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What is Lazy Loading?

How to Speed Up Your Website with Just-in-Time Files

March 24, 2023 | Posted in: Search | Web Design

Lazy loading is a growing trend in web design. It’s gained popularity since Google started showing a stronger emphasis on website speeds over recent years. Large size files and large quantities of media displayed in a webpage can be the culprits of both slow page loads and sinking search rankings. Thanks to lazy loads, your web developer no longer needs to make a choice between image clarity and snappy page loads — you can have both!

Just-In-Time Files: Explained

Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is a technique used in all sorts of computer programming that means the developer is choosing to defer loading non-critical resources and data until those elements are actually needed. An easy way to think of it is like a Facebook feed: Even though you can scroll indefinitely, Facebook is only loading up a few posts ahead of what you’re seeing.

In web development, the most commonly lazy-loaded assets are images and videos. Designers can improve the loading time of their webpages by loading only the visible items and necessary content, then waiting for the user to scroll before loading the remaining content. Users may notice those elements snap into place, but that can be offset with fade-in animations.

Data Savings

The magic of lazy loading all centers around how much data is being loaded when a webpage is first opened. Especially on mobile connections and older devices with less processing power, loading an entire modern webpage can be quite the lift. Reducing the amount of data being processed during the initial page load can deliver faster page speeds and a better user experience.

Lazy loading can also be used in other types of software and mobile apps to improve performance and reduce memory usage through the same concept. Even email clients have started supporting lazy loading!

How Can I Add Lazy Loading to My Website?

There are two main lazy load methodologies developers use:

Custom Scripts

At Range Marketing, we use custom scripts to control lazy loads on client websites. We install images and videos into pages without specifying a “source” value, then use JavaScript to insert the source URL (and allow the browser to load them) if and when they are needed. This is an advanced technique that requires knowledge of multiple coding languages and should be done while the website is in development rather than retroactively.

Another hand-coded option is to apply loading="lazy" to each of your images, videos, and iframe embeds. Most modern browsers will recognize that directive and apply lazy loading for you.


There are a number of plugins available that can be installed into your CMS to automatically lazy load all of the images the plugin sees in your webpages. These plugins aren’t always as thorough as a custom implementation but they can still make a big difference on your initial load time. Popular options for WordPress include Smush, W3 Total Cache, and Jetpack. If your website wasn’t built in WordPress, a great option is Cloudflare Mirage, which can apply lazy loading to a cached version of any website.

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