive has been around forever. Their optimizer is an easy fix for those that don’t have simple photo optimizing software. I admit to rarely waiting around for photos to load when visiting a new blog. This is a most helpful list Brian.

    As you said to James, Photoshop has a huge learning curve. I do believe it was built for professionals. My son is a photographer and breezes right through any process. Colors, sizes, and file types optimized for the appropriate purpose.

    Have a great week.
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  41. This makes a nice complementary post to your last post about page loading. I like the side by side comparisons between the programs. To me, it confirms my theory that it doesn’t matter which one you use, if you take the same images and compress them all down to a certain file size, the difference in quality between the smaller files won’t be that significant. The important thing is getting a balance between smaller file size and quality compared to the original.

  42. Great tips! I can’t tell you how many times I have asked how to optimize images! You have answered my questions! thanks for yet another informative post!
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  43. thank you it’s a very nice site

  44. Photshop is used frequently in our offices , but its nice to know there are other options for image editing . I even discovered a few for the ipad.
    As technology advances there will be more and more options with a smaller price tag.

  45. Brian – I have not used these tools before, but I’m intrigued by them. Thanks for the recommendation. I will be checking out sitereportcard.com today.

    There are so many great resources available out there – it’s so helpful when people like you suggest the truly great ones to help us weed through the list!
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  46. These are really great site to reduce the size plus maintain the quality of the image. I’ve been using image optimizer for long time and it works as wonder. Really impressed with it.
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  47. Never really gave much thought to properly optimizing my blog in that sort of way.
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  48. Great shares, it is alarming how many organisations think that you need to have photoshop to do anything with images, it seems like companies buy photoshop if their staff simply need to drag some images around a page, most people out there dont have a clue how to use it and getting someone like this a licence is a act of madness!
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  49. Zarah Alvie says:

    It’s a common fallacy held by many that the higher the resolution and or file size the better the quality of image. It not only applies to web images but images from digital cameras and the use they are to be put to once taken.

    It might be assumed that with the problem might have been more acute in the early days of the web before broadband was the de-facto access technology but that is also a fallacy particularly in the field of SEO.

    Google’s whole premise is search relevance and searcher satisfaction and to all intents and purposes appears to be pretty good at achieving that goal.

    As such they have indicated that page load times are factored in to the search algorithm and contribute to page rank position.

    And, with their recent announcement of the introduction of a new image format, WebP, which is said to losslessly reduce file sizes by another 25% or more, may well play an even bigger part in achieving page 1 rankings in Google.

    Time will tell as browser manufacturers take up the challenge and begin to support the new proposed format.
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    • Hi Zarah,

      It is confusing to those new to graphics that the physical dimensions of an image and the amount of storage space it takes and download time are two different things. In other words, that an image can be 2 inches by 2 inches or 125 pixels by 125 pixels and be either huge or small when it comes to download time and storage space required.

      That digital cameras default to 3 megs or more is overkill if you never print the photos you take and only plan to view them on a computer, email them, or use them online. I set mine to the lowest resolution so I don’t have to resize them to use them online. That also means I can take far more photos on one storage card.
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