We’ve all experienced it… the frustration of a slow-loading website! As a web user, this is probably the number one reason for you to have hit the little x button at the top of your browser tab. As a web developer, you’ll know that a slow-loading website can cost you or your clients traffic, conversions and customers.
Ideally, your website should load in two to five seconds, though every second after two-seconds will increase your bounce rate. Understand that your website is one of billions available, and that users have extremely short attention spans. If your website takes too long to load, you risk losing viewers to another (faster loading) website.
It is pretty common knowledge that videos and large images are a major factor contributing to slow-loading websites. Unfortunately though, great websites need to have images as that’s how we, as users, best grasp and digest information. Luckily there are several tools available to help speed up WordPress sites.
One thing that we can do to combat video and images causing a website to load slowly is to make use of WordPress lazy load plugins. Installing one of the available lazy load plugins is one such solution, along with a few other WordPress optimization techniques.
What is lazy loading?
Lazy loading is a WordPress optimization technique that defers initialization of a part of a website until it is needed. Basically, lazy loading forces images to only load when they come into view on the user’s browser. A lazy loading example is if you have a page listing ten different images, only the first few will load at first and the rest will load as the user scrolls down the page.
This increases the initial website load time significantly, enhancing the user experience. Delaying the rest of the images on a webpage also saves storage space as well as avoids unnecessary code execution.
Lazy loading is something that you, as a developer, need to address. With that said, here are a few of the best WordPress lazy load plugins that you can incorporate into your website for a faster page response time and faster general website speed.
Top 6 WordPress lazy load plugins
1. Lazyload by WP Rocket
This lazy load plugin by WP Rocket is one of the free WordPress lazy load plugins available. The plugin makes it possible to reduce the HTTP request mechanism to improve a website loading time.
This is a recommended plugin to use, especially if your website has a lot of images and thumbnails. You can also consider this for your widgets, text and other web elements. Also, if your webpage has substantial YouTube iframes, this plugin will allow you to replace the frames with its own preview thumbnail. By doing this, you can speed up your website’s loading page time.
2. A3 Lazy load
If you aren’t as technically minded, then this is the perfect plugin for you. First off, it is easy to install and very simple to use. Compared to other plugins, the A3 Lazy Load is more of a mobile-oriented plugin. Since most web users tend to use their mobile phones or tablets more frequently to browse, it’s a great idea to make sure that your website is mobile optimized.
This particular plugin is a lot easier for you to set up than some of the others. You can choose what kind of elements you would want to focus on and have control of when these should be visible. This plugin is recommended for posts, pages, thumbnails and widgets.
3. Lazy Load for Videos
Is your website’s content-heavy on videos? If so, then your website could experience slow-loading times. With the right plugin, this doesn’t have to be a problem! Lazy Load for Videos is a dedicated lazy load plugin for a website with a lot of embedded videos.
This plugin makes it possible for your embedded YouTube and Vimeo videos to be replaced with a clickable preview image instead. By this simple change alone, it will significantly reduce the loading page time as well as increase your Google PageSpeed Score. Another thing that sets this plugin apart is that it converts all your videos into a playlist. You can also add some significant customization tools that are incorporated into the plugin.
4. Speed Up – Lazy Load
This is one of the more unique lazy load plugins. The mechanism on how it does its lazy loading is different compared to other plugins. Speed Up doesn’t only implement the lazy load techniques, but it also avoids downloading pictures and iframes. With this plugin installed, it loads only the media that users would first come across. This means that the media at the bottom part of the page won’t be loaded unless the user reaches that point. No configurations are needed with this plugin.
5. WordPress Infinite Scroll – Ajax Load More
The Ajax Load More lazy load plugin is recommended if your website focuses more on viewer interaction. You can use this plugin when your webpage has a lot of single posts and comments. Media isn’t the only factor that makes a website load slower. Extensive copy and long-form blog posts can also impact the page speed.
The Ajax Load More plugin is explicitly built for your infinite scrolling needs. Although it has a more complicated approach compared to other plugins, you can tweak your website depending on your needs. The plugin comes with the Ajax Load More shortcode builder. You can use this to build custom WordPress queries, and it’s also compatible with a lot of other plugins.
6. Zedna WP Image Lazy Load
The Zedna WP Image Lazy Load is unique in that it supports CSS background images. While the current trend is to have a website with a minimalist feel, you will likely still be incorporating images on your site’s background. This plugin also supports customizing animation styles, the threshold for loading content and certain classes.
It is without a doubt that adding a lazy load plugin will add massive benefits to your website’s performance and page speed. A website’s load time plays such an important role in making your website a success that finding ways to speed up WordPress websites is always beneficial.
We hope that the seven above-mentioned WordPress lazy load plugins help increase your website speed significantly!