Tuesday’s Tip: Use TinyPNG to Reduce Blog Image Size

Learn how to use the free TinyPNG website to reduce the size of blog images and speed up your blog . . . and even increase your search engine ranking!

Lately I’ve noticed many of my favorite genealogy blogs are taking a long time to load pages and images. Out of curiosity, I saved some of the images to check the file formats and sizes and I was shocked!

Size Matters: Blog Images

One recent blog post had almost 10 different images in PNG format with an average size of 663k each. This means at least 6.6MB of data downloaded just to view the blog post.

Many bloggers don’t realize that Google and other search engines rank your site on how fast your main page loads. What does this mean? The more large images, the slower the page. Use the PageSpeed Insights site from Google Developers to test your site. Once you’ve entered your blog URL, you’ll receive feedback on ways to improve your blog’s speed and load time.

Personally, I try to use JPG images when possible for all my blog posts, but I’ll admit that sometimes the images are blurry due to the nature of the JPG file format. I love the PNG format, but a simple 570x width image (the best size to ensure social media sharing) can be 600k or more in size.

TinyPNG to the Rescue!

One solution I’ve found is TinyPNG: a free website that will convert your PNG images to blog friendly images without distortion. On average, I’ve seen a 70% or more reduction in image file size, but my readers don’t see any noticeable difference between the original PNG and the reduced sized version. In fact, the image for this blog post is only 32k, reduced from its original 600k file size.

To use TinyPNG, go to https://tinypng.com/ and then open the folder holding one or more PNG files to be reduced in size. Select a file and “drag” it into the box in the middle of the screen. TinyPNG will quickly reduced your file size, tell you how much room you’ve saved, and offer a download link to the new file.

Download the file and then use this compressed image for your blog posts. One trick I use: I give the new PNG file a different name than the original so that I always have the full PNG to fall back on in case I need it. Simply add the word “compressed” to the end of the file name so you now which is the original and which is the TinyPNG version.

Review Your Base Blog Images

Once you get the hang of using TinyPNG, examine the file size of your blog’s header graphics. I’ve also noticed many blogs are slow to load due to header banners that are 1.2MB or more in size!  Not only does this mean a slow page load, but you are eating up bandwidth . . . this is important if you pay a monthly fee to have your site hosted and bump up against your monthly bandwidth limit!

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair – October 21-22, 2015

Join the National Archives for the 2015 Virtual Genealogy Fair on October 21 & 22, 2015. Sessions will be live streamed on YouTube and you're invited!

Set your alarms and get ready to LEARN – long distance and virtually, that is. Once again the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is hosting a FREE online Virtual Genealogy Fair starting on October 21 and 22, 2015.

Right now classes and schedules are in the planning stages. Whereas in the past UStream was used to broadcast the content, it appears that NARA will be using YouTube for broadcasting this year.

Visit the Virtual Genealogy Fair page here for more information and we’ll post the definitive schedule here at GeneaBloggers once it is set.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

Lost Genealogy: Don’t be a Victim of the Digital Dark Ages

Lost Genealogy: Don’t be a Victim of the Digital Dark Ages

[Editor’s note: Click here to download your FREE copy of my Backing Up Your Genealogy Data syllabus. Then read below about how you can avoid being caught up in the Digital Dark Ages.]

It happened again last week. Over on Facebook, I read the story of a genealogist who lost 20 years of work. Yet this time, the circumstances were a bit different. There was no house fire. There was no flood or landslide. All it took was a tap of the Delete key.

Which is Safer – Hard Copy or Digital Data?

As we learn to work more and more online as genealogists in the era of Big Data, we’re busy bees gathering images, records, notes etc. We save them to programs like Evernote for safekeeping. We download images, add source citations to the metadata, but never print them out. We scan documents, track them in our research log, and then move on to the next piece of evidence.

We feel safe and secure knowing that we’re zooming along in the Digital Age. We have new skills when it comes to preserving items. It is all a bit heady and we even get a bit cocky thinking, “What could go wrong? I’m working in the cloud. I’m backing up my data . . .” But there’s more to it than that, and many of us aren’t gathering and backing up everything we should nor do we have a solid backup plan.

Are You Gathering and Backing Up Everything for Genealogy?

If I were to ask you about your current process of gathering data for backup, would it include these items?

  • Emails from family members and other researchers, some with clues, some with family stories.
  • Photos on your iPhone of last year’s family reunion.
  • Digital recordings of interviews with older relatives, waiting to be transcribed.
  • Images of scanned documents not yet added to your genealogy database.
  • Bookmarks of websites used for your genealogy research.

