This is a guest post from Gilad Maayan — founder and CEO of Agile SEO and a developer community advisor for SAP, NetApp, Cloudinary, Imperva, Incapsula and many innovative startups. He’s been writing about developer tools for almost 20 years and is deeply familiar with the burning topics in web development.
Go ahead and read on his tips to efficient upload all sorts of media to your WordPress website.
Digital marketers and other web professionals make frequent use of media files such as images and videos to complement a website’s text content.
To use these files, you typically need to upload them on your website, and a platform such as WordPress makes it extremely straightforward to do so.
However, what WordPress and other platforms don’t make clear is that how you upload media can have a huge impact on website performance. The prime mistake people make is uploading media files that are much larger than they need to be.
Large media files slow down page load times, which negatively impacts website performance and search engine rankings.
An accumulation of large files also reduces the server bandwidth available to you.
So what can you do about it?
This article provides five helpful tips for efficiently uploading media and improving website performance.
Compress Your Media Files
Compressing your media files can reduce their size by up to 90% in some cases. Several websites can easily compress images for you, including TinyJPG and compressor.io.
WordPress has a slew of free plugins such as Smush that work by compressing image files as you upload them, so there is no reason to not use this tip.
There are both online solutions and software that can compress videos for you, for example, Handbrake.
It’s worth noting the difference between lossless and lossy compression. Lossless compression removes unnecessary file information without impacting the overall quality while lossy compression reduces the quality of the file at the benefit of much-reduced file size.
Leverage The Cloud
The cloud computing model has revolutionized the way many things are done in the world of IT. What you might not know that it is possible to host your media assets on cloud-based platforms, edit and optimize them, and serve them to users.
Cloudinary is one such example of an image and video management solution that is deployed as a cloud-based service.
Cloud media upload service often come packaged with real-time asset manipulation so that you can serve different versions of files to suit different users.
Companies with large websites and their own developers can make use of integrations with cloud-based services that allow for even more efficient media uploading.
For example, the Cloudinary service comes with a range of SDKs that allow you to upload media files to websites with some simple code in a variety of programming languages. Using the Rails media file upload integration, you can specify the file type, dimension, crop your images, and further optimize media files with the popular Ruby on Rails web application framework.
Consider a CDN
A content delivery network (CDN) is a geographically distributed network of linked web servers. These servers store your media content and distribute them to website visitors that are located nearby.
Instead of, say, a visitor in Australia having to download your website’s images from your main web server in America, the CDN will deliver the images from an Australian city.
The benefits of using a CDN are twofold. Firstly, website performance will improve because pages will load faster for all users. Secondly, a CDN reduces the amount of bandwidth you consume on your hosting account.
Use Video Hosting Websites
Most people are familiar with websites like YouTube and Dailymotion. These video hosting websites are excellent options for serving video content to your website’s visitors efficiently.
WordPress makes it easy to upload videos and the platform automatically renders your videos for users with a basic, inbullt HTLML5 player.
However, it is not efficient to host your own videos because they can take up a lot of space. You can upload video files to YouTube and embed them on your web pages, which reduces the storage space consumed on your servers.
Become Smarter with Media Use
The simplicity with which online marketers and copywriters can use media to enhance a website’s content makes it tempting to go too far and use too many images or videos on a web page.
Each media file that has to load in a visitor’s browser leads to a separate server request. The more requests your web servers have to respond to, the slower a given page will load for users.
To improve website performance, consider becoming smarter with your use of media. Ask yourself whether every single image on the page is necessary for delivering the message you want your visitors to receive. If an image or other media file is not absolutely fundamental, get rid of it.
The most helpful types of images tend to be infographics or charts that provide more detail on a topic in an attractive way or visually represent important information.
Memes and random images can break up content and add an extras dimension, but are they really essential?
Since July 2018, speed has been a ranking factor in Google’s algorithms for both mobile and desktop devices. Marketers need to step up their efforts to improve website performance and save bandwidth when using media assets. Make sure you use these tips to deliver media files to users efficiently.