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As you’ve probably heard, Lazy Images module for Jetpack WordPress plugin is a new outstanding tool to increase the whole website speed and performance via image lazy loading effect, which means only the images visible on the screen will load.
And now it can be turned on as any other Jetpack module. This effect is so useful and widely used because it loads images faster by loading only those ones the site visitor can see, while the offscreen images are not visible until the user scrolls down to them.
In other words, lazy load effect is so far one of the best practices to take care of one of the heaviest assets of any WordPress website – images.
It has a positive impact on the website speed, UX and overall performance; the module performs well no matter the viewport. Users don’t need to wait long for the page to load and can instantly see the images while scrolling. What’s the outcome? Better SEO rankings and happier users – you guessed it.
How we employ Jetpack Lazy Images
Now we are happy to use the Lazy Images module as an awesome enhancement that comes with the rest of Jetpack options. As for now it looks like a sustainable solution for hypothetically heavy websites with tons of photos.
And this module does its job pretty cool, much better than other popular lazy load WordPress plugins.
The process of loading the images is very smooth.
In addition to many vital pros, a new enhancement of Lazy Images module, released in the newest version 5.7 is timely and useful (especially for WordPress portfolio themes as in our case). Lazy Images were updated with a callback for processing image attributes array when attempting to lazy load images are loaded via attachment_image. It means now Jetpack users have more flexibility in setting up lazy load images in WordPress, even if they don’t dig deep into image settings.
What about cons?
Well, there is no perfect software and, of course, there is always a risk that heavy images will load too slowly so that the users can simply lose patience or even leave the page not realizing that there are more images to be loaded.
My quick experiment with our Creatista theme showed that small jpeg images (up to 500 KB) are loading up to 0.5 s (sometimes less).
Probably a sort of pre-set preloader instead of a 1х1 placeholder would make sense? We can replace the placeholder with our own image, but any out-of-the-box solution would definitely eliminate the need to spend the time on this. Just IMO.
Another issue that is sometimes risen around lazy load effect is that Google bot cannot see the images and they are not indexed. I’m afraid I cannot say whether it’s true or not, because it requires proper testing.
The images of our themes Creatista and Nifty Fifty are indexing properly, probably because they were crawled before the Lazy Image module was switched on.
All in all, if you are thinking about wise ways to increase the overall website performance through improving the page speed for your image-centric WordPress website, Jetpack and its Lazy Images module is a tried and trusted way to go.
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