The truth is, that most of us only backup items from our main home computer. We don’t think about laptops, tablets and smart devices like iPhone. Maybe we figure the data will always be there. Maybe we feel confident because we’ve copied the data to “the Cloud.” Don’t be fooled . . .

3-2-1 Data Backup Plan from GeneaBloggers

The Cloud Is Not Enough – Use the 3-2-1 Backup Plan

Me, the “tech guy,” got burned by the Cloud last year. It was my own fault and I accepted full responsibility for just being plain lazy. While I’ve been using Dropbox, a cloud-based storage program, since its inception, I turned off the syncing feature on my desktop because of “the need for speed” when it came to working. Each day I kept telling myself that I would turn it back on and do watch television or do something while the program caught up and copied my local data up to the Cloud.

And then the hard drive failed on my desktop computer. I lost two weeks’ worth of writing and research. Poof! Gone!

So now I use what I call the 3-2-1 Backup Plan and I stick to it religiously. I don’t get greedy for speed or lazy and put it off to tomorrow. Here’s how the plan works:

  • At least 3 different backups. One is not enough. For me, I use The Cloud, a local external hard drive, and a 128GB flash drive.
  • Use 2 different media for backup. I chose three actually, but never have all your backups in the Cloud or on just flash drives.
  • At least 1 backup must be offsite, and away from the original source computer. For me, the Cloud qualifies as well as the flash drive since I store it in a fire safe away from my computer.

Sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?  Well, I have a new device that makes it easier to not just gather ALL my data, even from mobile devices, but helps me fulfill the terms of the 3-2-1 plan . . .

iDrive – How Do iLove Thee? Let Me Count the Ways . . .

iDrive – How Do iLove Thee? Let Me Count the Ways . . .

I love the iDrive Universal Backup service because it lets you back up EVERYTHING — all of your PCs, Macs, mobile devices and even social media content. It’s super-easy and secure. But cloud backup has one drawback. It can take a long time to transfer all your data to the cloud, or retrieve it when needed. That’s why you need a local backup, too.

Introducing the iDrive Wi-Fi Drive

Introducing the iDrive Wi-Fi Drive

And that’s exactly why I’m excited about iDrive Wi-Fi … a storage device that combines the security of cloud backup and the convenience of local connectivity. Conveniently backup ALL of your computers to the iDrive Wi-Fi device via iDrive’s desktop application. The wireless connectivity of the iDrive Wi-Fi device enables you to backup multiple devices (up to 5) at once.

Here’s the part I love best … it eliminates the need to tote your external hard drive around, manually connecting it to each computer when it’s time to do backups. Because it connects via WiFi, all your backups (desktop or laptop, PC or Mac) can run automatically. And in my opinion, automatic backups are the ONLY reliable way to get it done.

An Exclusive 5-Day iDrive Offer from GeneaBloggers ...

An Exclusive 5-Day iDrive Offer from GeneaBloggers …

Normally the 1-Terabyte iDrive Wi-Fi device costs $99.99. But as one of my fans and followers, for FIVE DAYS ONLY (26-31 July 2015) you can get it for just $59.50 USD. That includes one year of iDrive online backup. AND it is PC and MAC compatible. Similar external hard drives with Wi-Fi connectivity cost about $150 (check one out here and it doesn’t include any online backup!) so this really is an amazing deal.

Order your IDRIVE WI-FI now…

iDrive W-iFi: A Mobile, Secure and Unique Solution

Got a smartphone or tablet? You can directly backup your mobile devices to iDrive Wi-Fi, using the iDrive mobile app. iDrive Wi-Fi lets you securely store your photos, videos, music and more from various devices, without the fear of losing it.

All data stored on the iDrive Wi-Fi is guarded with military grade security. Your data is protected with 256-bit encryption, using an encryption password known only to you. So the only person who can access your data is you, even if your data falls into the wrong hands.

idrive wifi drive

I don’t know of ANY other backup solution that combines local and cloud storage like this. Nor is there one that allows you to backup UNLIMITED devices like iDrive does. Carbonite and Mozy charge extra if you have more than one computer.

With iDrive and the iDrive Wi-Fi, all the bases are covered. Your PCs, Macs, mobile gadgets and social media accounts are securely backed up, painlessly and automatically.

* * *

P.S. — I encourage you to order your iDRIVE Wi-Fi now, because this exclusive discount will disappear when the clock strikes midnight on 31 July 2015. After that, the price returns to $99.99.

©2015, copyright Thomas MacEntee.  All rights reserved.