How to Implement WordPress Lazy Load on Images and Videos

So, get this: your average web page is like a heavyweight champion, tipping the scales at 3720kB (that’s a lot)! And guess what’s throwing the most weight around? Yep, it’s images and videos hogging almost 80% of that digital real estate, according to the HTTP Archive.

Now, that’s a ton of data for your visitor’s browser to lift and render. And hold on, the trend is heading towards even beefier web pages with more images. Who’s at the forefront of this media revolution? None other than WordPress, flexing its muscles to easily weave images and videos into posts, pages, and even the theme background.

Enter stage left: WordPress 5.5. It brought lazy loading into the core, making it a piece of cake to pull off this cool technique.

But here’s the catch: all those hefty resources turn downloading a web page into a pricey affair. Users end up tapping their fingers as their devices struggle to fetch those mammoth files—some not even visible initially! That’s where WordPress lazy load swoops in to save the day. Smooth moves, WordPress, smooth moves.

What Is Lazy Loading and How Does It Work?

To make it as simple a possible, think of it like this.

A full webpage doesn’t fit in your browser window, you have to scroll up and down to make more of the page viewable right?

Lazy loading makes sure that only the section of the website which is visible in the browser window loads. The rest of the visible elements don’t load until you scroll them into vision.

Googles gives you a high-five for this because it makes your site appear to work faster, and you might want to join the cheer squad too, especially if your posts and pages are throwing a bash with tons of embedded videos and hi-res images.

Images don’t make an entrance, and videos don’t hit play until they’re the stars of the show and in your line of sight. It’s like a performance boost for websites flaunting a gallery of high-res images and embedded videos. Encore, lazy loading, encore!

Our Recommended Plugin for WordPress Lazy Load

LazyLoad by the team over at WP Rocket is a free option but also one of the best free lazy load plugins for WordPress.

You can lazy load images in post content or widget text, plus thumbnails, avatars, and smilies. LazyLoad takes care of iframe lazy load, too! You’ll easily replace YouTube iframes with a preview thumbnail to further speed up the loading time of your website.

No JavaScript library such as jQuery is used, and the script weight is less than 10KB.

Implementing Lazy Loading without Plugins


In recent years, there has been a movement to seamlessly incorporate lazy loading features directly into web browsers. Currently, native lazy loading is accessible in browsers based on Chromium, such as Chrome and Brave, along with Firefox.

The beauty of native lazy loading lies in its impact on site performance without the need for inline JavaScript code or external scripts. To embrace native lazy loading for your site, all you need to do is toss a loading=lazy attribute onto the images and iframes you fancy giving a lazy pass. Easy peasy!

For video, native lazy loading is not currently supported, so consider a plugin such as Lazy Load for Videos.

Lazy Loading Impact On SEO


No matter which WordPress lazy loading plugin becomes your trusty sidekick, don’t forget to keep your SEO game strong. Check these two crucial boxes:

  1. Confirm that Google can smoothly crawl through your lazy-loaded images. Quick tip: Head over to the Google Search Console, dive into the crawl section, and use the “Fetch as Google” tool. If your images are still chilling in the source code, you’re probably good to go.
  2. Keep the alt text love alive! Don’t skip out on adding alt text to your images. Why? Because it’s like the secret sauce for Google’s image search rankings. So, sprinkle that alt text magic for SEO success!

Summary

Equipped with support from Chrome and Firefox, and anticipated backing from Safari in the future, browser-native lazy loading might be all you require to elegantly lazy load your images and iframes.

Nevertheless, if you’re on the lookout for plugin-based alternatives for right now, hopefully, you found what you were looking for.

Lazy loading stands tall among various techniques available to optimize your WordPress website. Its potential to significantly boost site speed is particularly noteworthy when dealing with an abundance of images and videos.

Once you’ve embraced lazy loading, the door opens to exploring and implementing additional techniques, ensuring your website delivers the speediest performance possible.

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