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How To Save Media Storage On Your Book Blog

Are you running out of storage space in the media library for your book blog? Don’t despair. There is a simple fix that will free up space and avoid any need to delete those older images.

About Your Media Storage Space

Before we get into the solution, here’s some basic insights about your media library.

Every WordPress site includes a media library where you can upload images and files. The storage capacity of that library will depend on which type of account you have with WordPress.

If you have the free version for example then you were  allocated 3 GB of space when you first created your blog.  If you’ve upgraded to the “Personal” plan (the one that removes WordPress advertising) then you get double that amount. Upgrading further to the “Premium” plan and your storage quota goes up to 13GB.

Let’s put that into context.

Each gigabyte (GB) of storage capacity is equal to 1,000,000 of kilobytes (Kb). For most ‘full page’ images, you want the image to be 100Kb-150Kb at most. If the image is only part of a page (e.g. half the width of a blog post), then 30-50Kb is usually fine. So, using some simple maths( it has to be simple or I can’t cope) that means every GB of storage space will give you between 6,500 and 10,000 full page pictures or at least 20,000 half page size images.

Put simply, with at least 3GB to play with, that’s upwards of 19,000 images you can store without running out of storage space.

If you’ve been blogging for years several years and you regularly post content with multiple images (Six Degrees of Separation or Top Ten Tuesday type posts) you’re still unlikely to be using up all that space.

If you are, then it’s time to rethink how you add images to your media library. You might be making basic errors in the way you use your library.

The Wrong Way To Use Your Media Library

Error number 1: Image Files Too Large

How big are the file sizes of the images you are uploading? Chances are the are much bigger than they need to be.

Web and blog pages don’t need the same high resolution/high quality images you find in print publications. High resolution/high quality images are big files so if that’s the type of image file you are regularly uploading. don’t be surprised to see your storage quota shrink quickly.

Here’s the solution:

Before you upload an image, check on the file size. Aim to get it down to 100Kb for images you want to go across the whole page; 30kb for smaller images. I’ve seen many blogs using huge images of book covers – 400Kb each post.

Pay particular attention to this if you use a device like IPad or IPhone to take your own images. Those photos can easily be 1MB in size.

Error Number 2 : Upload Then Edit

Within WordPress there are tools that enable you to alter the dimensions of your image once you’ve added it to the page. Doing this every time you write a post, will give you a headache in the long run.

Why?

Because the image will look smaller to you and to people reading that post. But all you’re doing is changing the visual dimensions – the size of the file won’t have changed. So it’s still taking up the same amount of space in your media library.

Say you added a 400Kb image file to the media library. It measured 904 x 1393 pixels (px) but it looked too big on the page so you scaled it down to say 619 x 954 px. Visually this is an improvement, but it’s done nothing for efficiently using your library storage space – that file is still 400Kb. At least four times the optimum size.

Big Image Files = Slow Blog Site

There’s another issue with large size image files. They make your blog site slow to respond.

The bigger your image file, the longer it takes to appear on your page. Your viewers have to wait longer for the whole image to appear. If they have slow internet connection or bandwidth issues that can be enough of a frustration to make them click off and you lose a reader. One survey in 2018 found that 40% of participants said they would abandon a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

So do yourself – and your viewers – a really big favour. Make it a habit to edit your image before you upload it to the media library.

Compress Files To Save Even More Storage

There’s another step you can take that will squeeze even more juice from your media storage: file compression.

After you’ve done your image editing and reduced the size of your image, you can get the file size down further by using a compression tool before you add that image to your library. It’s quick, easy and usually free.

There are a number of these tools available. If you have a WordPress plan, there are special plug-ins you can use. But there are also image optimization tools widely available online. Some are paid plans, some restrict the number of images you can add but there are also a couple that are unrestricted. Some will work only with JPEG files, others with JPEG, PNG and PDF. I’ve tested some of these and the three best options I’ve found so far are:

Image Compressor: This will shrink JPEG and PNG images to the minimum possible size while keeping the required level of quality. You can do the compression in batches of up to 20 images and you get to control the finished quality.

Kraken.io is another bulk image optimizer. With Kraken.io, you can compress JPEG, PNG and animated GIF files in batches rather than one by one. You download the compressed photos one at a time or in a .zip format. You can also export the files to Dropbox. There is a paid “Pro” version but the basic free version should be enough for most book bloggers.

ImageRecycle.com: this is a paid plan but is a good option if you have hundreds of images in the media library that you want to compress. It has a one-off plan that enables you to compress 10,000 images for $10.

There is another free tool called JPEG Optimiser but I’ve tried it several times and can’t get it to work.

How Much Space Can You Save?

It will depend on the size of your original image but here’s an example of what happened when I used compression for the images on a recent Sample Sunday post,

This was the featured image used across the width of the screen.

The original image measured 800 x 400 pixels and used 106Kb of space. When I applied the compression tool, it went down 9% to a file size of 96Kb.

I tried the compression tool on a different image, this time one that is only part of the width of the page.

The original measured 300 by 375 pixels and took up just 35Kb of space. When I compressed it, it shrunk by 16% to 29Kb.

It took seconds to do this but saved me 18Kb in total. Not a vast saving but every little counts if you are a blogger who likes to offer content with a high visual appeal. If you went through your image library and just did the compression on the largest files, your savings could certainly mount up.

Over To You

I never paid much attention to image sizes when I first started blogging but I now make it part of my publishing process to edit the file to the required size and only then upload it to WordPress. My little experiment with compression has had interesting results so I’ll be adding that to my routine.

Is this something you have tried yourself? I’m curious to hear about your experience.

Thanks to MarinaSofia at FindingTimeToWrite whose comment about the resource intensity of her FridayFinds posts gave me the idea for this post. If you have a book blogging challenge or a WordPress frustration. do let me know. I can’t claim to solve every problem but I’ll have a go. You can find all my blogging tips here

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