Jetpack Boost Is Now Officially Out
The Jetpack team has been testing a new plugin, Jetpack Boost, which addresses the success of website owners and SEO concerns. Version 1.0 was released today, one month after March’s final pre-release.
Jetpack Boost is a separate Jetpack plugin that does not need to interact with the Jetpack heart. The first iteration consists of three modules of performance:
- Local Critical CSS generates optimized styles for the homepage, posts, and pages to display content faster, especially for visitors on mobile devices.
- Lazy Image Loading loads images as the visitor scroll them into view.
Upon installation of the plugin, users can turn the modules on or off. CSS optimization can be a long process, but it displays a progress bar and warns you if you attempt to navigate away from the page before it is completed. Jetpack Boost shows the initial score when it is first installed and updates once optimizations have been implemented.
An example score from a relatively unoptimized simple blog with 20 active plugins is given here:
After installing Jetpack Boost, there was a significant improvement on scores in the dashboard. It’s not a magic wand but it’s a fairly user-friendly way to tackle some basic performance issues that may translate into a better visitor experience.
Checking the before and after scores on web.dev demonstrates a noticeable improvement on the Core Web Vitals assessment. For some websites this could mean the difference between passing or not (meaning 75% of pages on the domain pass).
Automation engineer Nauris Pūćis, who was involved in the project, says that one reason the plugin has been developed was to “make the web a better place for our users.”
In May 2021 Google Search will add Page Experience to the ranking signals, and WordPress sites need all the support they can get. Page Experience is calculated by the main website metrics, but without technical skills and troubleshooting, these results are not easy to change.
Despite the Jetpack’s various features, Automattic chose to include the Boost modules in a separate plugin.
“We want to have Jetpack Boost’s own life – based on efficiency and open to all, even to people who don’t want to use the key plug-in for the jetpack,” said Pūćis.
The plugin has the same modular structure as the Jetpack Core, allowing users to easily disable modules not intended for use. This is useful to ensure consistency with other website owners’ output or cache plugins.
“It is likely that both Jetpack and Boost have lazy load images – the very same module,” PūŚis said. “It is the same module. “If the user activates both Jetpack and Jetpack Boost, the latest version of Lazy Loading Images will be used.”
The features in version 1.0 are just the start of Automattic’s Jetpack Boost plans. The project seems in the process of being a complete performance plugin that may even migrate some of the performance-related Jetpack core features.
“Version 1.0.0 releases the “one-point-oh” way,” said Pūćis. “We release as soon as we can call it stable – but we’re going to do so much. Starting with the basic modules which bundle other traditional techniques of optimization (such as concatenation, minification or perhaps even photon?) – to more advanced ideas such as performance monitoring, intelligent suggestions for performance, etc.”
Pūćis said none of these concepts is set into stone and the team is open to exploring and designing modules that, after further input, would have the highest impact on results.
Jetpack Boost Is Now Officially Out