9 steps to improve your Core Web Vitals in WordPress
As a website owner, it is essential to ensure that your website performs well and offers a smooth user experience. One of the critical aspects of UX is performance, which is where Core Web Vitals (CWV) come into play. Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics that Google introduced in 2020 to measure the performance and user experience of a webpage. These metrics have become increasingly important as they are ranking factors for websites in Google search results.
In this article, we will discuss why Core Web Vitals matter for your WordPress website’s performance, understand each Core Web Vitals metric. We will walk you through some specific steps we took to make WordPress websites pass Core Web Vitals for all URLs.
We will also share a few tools to check your WordPress site’s CWV performance.
Table of Contents
Why Core Web Vitals Matter for Your WordPress Site’s Performance
Core Web Vitals are crucial for your WordPress site’s performance for several reasons. First and foremost, they are now a ranking factor in Google search results, meaning that websites with better CWV scores will likely rank higher in search results. This can lead to increased organic traffic, higher click-through rates, and ultimately, more revenue for your online business.
Websites with faster loading times tend to have lower bounce rates and higher user engagement. In other words, your visitors are more likely to spend more time on your site, view more pages, and complete desired actions such as making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter.
Understanding the Three Core Web Vitals Metrics
The three Core Web Vitals metrics are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the loading performance of a webpage and is focused on the time it takes for the largest visible content element to load. A good LCP score is 2.5 seconds or less.
- First Input Delay (FID): FID measures the interactivity of a webpage, specifically the time it takes for a page to become responsive to user input (such as clicking a link or button). A good FID score is 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS measures the visual stability of a webpage, quantifying how much visible content shifts unexpectedly during the loading process. A good CLS score is 0.1 or less.
How to Measure Your WordPress Site’s Core Web Vitals Performance
Several tools can help you measure your WordPress site’s Core Web Vitals performance. Some popular choices include:
- Google Search Console: This free tool from Google provides a Core Web Vitals report that shows your site’s performance based on real-world user data.
- Google PageSpeed Insights: This tool analyzes your webpage and provides recommendations for improving its performance, including Core Web Vitals scores.
- Lighthouse: A free, open-source tool from Google that audits your webpage’s performance, accessibility, and best practices.
Common Issues Affecting Core Web Vitals in WordPress
Many factors can negatively impact your WordPress site’s Core Web Vitals scores, including:
- Slow server response times
- Large, unoptimized images and videos
- Inefficient database queries
- Poorly coded themes or plugins
9 Steps to Improve Core Web Vitals in WordPress
a. Optimize Images and Videos
Large, unoptimized images and videos can significantly slow down your website and negatively impact your LCP score. To optimize your multimedia assets, you can:
- Compress images using tools like Optimole or ShortPixel.
- Use the correct image format (e.g., WebP, JPEG, or PNG) based on the content and browser support.
- Implement responsive images using the
srcsetattribute to serve the appropriate image size based on the user’s device.
- Compress and optimize videos using tools like HandBrake or ffmpeg.
b. Minimize CSS and JS Files
c. Use a Caching Plugin
Caching plugins can significantly improve your WordPress site’s performance by storing static versions of your webpages and serving them to users, reducing the work needed to generate a page.
While there are many options out there for such plugins, WP Rocket is our favorite and the one that gave us the best results.
Solid alternatives include include W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, Autoptimize, or Perfmatters.
d. Reduce Server Response Time
Slow server response times can negatively impact your LCP and FID scores. To reduce server response time, you can:
- Optimize your PHP and database settings for better performance.
- Implement server-side caching using solutions like Varnish or Memcached.
- Use server monitoring tools to identify and resolve performance bottlenecks.
e. Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider
Your hosting provider plays a crucial role in your WordPress site’s performance. A reliable hosting provider should offer:
- Fast server response times
- Scalable resources to handle traffic spikes
- Support for the latest PHP versions
- Efficient customer support
Some popular hosting providers for WordPress include Kinsta, WP Engine, and SiteGround.
f. Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Popular CDN providers include Cloudflare, Fastly, and KeyCDN.
g. Implement Lazy-Loading
Lazy-loading is a technique that delays the loading of non-critical images and iframes until they become visible in the user’s viewport, reducing the initial loading time of your webpages.
You can implement lazy-loading in WordPress using plugins like:
h. Optimize Your Fonts and Font Delivery
Custom fonts can significantly impact your website’s performance, especially if they are large or loaded from external sources. To optimize your fonts and font delivery, you can:
- Use modern, efficient font formats like WOFF2 or variable fonts.
- Self-host your fonts instead of loading them from external providers like Google Fonts.
- Preload critical fonts using the
rel="preload"attribute to prioritize their loading.
i. Optimize Your Database
An inefficient database can slow down your WordPress site and negatively impact your Core Web Vitals scores. To optimize your database, you can:
- Use a plugin like WP-Optimize or Advanced Database Cleaner to clean up unnecessary data, such as post revisions, trashed items, and expired transients.
- Optimize your database tables using tools like phpMyAdmin or the WP-DBManager plugin.
- Implement object caching using a plugin like Redis Object Cache or Memcached Redux.
Tools to Check Your WordPress Site’s Core Web Vitals
In addition to the tools mentioned earlier (Google Search Console, Google PageSpeed Insights, and Lighthouse), you can also use the followingtools to check your WordPress site’s Core Web Vitals:
- WebPageTest: This tool provides detailed performance reports for your webpages, including Core Web Vitals metrics, and allows you to test your site from different locations and devices.
- GTmetrix: GTmetrix analyzes your webpage’s performance and provides recommendations for improving its speed and user experience, including Core Web Vitals scores.
- Pingdom Website Speed Test: This tool tests your website’s speed and performance, providing a breakdown of page elements, load times, and Core Web Vitals metrics.
Conclusion and Next Steps
In conclusion, Core Web Vitals are critical for your WordPress site’s performance and user experience, as they are now a ranking factor in Google search results. By understanding the three Core Web Vitals metrics and implementing the nine steps we have discussed, you can significantly improve your website’s performance and achieve better Core Web Vitals scores.
To recap, the nine steps to improve your WordPress site’s Core Web Vitals are:
- Optimize images and videos
- Minimize CSS and JS files
- Use a caching plugin
- Reduce server response time
- Choose a reliable hosting provider
- Use a content delivery network (CDN)
- Implement lazy-loading
- Optimize your fonts and font delivery
- Optimize your database
Now that you know how to improve your WordPress site’s Core Web Vitals, it’s time to take action and make your website faster. Use the steps we have discussed and the tools we have recommended to improve your site’s performance and provide a better user experience for your visitors.
If you need further assistance with improving your WordPress site’s performance, feel free to reach out via the contact form below. At Kalyxo, we are passionate about website performance and would be happy to assist you.